The Plague of Boils
Well if you don’t succeed at first try, try again. Next comes the third plague of the second triad. This means there would be no advance warning. This time the attack was on the Egyptians themselves. The plague was boils. The passage does not say the Hebrews were exempted from this judgment. Any statement here would only be an assumption, and so I don’t think that I’ll try to second-guess the text.
The gods possibly attacked here were “Sekhmet, goddess with power over disease; Sunu, the pestilence god; Isis, goddess of healing.” 4 Bush makes an interesting point here.
“The original for ‘furnace’ signifies also a ‘lime-kiln or brick-kiln;’ and as these were among the instruments of oppression to the Israelites, it was fitting that they should be converted to a means of chastisement to the Egyptians, for God oftentimes makes men to recognize their sin in their punishment.” 5
The furnace is the symbol of the oppression of the Hebrews, and as in earlier plagues, it is turned against the oppressors. The ash is cast into the wind, and the plague falls on all the land, both men and animals. The other case of poetic justice here is that the magicians, those who worked against the Lord cannot even appear before Moses, Aaron and the King, because they had also broken out in this disease.
In spite of this, the Pharaoh still would not repent. The Lord would not allow him to, but it is clear that his heart was set against any warning or threat. It was set against losing a nation of slaves.
We must never forget the only one we must please is the Lord. We have to be prepared to expect rejection, just as Moses’ words were rejected. We must accept the attacks of those around us, just as the Hebrews were subject to the persecution of the Egyptians.
“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13 ESV).
We must never keep from speaking out for the Lord, because of the consequences. Paul states:
“ ... We speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others ...” (1 Thessalonians 2:4b, 6a ESV).
Paul, in speaking of his own ministry, gives a guideline that should be the standard for all our lives. What should be the source of our approval, what should be our hearts desire? And finally, just as was the case with Moses, we do not need to be afraid, because God will always be with us, leading us, and watching over us.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” ~ Psalms 23 NIV11