Since lockdown, started I have been gaining weight. When we were allowed to walk or run between 6am and 8am, I started walking and managed to get up to 7.5km and then for some reason I stopped. I had two failed attempts to restart the program. I thought Monday to be the perfect opportunity to resume walking, and being in the bush could not be better … so off I went.
Walking in the bush helps one to see things you won’t see when driving. In the early morning, the air is fresh and, being in the bush, the pollution is very low. When walking, my thoughts focus on God and His creation. It’s a pure delight to exercise, pray and see nature at its very best. But there was a problem … a fly attack!
Flies are found anywhere and everywhere, but especially where there are animal droppings. Being a game farm means that animals will move around to almost every area of the reserve. Bush, fields and roads are “their” space. They have no rules as to where droppings must be deposited. They literally “let go” whenever they have the urge. That’s good and well … but droppings attract flies!
Years back, I purchased a special peak cap in Dubai. It has a net hanging downwards. Once the cap is on the head, the net falls onto the shoulders. They use this in the desert because flies can be plentiful, especially where there are camels. I forgot to take this cap with me, so I had to put up with flies buzzing around my head, ears and face. I walk with a two meter long curved stick (a snake stick to lift snakes out of the pathway and place them into the bush) in the one hand and a bottle of water in the other hand. It wasn’t easy to wave or brush flies away as I could easily knock myself with either the stick or bottle. I had to endure.
One Tuesday, I took my bakkie for a wash. They have a high pressure water hose which gets most of the farm road dust off. I decided to leave the vehicle there and go for a walk whilst the cleaning took place. It was a strenuous walk from the middle of the valley in Pretoria up towards the northern mountain. Then I worked my way eastward before heading downwards to where the car wash place is. Up near the top, two houses had sewage water flowing out of manholes outside their property. The stench was awful … but the fly attack was worse! It did not matter how much I waved my hands like an OutSurance Points man of duty at an intersection … the flies found a way to harass me.
Flies can be seen as both a plague and as a curse. You’ll remember how stubborn Pharaoh was and how God through Moses brought about a number of plagues to get Pharaoh to change his mind and release Israel from bondage. Flies were one of the curses:
Ex 8:20 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are.
22 “ ‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.’ ”
24 And the LORD did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials, and throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.
25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
26 But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the LORD our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, as he commands us.”
28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”
29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the LORD, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only be sure that Pharaoh does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.”
30 Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD, 31 and the LORD did what Moses asked: The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
Could you imagine how horrific it would be to have your whole house, town or province filled with flies? In verse 21, the plague of flies would saturate the land … but one region, Goshen, where the people of God lived, would be fly-free! This is a supernatural act of the Sovereign LORD.
Then flies are also a curse. In Genesis 3 when man sinned, it influenced everything. Before, there were no weeds and thorns and bugs and flies. In God’s paradise there was nothing that brought unhappiness or displeasure or discomfort. Yet once banished from the Garden … we read:
Ge 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Although flies and other bugs are not mentioned, they are implied as the beauty and serenity of Eden was lost to the hardship and pain outside of God’s paradise and presence. Sin is a terrible thing. It is not just rebellion against God … it is a hard heart that refuses to concede that God is the true King. I speak of flies, but the curse is all around us … yet the New Eden, the Paradise of God, will be gloriously different.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
That is God’s promise to all His blood-washed people! Praise the Lord!
Dear God, how precious is the sound of the benefits of Calvary, the reversal of the curse. How I long to be in Your New Eden. Help me to deal with the curse in the light of the Cross as I love and follow Jesus as Lord. Amen.