A Night with the Frogs
April 15, 2012
Frogs are slimy. They’re are sneaky. And they may be closer to us than we think.
In this message, Ed Young gets up close and personal to some of these wild amphibians. He shows us how they relate to something we all deal with. And he shows us how to avoid spending a night with the frogs by following God’s plan for our lives.
I’m in a series called “Wild.” I’m already scared thinking about it. This week we’re going to capture the creature that we’re going to do the message about. You won’t believe what it is. We will handle it with care. We’re not gonna hurt the animal; we’re going to take care of it. But we’re going to stalk him, track him. Come with us now… Whoa! What’s that?
I’ve caught bullfrogs for years and these things can jump. They’re really athletic. We handle the frogs with care, we are very careful with the ratio of slime to human touch.
You have to be totally at one with the frog. Whoa! Get him! Get him! Is that a big one? It’s a big one. Whoa! Look at those snakes trying to eat that bass! It’s a showdown. Those things have bitten it. You see teeth marks on it? Those snakes had this bass cornered. He gotta live.
Bullfrogs! Oh this is hot! We’re hot now, guys! Wait. Got it! Whooo-hhoooo!! Smell. They smell nasty. <kissing noise> Because I love all animals. Look at ‘em. Look at ‘em. There’s a billion! Look at these little things. They’re everywhere! They must’ve read the Sexperiment. They’re mating!
We had a wonderful time frog hunting. I’m telling you one thing, we got a bunch of them in this bucket. I mean, it’s a lot of frogs. Let me change and we’re all gonna get cleaned up and get this frog juice, frog slime off of us, and I think we’re all gonna have a good time together as we talk about another night with the frogs!
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Hey, thank you guys so much for being here. I want to welcome our online campus, I want to welcome everyone in Miami, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, right here in gorgeous Grapevine. I can’t believe you guys showed up today. I almost didn’t come to church, I almost did not show up here but Lisa reminded me, “Ed, you’re the pastor. You’ve got to show up.” So I’m here.
We also have some amphibians who are our friends, these beautiful frogs. Let’s give it up for the Frog-fest! These are live frogs!
Now if you’re from Texas or the dirty South you might say “Frawgs.” But the correct pronunciation is what? Frogs. And today I’m talking about another night with the frogs. Can you imagine sleeping with millions of frogs? Can you imagine opening up your refrigerator and having hundreds of frogs just jumping around? Can you imagine getting in your automobile and having frogs? Can you imagine trying to negotiate the freeways not just with cars but with frogs everywhere? That’s what we’re gonna talk about. Frogs.
Frogs. And I have some frogs right here in this bucket. I thought I would just throw some… no I’m kidding! I’m kidding. I want to do this, though. I have a slingshot here, and I thought that we would just… what do you think? It’s OK, it’ll be all right. Awww. Let me see if I can do another one. I can do better than that. I can’t wait for all the emails and texts. I can’t wait to see what the media will do now. Oh, oh, OH! I tell you what. I will just… there ya go. It’s yours to keep. Anyway, it’s very important to slingshot frogs. Fake ones, that is. Fake frogs. We would never, ever, ever hurt a beautiful real frog.
We do have some monsters here. Check out this one. This frog is amazing! That is a serious frog. Think about it. How would you like to spend the night with bunches and bunches of frogs? How would you like to have a Frog-fest? You might be like, Ed, I wouldn’t do that. No one in their right mind would do that. I could never even entertain that thought but wait, just wait. Because if you’re totally honest in your heart of hearts, if I’m totally honest, we’ve all spent the night with some frogs.
What are you talking about Ed? If you have your Bibles you might want to turn to the book of Exodus. Exodus chapter 8, because Exodus chapter 8 is a chapter about these frogs, or frawgs. Have you spent the night with frawgs? Do you have frawgs in your life? Are frogs everywhere?
Let me set the context very quickly. You’ve got a colloquy with Moses and Pharaoh, this discussion, if you will, this conversation. God’s people, the Israelites, the Jews, they were in Egyptian captivity. Pharaoh was the man. And we know the symbol of Egypt was a venomous serpent. Well, Moses was tapped on the shoulder. I mean, he was the man. The reluctant leader. He had a st-st-stu-stuttering problem. So don’t ever say, “I can’t speak,” or “I can’t do this or that. I’m weak in that area.” Look at how Moses was used by God. God tapped Moses on the shoulder, had him walk into Pharaoh’s Oval Office and basically Moses said, “Hey, Pharaoh, let my people go.” Pharaoh basically said, “No. I’m not gonna do it.”
During the Egyptian days Pharaoh was a God, sovereign. Autonomous. Yes, they worshiped the frogs. The Egyptians thought that the frogs actually breathed life into the nostrils of human beings so they didn’t mess around with frogs. Pharaoh, though, was the man. He was God. And it sounds like that’s an ancient problem. It sounds like it’s back in the day.
You know, no one today thinks they’re God. Think about it, though. I suggest to you that many of us struggle with being the God of our lives, don’t we? Many of us go Pharaoh. God tells us to do one thing and we say, you know what? I’m gonna do what I want to do. I am autonomous, I will individuate. I will pave my own purpose through this one and only life. I will negotiate the maze of life by myself. Now, God, when I need you I will call for you but right now I don’t and I’m gonna be the man. So we go Pharaoh. Moses said, “Pharaoh, let my people go.” He said no.
So God sent 10 plagues, 10 plagues. The first plague was the plague of blood. All the water turned red with blood. All the drinking water, everything was blood. You try to order a Perrier, it was bloody. Everything was about blood. Pharaoh is just coming off the heels of having horrendous drinking water for a week. He still hardened his heart. He still said, “I’m the man, I’m not gonna let go. I’m not gonna let this cheap slave labor go!”
So now we enter the book of Exodus 8:1. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says. Let my people go so that they may worship me.’” There’s always a war over worship. God is a jealous God, as we’ve been learning around here. God knows that we’re worshippers and he tells us, don’t waste your worship. Because if you waste your worship you’re gonna waste your life. We’re not gonna live very long against the backdrop of eternity. We live forever but on this side of the grave we don’t live that long, even if you are a vegan! Even if you do work out. Even if you do P90X from this day forward. We’re not gonna live that long as it relates to forever. Because we’re one drunk driver, one blood clot, one germ, one cancerous cell away from the other side. And death is no respecter of persons.
Verse 2, “If you refuse to let them go,” Moses said, “I’m gonna plague the whole country with frogs.” Again, 10 plagues, this is the second plague. “The Nile will teem with frogs.” You talking about living in denial, Pharaoh was bathing in denial! He had frogs all over him. “The Nile will teem with frogs. They’ll come up into your palace, your bedroom…” and it goes on and on and describes that frogs will be everywhere. It will be a major Frogapalooza. Frogs will be here and there and yonder.
Just for a second I want us to relate, just for a second I want us to connect frogs with sin. Because frogs are all about what? Rebellion. What is sin? Sin is a plague. Sin means I missed the mark. God is righteous, he’s perfect, yet I sin. No one taught me how to sin. I’ve never had lessons in mirroring my depravity, I just know how to do it and so do you. We understand sin, we understand frogs. Frogs represent sin. Sin represent frogs.
Number 1 – Here’s a frog fact we need to download. Frogs and sin multiply quickly. Frogs and sin multiply quickly. We saw some frogs mating the other night as we were frog hunting. What happens with the frog? In the Nile River the frogs lay eggs, then you got tadpoles, tadpoles-pollywogs, pollywogs-frogs. Ribbit. I said frogs! Ribbit. I said a bunch of frogs! Ribbit. Say ribbit with me. Ribbit. When we sin we’re into Ribbit-ellion. When we miss the mark and go our own way and go Pharaoh we ribbit-ellion. We’re into ribbit-ellion. We ribbit-el. That’s what we do. God has this way, God doesn’t want you to do this in your marriage, this in your friendships, this with your finances, this with your career. And we go, you know what? I’m gonna do what I want to do with my marriage, with my finances, with my career, with my life! I’m gonna go Pharaoh. So, frogs and sin multiply quickly.
Isn’t that true? You sin, you mess around, whatever you do. One sin leads to another to another to another to another and all of a sudden we realize we have a plague on our hands. And we trace it back to that sin. Sin, we lay an egg. Sin, it turns into a tadpole. Sin, a pollywog. Sin, a frog! And here’s what’s so crazy about this whole situation. Pharaoh knew his rebellion and his sin and his hardheartedness brought in the frogs, yet Pharaoh tries to up the ante and bring in his magicians to replicate the miracle of the masses of frogs. God has brought the plague because of rebellion. The plague is universal, sin is universal. Sin is missing the mark. Every single person knows that we mess up. Everybody does! Even the most hardcore atheist down deep in his or her heart of hearts, they know they have a sin problem. So sin and frogs multiply very, very quickly.
Another frog fact. If you’ll look at verse 4. Sin and frogs are both ugly. I’m talking about U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, UGLY! How many times have you ever said, “Oh, what a beautiful frog! Look at this gorgeous toad! They’re just beautiful!” Here’s some that have escaped. I got him. I mean, yeah, you could argue that… WHOA! That’s a real one there. Watch him. You could argue that the frog’s skin, you know, is pretty if you could paint one little 1” section but come on, frogs are not beautiful. They’re just not that pretty. I’m sorry, my bro, but you don’t look that great.
Sin is not pretty. I don’t think we realize how U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, UGLY sin is. Sin and frogs are a lot alike. Frogs and sin are a lot alike. They represent rebellion. Pharaoh said, “I will go my own way.” What happened? It was Frogapalooza. Ribbit-ellion. Ribbit-ellion. I’m gonna do my own thing with my body. I will sleep where I wanna sleep. Ribbit-ellion. I’ve got some authority issues and I’m gonna do what I want to do at the restaurant, around the church, in my company, the school, on the team. Ribbit-ellion. We have this sin problem. We’re natural-born sinners. We have this sin-etic condition. It’s ugly. We don’t realize how ugly sin is. It really is. Frogs are ugly, too.
If we realized how ugly sin was… thank you. Frog slime. (Can you get that other one if you would, please? This is kinda dry and this stuff really smells.) If we realized how ugly and what a stench our sin gives off to the nostrils of God, I don’t think we would do it as much. Sin, though, is attractive. Sin is fun. Sin is sexy. It is seductive. If it weren’t we wouldn’t do it so much. Yet we sin. Sin is the S-word now. We don’t want to say it any more. S….. Si—-oohhh. Si—ahhh! Oh I’ve got issues. I’ve got problems. I’m living in denial, or whatever we call it. It’s just my family of origin. My family of origin is very, very funky and I just do…. No, no. It is sin. S-I-N. Just call it what it is! Don’t nya-nya.. just say it! Let’s say it together. 1-2-3, sin. 1-2-3, sin. Yeah, we sin. The word sin is an archery term. It’s missing the mark. It’s like shooting an arrow and the arrow misses the target. God is perfect, he’s holy. We mess up, we sin. We fall miserably short. That’s what these frogs represent. We have to deal with the frogs.
Pharaoh was all messed up with all these frogs. He brings the magicians in and the magicians duplicate the same miracle that God just pulled off. The frogs came in from the Nile. Problem. The magicians could not get the frogs out of Egypt. I’ll say it again. The magicians (because the evil one always has a duplicate miracle, right?), the magicians could bring the frogs out of the Nile, multiply them, like God, but the magicians couldn’t alleviate the Frog-fest.
What do we do when we look face-to-face with sin? What do we do when we’re surrounded by frogs? We call in our magicians, like Pharaoh. We get real, real, real busy. We just get busy. And we can’t sit still. We run over here, we run over there, because we can’t sit still. Because if we sat still we would hear… “ribbit-ellion. Ribbit-ellion. Ribbit-ellion.” So we’ve gotta be going here and there and yonder, from fun-fix to fun-fix, from activity to activity and we’re recreating ourselves to death. And one of the reasons is we can’t sit still because when we do we’re acutely aware of our ribbit-ellion. We’re surrounded by frogs. We’re surrounded by frogs!
Oh there’s another one! Look at him! Ah, I’ll get ‘em. Ah, you can’t get away from me. He is, um, he has used the restroom. That’s OK. That’s part of it. Everyone does. Can you imagine the stench in Egypt? That much frog pee? Do you realize they defecate and just stand right in it? You want me to tell you how ugly frogs are? I’ve been doing some research on these things. They molt once a year, they shed their skin, and after they shed their skin they eat it. And one of them in here told me, “Hey, Ed, it tastes like chicken.” I couldn’t believe it.
This is true. I read they brought some frogs up in the space shuttle to test, to see how amphibians would do in a weightlessness environment. One frog got motion sick, threw up not the contents of his stomach, but literally threw up his stomach! Then took his back legs and cleaned his stomach out and swallowed it again.
Frogs are ugly. Sin is ugly. It’s committing cosmic treason before our holy God. If we realized how heinous and how ugly our sin is we wouldn’t sin as much. So frogs and sin, they multiply quickly. The interest compounds daily. They’re ugly.
Also, frogs and sin will make you jumpy. Paranoid. Back in the day, “Paranoia will destroy ya.” Whoa! Make you a little bit freaky.
“What you mean by that, Ed?” We try to hide stuff and cover stuff up, and what we try to cover, God uncovers. What we uncover, God covers. Let’s go back to the scripture. I about fell. Exodus chapter 8. Man, these shoes kind of have a platform on them and I play basketball so much I kinda roll my ankles, sprained my ankles and I’m like sometimes walking and I’m like, whoa! OK? No one else has ever done that?
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron (Aaron is Moses’ brother) and said,
“Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people (verse 8), and I’ll let your people go.” Hmm. Moses said to Pharaoh,
“I’ll leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people so that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs (this is huge), except for those that remain in the Nile. The magicians couldn’t take care of the frogs. Only God can take care of the frogs. Say it with me. Only God can take care of the frogs. That’s you and me, online, all of our campuses. Only God can take care of the frogs. Are you feeling me? Are you smelling the frogs? Are you dealing with the frogs? The magicians can’t do it. Positive thinking can’t do it. A leadership seminar can’t do it. Going to a counselor can’t do it. Only God and the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse the frogs from our lives. That’s it.
So there’s no use to be jumpy. There’s no use to be freaky. Just give it to God and tell God, “Hey, you see the frogs. You know I have sin. And I want to deal with it.” Well, that’s what Pharaoh did. But here’s the weird thing about this plague. Ten plagues. One of the unique things about the second plague, the plague of the frogs, is simply this. God gave Pharaoh the choice regarding when to get rid of the frogs. Moses basically said, “Give me the word. I know you’re ready to tap out, Pharaoh. I know you’ve had enough frogs. Give me the word and when you give me the word, I’ll pray and the frogs will be gone.” The magicians couldn’t do it. God, Pharaoh knew, could do it.
And check this out. This is a classic, classic text. This is where I got the subject matter of today’s talk, “Another Night with the Frogs.” Here’s Pharaoh. He rebelled and because of his rebellion sin multiplied, it’s ugly, it made everybody jumpy. His rebellion hurt innocent bystanders. Because he thought he was God, he was the man, he was autonomous. Because he was doing his own thing his own way, what happened? It affected the entire nation of Egypt.
The same is true when I sin and when you sin. It’s not just Ed Young sinning. It’s how it affects my marriage, friends, career, everything! You’re the same way! It’s the ripple effect of sin. You throw a pebble in a mill pond in August and that pebble causes ripples and ultimately the ripples hit the shore. And they don’t happen immediately but if you wait, you’ll finally see the ripples. You’ll be like, wow! You mean that ripple happened because I threw that rock in the pond, like, several minutes ago? Right. It’s the same thing with sin.
So Moses said, “Pharaoh, you’re the man. You have a choice.” And we have a choice. “Do you want me to get rid of the frogs?” and here is what he said. Exodus 8:10, “Tomorrow.” I mean, are you ready for that? Think about it! Billions of frogs, eggs, tadpoles, pollywogs, bullfrogs, tree frogs, poisonous frogs, non-poisonous frogs, frogs defecating everywhere, peeing everywhere, eating their skin, upchucking their stomach. They’re everywhere! On the freeways, in the cars, in your pantry, at the restaurant. And Pharaoh has the opportunity to get rid of them and what does he say? Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
Tomorrow. That’s the enemy’s favorite line in your life and mine. Hey, you have this issue with commitment? Deal with it tomorrow. Yeah, you’re in this relationship that’s pulling you down, that’s keeping you from where God wants you. Just, you can deal with it tomorrow. Text him or talk to her tomorrow. Yeah, you have this sin in your life. You hurt this person, you betrayed this person. God calls you to make it right and you say, “Tomorrow.” And right now many here are being convicted of your sin. God is pinpointing your frogs and you hear that ribbit-ellion. Ribbit-ellion! Ribbit-ellion! In so many different areas. The only time we’re assured of is now. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today! God is working today. He’s moving in your life today! It’s the power of the now.
“Well, tomorrow, when I get it together, then I will come to God.”
“Tomorrow, then I will really get involved in church. I know church is the only thing that Jesus ever built, and I promise you tomorrow.” The devil loves it! He goes,
“Man, I got another one! They’re into tomorrow! They’re going Pharaoh on me! This is cool!” Tomorrow.
So, Pharaoh just says, “I will spend another night with the frogs. Another night with my addiction. Another night hooked on pornography. Another night in this illicit relationship. Another night. Another night in lying. Another night with the frogs.
Well, what happens? God gets rid of the frogs. The frogs croak. And that’s the fourth frog fact. Both sin and frogs will make you croak. The frogs die. There are piles and piles of dead frogs. Have you ever smelled a live frog up close? Have you ever smelled dead frogs? I have. I didn’t kill them, they died of natural causes, but the frogs died. And there were masses of them. Piles of dead frogs. And the Bible says the entire nation of Egypt smelled to high heaven!
Well then, you won’t believe this, Pharaoh’s like, “Wow.” That right there, that’s the true frog man. That’s incredible. He has the net and everything. Isn’t that great? I love that. While you’re speaking, just people come up and scoop a frog. Yeah, it’s great. It’s beautiful. It’s great, it’s great.
So Pharaoh said the same thing. The frogs are gone, yay! The frogs are out. I know it smells a little bit. He probably did this huge talk, he addressed the nation, looked very, very presidential. Wore the red, white, and blue tie. “The frogs are gone. Yes, the smell is a little bit bad but it’s OK. It’s all right. It’ll be fine.” And then one would think, because God dominated, the God of nature, because Pharaoh saw that God was and is sovereign, one would think he would live in this. He’s receptive. He’s like, “Wow, look what God did! This is amazing!” Well, let’s look at verse 15.
“But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief (whoo-yeah!), he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.” What? Pharaoh, you saw a miracle! Brother, you just had seven days of bloody water. The water supply had been just totally tainted. Now zillions of frogs and you see relief, and you’re back to your old ways? Again, Pharaoh is so 2012. He’s not yesterday.com, no, no, no. He’s 2012.
God moves. We’re honest with him about our frogs. Relief happens. We’re receptive. Things change and we’re like, “Wow, I’ve been going to church, and my life is coming together. I’ve been beginning to tithe and wow, things are happening! God’s using me! I will just miss here and miss there, and all of a sudden we go back to our ways. Back to those old toxic relationships, back to those old habits, back and our heart becomes hardened again. It’s the revolving door of the frog cycle.
So are you handling it, the frogs Pharaoh’s way, or are you handling it God’s way? What’s God’s way? We’re receptive. I mean, God’s pointing out the frog. I mean, look how giant, look how monstrous these frogs are. He’s pointing out the frogs. We have frogs in our lives. They’re as big as Dallas… or Miami. They’re monsters. We’re receptive to it. I’ve got sin, I’ve got frogs. I can feel him croaking. Listen to this one. Let’s see if he will do it again. <croaking noise> Thank you! <kiss> I love animals. I’m telling ya, I do. I love these things. OK.
So, God points them out, we’re receptive, relief comes, but then what do we do? We don’t return to our old ways, we return back to God. God gets rid of the frogs, they hop away, and we return the opposite way. That’s what repentance is. Eww! That’s what repentance is, an about-face. And we can make that decision right now.
One last story, one last story. Jesus was walking through a town one day and here he is, walking, people are pressing on him, talking.
“Jesus, the Messiah! Jesus! Savior! Jesus!” and all the people are going crazy. There was a man who had been blind from birth, named Bartimaeus. And Bartimaeus began to scream and yell,
“Jesus! Have mercy on me! Jesus, save me! Jesus, heal me!” and his friends around him are like,
“Bartimaeus! Shhh! Be quiet! Shut up! It’s Jesus! He doesn’t have time for that!” Jesus heard Bartimaeus. He turned and he healed him. What if Bartimaeus had said,
“Well, tomorrow. Well, I will wait until Jesus comes through my town again. Surely he’ll come by again.” That was the last time Jesus ever came by. Today is your day, it’s not tomorrow. Today, give your life to Christ. Today, be open with the frogs in your life. Today, resolve and say, “I’m not gonna spend another night with the frogs!”
Would you pray with me?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]