God said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes down to the water. Tell him, 'God's Message: Release my people so they can worship me.
If you don't release my people, I'll release swarms of flies on you, your servants, your people, and your homes. The houses of the Egyptians and even the ground under their feet will be thick with flies.
But when it happens, I'll set Goshen where my people live aside as a sanctuary - no flies in Goshen. That will show you that I am God in this land.
I'll make a sharp distinction between your people and mine. This sign will occur tomorrow.'"
And God did just that. Thick swarms of flies in Pharaoh's palace and the houses of his servants. All over Egypt, the country ruined by flies.
Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, "Go ahead. Sacrifice to your God - but do it here in this country."
Moses said, "That would not be wise. What we sacrifice to our God would give great offense to Egyptians. If we openly sacrifice what is so deeply offensive to Egyptians, they'll kill us.
Let us go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to our God, just as he instructed us."
Pharaoh said, "All right. I'll release you to go and sacrifice to your God in the wilderness. Only don't go too far. Now pray for me."
Moses said, "As soon as I leave here, I will pray to God that tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh, his servants, and his people. But don't play games with us and change your mind about releasing us to sacrifice to God."
Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to God.
God did what Moses asked. He got rid of the flies from Pharaoh and his servants and his people. There wasn't a fly left.
But Pharaoh became stubborn once again and wouldn't release the people.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)