The bubonic plague was a horrifying disease that swept through fourteenth century Europe killing a large portion of the population. It was dubbed the "Black Death" because its victims were marred with black boils of blood that festered beneath the skin due to internal bleeding. Symptoms of the insidious disease also included swollen lymph nodes called buboes, hence the name "bubonic."
Much like the bubonic plague, the spiritual realm is swollen with negative forces that, if left untreated, can become ugly black boils in a believer's life. Today, the bubonic plague is treatable because of medical advances if its victim recognizes the symptoms and takes advantage of available antibiotics. Likewise, Christians need to recognize the symptoms of spiritual plagues that infect their lives and administer "spiritual antibiotics" to treat the disease.
Exodus 8 provides a pitre dish of three plagues that Christians may identify in our owns lives. They are revealed because of Moses' quest to free the Israelites from their oppressive existence in Egypt. The epic battle between Moses and Pharaoh involved as series of plagues that came, oddly enough, compliments of idols the Egyptians worshiped.
The Plague of Overabundance
One of the deities the Egyptians worshiped was Heka, a frog-headed goddess. As long as frogs kept their place in the mighty Nile and frog-appropriate water holes, they were considered somewhat sacred. However, when this slimy idol of national worship overran their water boundaries and invaded neighborhoods and home, the Egyptians didn't think the amphibians were so delightful after all. When Heka's hippity-hopping buddies invaded every nook and cranny of dry land, her misguided admirers were plagued by the object of their idol worship.
Most everyone would probably agree with the premise of too much of a good thing can be bad. Many harmless and beneficial things will cause painful symptoms if left unchecked. The longer they remain untreated, the more severe they become. However, when a proper balance is kept, troublesome overabundance can be avoided.
"I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10 NASB). Jesus wants His people to live abundant lives, but not to an unhealthy excess. Unfortunately, it is usually human nature (and the not so subtle call of our culture) to want more, more, more! Jeremiah 5:28 says, "They are fat, they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor."
Where overabundance reigns supreme, we get lazy; we get greedy and neglect the needy. Have you ever observed a spoiled child? They are spoiled because they get everything they want. They often lack ambition and they always want more, more, more . . .no matter what that more is: food, toys, attention, and the best, fastest, or prettiest thing of all. Plus, they seldom think of others. They are plagued by overabundance and don't even know it! However, don't think being spoiled is the only way the plague of overabundance manifests itself. Anything that is out of balance is as bad as the slimy frogs that invaded Egyptian homes.
Take an honest look at your life to see if you are displaying any unhealthy symptoms of overabundance. If you constantly crave something, are more into yourself than others, or lack motivation, you may be infected with the plague of overabundance. If this describes you, you need to reestablish balance. Prayer is always a good place to start. God is the one who made the advancing frogs retreat when they lay siege in Egypt. Likewise, God can help the plague of overabundance retreat in your life. But, you must recognize it, want to restore a healthy balance, and do your part to adjust or remove its influence in your life.
Practical Christianity wants to avoid spiritual diseases that will cause pain in our lives. Next week we will explore the second plague found in Exodus 8. In the meantime, take a serious look at your life and make sure you are free from the Plague of Overabundance.