Another night with the frogs

22 02 2011

Here is the primordial swamp which passes as our local pond.  It was plagued with frogs yesterday, and I couldn’t help but think of Moses’ encounter with Pharaoh as I watched them.  (They are very well camouflaged, but believe me there are hundreds in the muddy shallows.)

Quick scene setting.

The Israelites have been living as slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years and now they want freedom.  Enter a reluctant Moses, who agrees to represent the people to Pharaoh.  Pharaoh is not a happy bunny – if he sets the people free he will have no workforce; if he doesn’t there will be frogs, frogs and more frogs.  He opts for the frogs.

Frogs in the bed, frogs in the oven, frogs in the garden.  It’s all too much for Pharaoh and he asks Moses to say a “get rid of the frogs” prayer.  Moses agrees to do this and out of courtesy asks Pharaoh to say when.

What would you say?  I would say, “NOW”.

What does Pharaoh say?  He says, “Do it tomorrow.”  It’s another night with the frogs.

One of my favourite writers is John Ortberg.  He writes about spiritual formation in his book God is closer than you think.  Here’s what he says about “another night with the frogs” –


“This kind of thinking has puzzled the human race for a long time…The Greeks called this akrasia on the grounds that the gods clouded human thinking and led humans to do crazy things…

“People persistently tolerate and maintain behavioural patterns that will destroy their own lives…[It is] not because we consciously say no to God.  We just say, ‘Tomorrow.’  Spiritual akrasia.  Another night with the frogs.”

Will it be one more night?

JO gives some examples of what he means –

  • a husband holds a grudge against his wife, withholds his love, and nurses his resentment even though he knows it’s destroying his own heart and making him miserable
  • a sex addict keeps going back to the Internet even though he knows it’s destroying his marriage and self-respect and is eating him up with guilt
  • a woman drowning in debt, being hounded by creditors, and losing her house, goes on a financial management course and is so impressed by it that she ordersa  hundred pounds of material – and puts it on her credit card

Will you be having frogs with that?

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