Have You Ever Smelled a Dead Fish?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Exodus 7-8, Matthew 15:1-20

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20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. He raised the shepherd’s rod and hit the water in the Nile in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the Nile began to stink so that the Egyptians couldn’t drink water from the Nile. There was blood all over the land of Egypt.22 But the Egyptian religious experts did the same thing with their secret knowledge. As a result, Pharaoh remained stubborn, and he wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went back to his palace. He wasn’t impressed even by this. 24 Meanwhile, all the Egyptians had to dig for drinking water along the banks of the Nile River, because they couldn’t drink the water of the Nile itself. 25 Seven days went by after the Lord had struck the Nile River (Exodus 7:20-25, Common English Bible).

My wife called me a few nights back. When she came home from work there was a smell in the house. No, it wasn’t a dead fish smell. She said it was more like rotten eggs. I thought it might have been natural gas. It wasn’t and it turned out to be something pretty simple and easily fixed.

Things weren’t so easy for Pharaoh. He had a huge problem. When Moses touched his staff on the waters of the Nile, turned to blood and all the fish in the river died. It was a huge, smelly mess. It can be bad enough to smell one dead fish. Think about the stench coming off of thousands of dead fish. And the problem, it lasted for seven days. There were seven days of trying to find drinkable water because the water in the Nile was not palatable. Truth to tell if today’s water tests had existed in Moses’ day the water would not have been usable for much longer than a week.

Smell is one of our most powerful senses. If God didn’t have Pharaoh’s attention before, by the time Pharaoh and the Egyptians had dealt with a week of this mess, God certainly should have had their attention going forward.

There had already been one nasty event in this chapter (more of the evil snakes) and there would be more of the “plagues” to come. Pharaoh wasn’t going to give up this easily. In chapter eight alone Pharaoh and the Egyptians would have to deal with frogs, lice, and insects. And still, God wasn’t done.

Earlier in chapter seven, God had told Moses and Aaron that God would show many signs and amazing acts. God is already living up to that promise. And, it would take much more before Pharaoh would let God’s people go.

These were God’s destructive acts. We can see some of God’s mighty acts too, much more mighty than just the smell of dead fish. We can see God’s positive acts in the world around us. It is just up to us to open our eyes and see and smell what God is doing. If we pay attention, instead of the smell of dead fish, we might smell an early morning rain on a spring day. We might smell a rose growing in a garden or a gardenia growing on the side of a neighbor’s home. We could even smell a patch of wildflowers on the side of a highway. To smell the mighty acts of God it doesn’t take a dead fish. It just takes an alert mind, looking and smelling for the hand of God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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