“And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land. I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be.” (Exodus 8:22-23)
There is some debate about just what the fourth plague actually was. Some contend the Hebrew word arov should be rendered flies; others say it is to be understood as various beasts that roamed throughout the land. Whatever it was, it didn’t affect the children of Israel. In fact, the previous three plagues may have affected them but beginning with this plague, God set a distinction between His people and the people of Egypt.
The Hebrew phrase translated as “set apart” comes from a word that means “to distinguish” or “make prominent.” He made the region of Goshen prominent, thus causing it to stand out from the rest of Egypt. In other words, He called special attention His people and the fact that they were spared from the plague that was terrorizing Egypt. This shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that God was rubbing their noses in it so much as He was provoking them to acknowledge that He alone was God and that they should turn to Him.
Messiah said that the people of God are the light of the world and are likened to “a city that is set on a hill” that cannot — and should not — be hidden (Matthew 5:14). God doesn’t want His people to be sequestered away in some remote place where they are never seen or heard from. To the contrary, He wants His people to stand out among the nations as surely as light shines in the darkness. He wants the nations of the world to know that He is God and is well-able to shield those who call upon Him from the dire circumstances of this world. May we always put our light upon the lamp stand that all may benefit from its light and be drawn to the Creator of all things.
Blessings and Shalom,