In Exodus 8:16-19 we find Moses and Aaron bringing God’s third plague upon Egypt. First they’d brought blood, then frogs, and now lice. Lice covered both men and animals in all the land of Egypt. These plagues affected both the Egyptians and the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt at the time.
Consider the trouble and disgust of that reality for a moment. Tiny bugs crawling all over you, your friends, everyone you know, and every animal.
Unlike the first two plagues, this time the magicians could not reproduce it. This time even they acquiesced to the fact that this must be the working of God Almighty. Still, as with the first two plagues, the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart remained.
Imagine what the Egyptians were thinking. They had to have been starting to wonder about why all the bad luck was coming their way. The people of Israel had to have been upset, too, wondering why they had to endure these pestilences when they weren’t the ones disobeying God. Nevertheless, God worked it out for their good (freedom from slavery), his glory (proving his power over all of nature and humanity), and Egypt’s judgement (the loss of their firstborn and eventual loss of life in the waters). Amazing how he does all three with the same events.
God is sovereign over all things that happen in this life. Whether good or bad, he alone has control over all of them. God creates unfavorable circumstances for many different reasons. If you do not know or obey him, he uses them to call you to repentance. That is mercy. If you do know and obey him, he uses them to prove your faith genuine and show his glory through you in the world. That is mercy, too. God’s mercy does not always feel like mercy when we are in the situation he is providing in our lives. This is how we learn to trust him more, though.
When going through unfavorable circumstances, look to God. Examine yourself for sin and repent if need be. If no sin is evident, rest knowing that whatever God is providing – no matter how good or bad it may be – is for your ultimate good. This is what the plagues of Exodus show us about the ways of God.