I was listening to the guys at a fishing resort in Canada. “Worst year for flies we’ve ever seen!” “Man, you need a shotgun to protect yourself, they’re so huge.” “No bug spray works this year.”

The bite of the black fly creates wounds that swell, get red, and itch like crazy. Get several and life is miserable—even when the fish are biting.

That is nothing compared with what happened when the fourth plague hit Egypt (Ex. 8:20-24). As Moses predicted, the air was thick with swarms of flies. They invaded Pharaoh’s palace, filled the houses of the officials, and were found everywhere in Egypt—except in the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived.

By this time Pharaoh should have been listening intently to every word Moses said. But after the flies were gone he hardened his heart (v.32), and so he set himself and his people up for even more serious judgments from the Lord.

Sometimes the Lord uses drastic measures to get our attention. The “swarms of flies” take different forms—trouble, recurring failure, guilt, the hurt looks of the people we love. Those are the times we especially need to listen to God.

So let’s listen carefully to the Lord, while it is still quiet, before the buzzing of the flies begins.