Observations from the Plagues of Egypt

2015-07-10 14.00.58After some restlessness last night, I ended up making up for lost sleep, by sleeping in this morning. I did make it over to Loveland to see my cousin play a game in a softball tournament. Kayla, is playing college softball, but returned this summer to play with her old team the Colorado Springs “Thunder” for this season. (Picture of me with cousin Michelle and her daughter Kayla)

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…I am the Lord; I will rescue you and set you free from your slavery in Egypt. I will raise my mighty arm to bring terrible punishment upon them and I will save you. I will make you my own people, and I will be your God…” Exodus 6:6-7

This morning I read through the chapters of Exodus related to the plagues the Lord brought on Egypt. When we take time to look at what happened over the course of time God visited His judgment on Egypt we can observe some important lessons.

There are ten plagues that come on the land and people of Egypt. The river turns to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the firstborn. Each plague has its own significance in striking at the heart of the gods of Egypt and their sense of security and self-sufficiency.

The first two plagues are duplicated in some form by the magicians of Egypt. This reminds us of the warning against “false prophets, teachers and miracle workers” that Jesus said would be present in the “last days” and that we see throughout the history of the Bible. The impact of that which is intended for deception is that it does dilute trust and confidence in God’s true work. We see that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and his refusal to acknowledge the Lord continued and grew more intense.

When Pharaoh gets tired of the frogs that are teeming throughout the land, I find it interesting that he asks Moses to pray for the  God to take them away. Pharaoh’s own magicians were able by their craft to create frogs, but apparently fell short in their ability to take them away. I believe we can see the same response today. People sometimes “blame” God and other times “ask the Lord” to reverse the consequences of their own actions or their reliance on false sources of strength and security. If this takes place out of a heart of genuine repentance, that is good! If it is just asking God to bail us out, so we can go on with everything the same, that is a different issue.

God soon separates the Hebrews from the Egyptians. When the magicians of Egypt could not bring gnats from the dust, they realized that “this was the finger of God.” From this point on God “makes a distinction” between His people and the people of Egypt. The remaining plagues did not effect God’s people in the land of Goshen. We can be confident that the Lord knows how to “care for his own.”  Peter declared, “…Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 2:9) Perhaps the Psalmist had this provision in mind when he wrote, “…At your side one thousand people may die, or even ten thousand right beside you, but you will not be hurt. You will only watch and see the wicked punished.” (Psalm 91:7,8)

God’s judgments are both His proof and His provision for His people. To a people who had been in slavery for hundreds of years, they needed to see a God who was greater than the Pharaoh-god they encounters day after day.

We see that persistent persecution can almost harden ones heart as much as rejecting the demonstration of God’s power and might. Pharaoh “hardened his heart” yet at the same time God was showing Himself mighty, not against, but for His people that they might serve and trust in Him.

We see God working through all these events to fulfill His promise to the Hebrews to, “make [them His] own people…” What we see in the New Testament is the Lord working patiently, but purposefully, to make us “His own people” through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.