Exodus Devotional | When the Unbelievable Actually Happens - The Plagues: Part 1, Day 2
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Exodus The Plagues, Part 1, Day 2
“Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.’” (Exodus 5:1-2)
The most “connected” generation the world has ever seen. The most medically advanced. The most socially “woke.” The most medicated. The most entertained. The most educated.
Now, something we didn’t really believe could happen is happening. Our entire system of finances, governance, and even societal expectations are being rocked. A plague has been unleashed upon us and no one really knows what to expect. There’s a lot of nail-biting, some panic, and a ton of conjecture swirling around us.
So, when we open the pages of our Bibles to Exodus and consider the lives of the Egyptians and the Israelites . . . Pharaoh and Moses . . . it should be impossible to miss the relevance and timeliness of the Bible. Not only can we find ourselves in the Bible, we can find God—which is the secret to finding God today.
Yesterday, we recognized that God is answering Pharaoh’s question: “Who is this God, that I should fear him? Obey him?” The Lord dismantles Egypt's religious systems by showing, with each plague, that their gods are no gods at all. Here’s a brief rundown of the first six plagues and which god the Lord is exposing:
Water turned to blood: Hapi, an Egyptian god of the Nile; responsible for granting a profitable, pleasant life; Pharaoh’s magicians seemed to be able to duplicate the feat with a bowl of water, but they couldn’t heal the Nile
The storm of frogs: Heket, an Egyptian goddess of fertility, water, and renewal; Pharaoh’s magicians could summon a few frogs of their own, but only Moses (as God’s emissary) could make them go away
The storm of gnats: Seb, an Egyptian god of earth; Pharaoh asked Moses to beg God to take away the frogs, but his heart remained hard and disobedient; so, with the frogs gone, there was nothing to eat all the gnats God sent--summoned from the dust Seb was meant to bless for life, they now indicated mankind’s return to dust (death)
The storm of flies: multiple Egyptian gods might have been offended here; Re or Khepri...regardless, they suddenly appear, in terrifying number, and suddenly depart; also a first—this is the first of the plagues that doesn’t touch the Hebrews, living in the land of Goshen
The smiting of the livestock: any and all Egyptian gods ruling over animals and herding would be insulted; we see that each plague--the result of Pharaoh’s hardened heart--seems to lead to yet another plague, naturally flowing from the hand of God; with all the dead frogs and swarms of biting, infecting insects, all of the exposed livestock soon died--this was a severe blow to the Egyptian economy
The boils (skin lesions): not everyone in Egypt worshipped the gods I mentioned above, but Imhotep, the Egyptian god of medicine and health, was nearly universally worshipped; it came upon the Egyptians suddenly and painfully; this is the last time Pharaoh’s magicians are mentioned--they’re so damaged by the boils, they can’t even come to meet with Moses; it appears Pharaoh abandons hope in them from here on out.
These are just six of the ten plagues . . . they get far worse from here on out if that’s possible to believe. What do you think these people were thinking? How were they feeling? What would their news stations have been running with all day? What would their social media look like? What would their professionals have instructed them to do?
In those times, the most foolish and unbelievable thing they could have done was repent of their sin and obey God. Yes, washing their hands would have been wise. Keeping clean and observing good personal hygiene and animal care would have been smart. But, above all, where they stood in the face of God was most vital.
Right now, we all want to know what we can do to save ourselves and our world. There are things we ought to do and should do and we probably already know them. The real question is, what will God do and how can we stand with him, rather than opposed to him?
1. If we can find ourselves here in the story, we have to split our identities--we need to put ourselves in the position of the Egyptians, in sin and in need of God’s forgiveness; as Christians, we need to put ourselves in the place of the Israelites, in the process of seeing our salvation brought about--it’s just frightening to see.
2. How will you pray for the world and the lost around you today?
3. Take courage and hope in the fact that anything and everything that God does is used for the good of his people--we can see how God is moving in Exodus. Use this insight to see God in your life now.