The Plagues [Part 2]
By Alan Wright — June 26, 2018
Are you ready for some good news?
God always has a way of conquering the idols of the world.
Today’s Text: Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.’” (Exodus 7:17-18)
Scholars have observed how the various plagues aptly address the Egyptian idols. For example, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile River. They gave the river a god’s name and extolled it as the source of life for them. Around June each year, the Egyptians held a festival in worship of the god of the Nile. The river would usually swell over its banks during that season, leaving the soil rich and fertile as the floodwater retreated. Pharaoh probably had gone to the river for the annual ceremony when Moses confronted him and struck the Nile. It was God’s way of saying, “Let’s see you find life in the Nile god now!”
The Egyptians also had a frog goddess. Ancient Egyptian art portrays the goddess with the body of a female and the head of a frog. Egypt had plenty of frogs because the slimy, bouncy amphibians procreate quite quickly. So, when there were lots of frogs, Egypt was reminded of the fertility of the Nile and the frogs. Thus the froglike goddess became their fertility deity. The Lord had an answer for their frog idolatry -- He let loose frogs everywhere. Frogs in the kitchen. Frogs in the bathtub. Frogs in Pharaoh’s bedroom. “You love frogs do you?” the plague conveyed. “I’ll give you what you crave!”
Also, the Egyptians famously had a sun god named Ra. That’s why the word Pharaoh is spelled with the “ra” in the middle. This particular Pharaoh was probably Ramases (note the “Ra” again). To topple the idol of the sun god, the Lord sent a plague of darkness. Where’s your light now Ra?
What’s the message behind all these idol-crushing plagues? The Egyptians worshipped all the wrong gods. Judgment is God letting you reap what you’ve sown. Judgment is getting what you want. Think the Nile is your god? We’ll find out when the river runs red. Want frogs? You got em. Trusting in Ra for sunlight? We’ll find out how bright it is when Ra is in charge.
Thank God for His grace for all people. He sustains the world with His love. But, in the end, He won’t let the idols of this age win. Through the cross, like the plagues, God saves His people and conquers evil. There’s one God, the Lord. And that’s the Gospel!