When I was growing up I thought
Exodus and Revelation are two of the creepiest books
of the Bible because of the plagues.
I’m not sure if teachers and parents taught this
to guilt me into being a good girl
or if they themselves were scared
and just passed their fears on to me.
They stated these facts: you disobey God, He hardens your heart, and then (as if life without hope in God wasn’t bleak enough) God torments you with reptiles, bugs, blood and eventually death. Who wouldn’t want to come along for such a ride?
From my childish perspective, God was a merciless deity cruelly punishing Pharaoh and the Egyptians for being bad guys. The plagues scared me more than anything else because I was taught that God would send such plagues again in my lifetime just before Jesus comes. This contributed to me being afraid of Jesus coming.
My parents once read a story to me about the oldest Hebrew child who couldn’t sleep because he kept asking his father to check to make sure there was blood on the door post. We had no blood! We didn’t kill lambs or eat the fatted calf–we were vegetarians. It all seemed so arbitrary and the only way to survive was to disassociate from that kind of God. I was the oldest in my family and I wondered what kind of God would kill the oldest child.
Every time my dad read the headlines and somberly announced to the family that we needed to get our hearts right “because Jesus is coming and it’s sooner than we think,” I was left sleeplessly shaking in my bed.
A few years ago, I discovered God was NOT on an arbitrary tormenting and killing rampage that I had formerly imagined. He was actually creating boundaries to protect His people.
God used one tree for the boundary to keep Satan from harassing Adam and Eve at all the other trees in the garden. They crossed the boundary and invited Satan into our world, God had to do some drastic things.
By sending the plagues, God was erecting new boundaries to show ignorant people He is the Creator and only God. He used the plagues to expose the impotence and futility of all the false gods of Egypt because He was trying to set people free from believing in imaginary gods who were non-existent and could never help them.
On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt
and strike down every firstborn son
and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt.
I will execute judgment
against all the gods of Egypt,
for I am the LORD!
Wow! That changes things! I’ve read several sources who explain this but this morning I was reading one a blog by Kelley Lorencin and I felt she did a great breakdown of what each plague did to expose each god, so I will share her words:
“Did you realize that each Egyptian plague was designed to humiliate and expose as frauds the most prominent gods in Egypt?
1. The plague of the Nile turned to blood was a direct affront to Hapi, the lord of the fishes, birds, and marshes. It also targeted Osiris, the god of the underworld. The Egyptians believed that the Nile was his bloodstream. (Perhaps that’s why God literally turned it to blood!)
2. The plague of frogs was designed to expose Heqt, the goddess of birth, who was always depicted with the head and body of a frog. To even accidentally kill a frog was a crime punishable by death in Egypt. Yet, after God sent this plague, the people had to heap the decaying bodies of frogs in great piles.
3. The plague of lice exposed Geb, great god of the earth, as a fraud.
4. The plague of flies humiliated Beelzebub, prince of the air, whose “ears” were flies.
5. The plague of cattle disease targeted Apis, one of Egypt’s most prominent gods (who was represented as a bull), and Hathor, the cow-headed goddess of the desert. (She was also considered the mother of Pharaoh.)
6. The plague of boils humiliated Imhotep, the god of medicine, who was powerless to help the people against such a terrible affliction. It was also an affront to Serapis, the deity responsible for healing.
7. The plague of hail destroyed the belief that Nut was in charge of the sky.
8. The plague of locusts targeted two gods—Isis and Seth—who were in charge of protecting crops.
9. The plague of darkness signaled the death of Ra, the great sun god. He was the most-favored god and considered the most powerful. (He was also considered the father of Pharaoh.)
10. The plague of the firstborn was not only against Pharaoh, but all the gods of Egypt (Ex 12:12). This is because the Egyptian firstborn were dedicated to the priesthood. Surely, if there were any gods in Egypt, they would protect those who were charged with attending to them in their temples. Thus, the death of all the firstborn in Egypt proved that either there were no Egyptian gods at all, or if there were, they were totally impotent.”
God has often been given a bad rap. Contrary to popular belief, He never acts in an arbitrary or random or power hungry way. God does these strange acts to expose the lies of Satan and set people free. Just realizing this has set me free.