Thoughts on the Plagues of Egypt

This morning I spent some time rereading the account of the plagues God sent on Egypt (Exodus 7-12). There are several interesting details that I don’t remember being taught in Sunday School as a child. First, when Moses performs the first two plagues (blood in the Nile and frogs throughout the land) Pharaoh’s magicians perform the same. While this is supposed to minimize the work of God, making it seem like something that mere men can do, the really ironic thing is that it actually worsens the plague. The magicians actually make God’s plague worse by bringing more frogs up on the land. Even in their supposed ability the magicians are instruments in the hand of Almighty God to enhance the plague He sent through Moses and Aaron.

The second thing that struck me was the fact that all through the account God says that the plagues will not come on Israel so that the Egyptians know that He made a difference between Egypt and Israel. But, when the final plague comes (i.e. death of the firstborn) Israel needs to have the blood of the passover lamb on their doors otherwise they too will come under the judgment of God. This is meant to show that Israel deserved the same judgment as Egypt for their sins. They needed redemption through the blood. While it would not be right to say that God could not have delivered them from Egypt without the passover, it is right to say that on account of the nature of that redemption (it was typical of our redemption in Christ) they could not be delivered without blood.

The final thing I took note of was the way in which God is called the “destroyer.” For some reason–probably because I was improperly taught in Sunday School–I always thought that an angel of death came over the land of Egypt and killed all the firstborn in the land. But the text says, “For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you (Ex. 12:23).” In this great passage of redemption, the Redeemer is also the Destroyer. This is good for us to keep in mind when we think about our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The King of Israel is also the King who will dash in pieces the nations who will not “kiss the Son.” The One who provides new wine for the joy of His people is the One who will trample the wicked like grapes in the wine press of His wrath. The One who took the sword of Divine justice on Himself at the cross for the salvation of His own is the One who has a sword of justice coming out of His mouth. The One who was consumed in the flame of the wrath of God is the same One who sends fire down out of heaven to consume His enemies.

I suppose the lesson to be learned is that there is always so much more to learn as we study the Scriptures. There is a depth to the word of God that should humble us and leave us crying out for more. We must admit with the apostle Paul, “if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” We must keep reading, praying and meditating on the word of God so that we, “by reason of use, may have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Leave a Reply