Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Moses confronting Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, with 9 plagues.
I read a passage from the Bible yesterday that introduced the plagues, but then I summarized the various plagues. We didn’t really interpret it a lot, or unpack the trends, we just noted what plagues happened.
So what are the trends? There is repeated mention of Pharaoh’s heart being heavy and dull, and also repeated mention of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. This is a way to communicate that God is behind everything that’s happening, and he’s got bigger plans than Pharaoh just acknowledging he can do cool tricks.
Through all the plagues, Israel is either unmentioned, or unscathed by each one, but Egypt suffers.
Through the first six plagues, things are pretty consistent, whether it’s blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, or boils. There is a routine: Moses asks Pharaoh to let the people go, and gets refused. Moses and Aaron make good on their threats. Sometimes Pharaoh’s officials try to copy or reverse the plague, to try to show that Moses and Aaron are just magicians, and don’t really represent an all powerful God. Pharaoh always relents, asks for a bailout, but then goes back to his old ways. That hard heart, that God keeps hardening, causes much destruction.
The plagues are not just getting worse – there is some important repetition. No one can miss this, there is no coincidence, this is a real God doing real things. But there are some key transitions in the repetitive pattern.
By plague 3, the learned men of Egypt can’t match or reverse the impact. They are recognizing something supernatural is happening here, this is the finger of a god.
In Plague 7, the hail is a turning point – Egypt actually gets instructions on how to protect themselves, but those who don’t face death. From Pharaoh we get an admission of guilt and wrong, but no change of action.
Plague 9 takes on the powerful Sun God, Amon Ra. He is nothing compared to Yahweh. Pharaoh and Moses argue about Israel’s intentions. Pharaoh knows his slaves will probably escape forever. He needs them all – animals for sacrifice – children and women to escape. His anger ends negotiations, rather than the usual pattern where he gives in, then gets angry again after.
Question: What do you think God is trying to do here? What does he want different people groups to learn about him?