God is the one true God.
Yahweh. I AM WHO I AM.
He sits on the throne. He is matchless.
Who would want to disregard Him?
But people do, and have, like the Egyptians in the book of Exodus. They had made slaves out of God’s people.
God could have wiped the Pharaoh that refused His instructions and his Egyptian pawns off the face of the earth with a fatal pestilence (Exodus 9:15). Instead, He chose to display His power in precise ways to defy their false beliefs.
Showdown Through Power
Moses began getting used to using God’s power during the exchange He had with God at the burning bush in Exodus 3. Then he used the signs God gave to address the enslaved Israelites that God had declared now is the time of deliverance. But the real challenge of authorities ensued when the plagues began.
It makes me chuckle to read that the Egyptian magicians copied the plagues with their enchantments. When Moses turned the Nile to blood, the magicians did the same. They were trying to say, “Oh, look! We have power, too.” But how silly. The place was overrun with frogs, with the second plague. As if there weren’t enough of them, they made more frogs come (Exodus 8:7).
If they were really smart, they would have done something to make the plagues go away. But that’s just it. They couldn’t. The magicians couldn’t even copy the subsequent plagues. They were trusting in false gods that would fail. God’s power is always greater.
Defying the False
Not only did God’s signs to Moses subdue his incorrect, doubtful thoughts that we talked about in the previous post of this series, but it seems that each plague defied specific false gods of Egypt.
I first heard about the possibility through my kids’ Mystery of History curriculum we are currently using for our homeschool. One of the assignments for the older students is to make a chart of the plague with the verse reference, the Egyptian god, the warning given, and Pharaoh’s response. So I did it. (I’m a Bible study nerd like that.) I think I learned more by writing it all out. I wasn’t quite satisfied with the curriculum author’s broad connection between the plagues and the gods, so I did my own research.
Apparently, the gods were depicted in various forms and manifestations at times. Perhaps that is the reason the true natures of the gods were thought to be enigmatic. There were 10 plagues that seem to easily connect with the many Egyptian gods. I lined them up the best I could:
PLAGUE (verse reference)/Egyptian god
- Nile turns to blood (Exodus 7:14-25)/Hapi—god of annual flooding of Nile
- Frogs (Exodus 8:1-15)/Heqet—goddess of fertility, represented in the form of a frog
- Lice (Exodus 8:16-19) from dust of the earth/Geb—god of the earth
- Flies (Exodus 8:20-32) (Hebrew /Shu—god of the air
- Livestock dies (Exodus 9:1-7)/Mnevis—bull god/ Apis—a sacred bull (there are many animal gods)
- Sores on man and beast (Exodus 9:8-12)/Sekhmet—believed to be capable of warding off disease
- Hail (Exodus 9:13-35) with thunder and fire/Horus—a god of the sky/Nut—a goddess of the sky/ or possibly Neper, a god of grain or other agricultural type gods since flax and barley were destroyed.
- Locusts (Exodus 10:1-20)/Geb—a god of the earth/Aker—a god of the earth
- Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29)/Ra—the primary sun god
- Death of firstborn (Exodus 11:1-10; 12:29-38)/Pharaoh’s son was regarded as a future god
The Purpose of the Power
Why did God choose to deliver His people through these “great acts of judgment” (Exodus 6:6, 7:4)? After combing through these chapters, I learned God spoke to everyone’s heart for specific purposes:
- MOSES. So that Moses would know God is the Lord (Exodus 10:1).
- PHARAOH. God was demonstrating His power to Pharaoh, and so that Pharaoh would know that God is Lord (Exodus 7:15-17; Exodus 8:22; Exodus 9:16).
- EGYPT. God was showing His power to all of Egypt so they would know He is God and there is none like Him in all the earth (Exodus 7:5; Exodus 9:14).
- HEBREWS. God was showing His people that He was their God (Exodus 6:6-7).
- ALL THE EARTH. For the fame of God’s name (Exodus 9:16).
But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16 ESV
God wasn’t just defying Egypt’s false gods, but manifesting His power, glory, and authority to all who would learn of this story from that moment in history forward.
I’ve spent a long time studying these chapters, and it’s given me time to reflect. I’m asking the question today:
Am I allowing God to manifest His power in my life, even if it means uprooting what is “false” in it?
Don’t miss the other great posts in the Power of God series:
- Experiencing the Miraculous Power of God
- Like Moses, We Can Get Used to Using God’s Power
- God’s Power Defies What Is False
- How God’s Greatest Power Was in the Suffering of the Cross
- A Testimony of God’s Power of Provision
- Prayer Is a Conduit to God’s Power
- God’s Healing Power Is for You
- Live Empowered: the Holy Spirit Moves through Us
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