As I was reading through the first part of the book of Exodus yesterday, the story of Moses and Pharaoh really showed me the power of our God. You see, I have always known the power of God, but this story in Exodus should show us all exactly what our God is capable of. In fact, if you look at the story of the plagues of Egypt and the people of Israel crossing the Red Sea, and really look at the significance of those events, then we can see that our God is the one true God. There are no other gods.
It’s always been interesting to me that the story tells us that God hardens the heart of Pharaoh. Some use that to try and claim that God is not just, that He is manipulative. But that’s not the case. God knew the heart of Pharaoh before hand and knew that Pharaoh would not let the people go easily. What God does through Moses and Aaron in front of Pharaoh is actually trying to give Pharaoh every chance to realize that He is the true God. How do I know that?
It’s simple actually. When you look at each plague in the context of Egyptian history and religion, each plague is a direct attack on an Egyptian god. Each plague is basically demonstrating to Pharaoh and his officials that the God of the Hebrews is actually more powerful and in control of everything that their gods are supposed to be controlling. And each plague kind of builds on the previous. In other words, each plague takes on a more “powerful” Egyptian ‘god’ as they continue. The plagues culminate in the death of the firstborn of all families and livestock in Egypt.
But God’s demonstration of power does not stop there. As the Hebrew nation leaves Egypt, there are actually more direct routes that they could have taken, but God leads them to the Red Sea. Also, He has them stop there for a period of time, instead of allowing them to cross quickly. “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. (Exodus 14:2 NIV). This is perhaps the most significant act that God uses to demonstrate His power over the Egyptians and their gods. You see, Pi Hahiroth was where the temple to the Egyptian god of the sea was located. It was within site of where the Hebrews were led across the Red Sea on dry ground, and where the entire Egyptian army was lost in the sea. God was not only showing the Egyptians His power, but He was also letting those know in the land of Canaan, the Promised Land if you will, that His power was great, because they would have heard about the Egyptian army.
God used the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea as a show of His supreme power, and it’s when we are able to see that in its true context that we can truly appreciate the story of the 10 plagues of Egypt.