Ralph's Daily Devotional - Wednesday, June 20

Exodus 8:1-10:29 lists the first 9 plagues.  Much has been said concerning these plagues, and a number of scientists have implied that they form a highly intense but solely natural sequence of events with a corresponding consequence.  For example, the polluted water caused frogs to die which in turn caused flies to come and so forth. 

As for the literalness of these events, this is also highly debated by many.  Some believe that the water literally turning into blood would have destroyed all life in Egypt, and point to the symbolic nature of other Bible passages such "the moon will be turned to blood" (Joel 2:31Acts 2:20) as evidence that the Exodus account should not be taken literally.  None of the above points are totally without merit, but nor do they offer a satisfactory explanation to the larger questions surrounding the events.

So what do we say?  Certainly, something extremely unusual and frightening happened to cause the Pharaoh to relinquish his hold on the Hebrews.  Simple natural events and symbols would not have made him fearful to such a point.  Neither could it all have been the product of natural coincidence.  Rather, it was the product of divine deliberation.  This is clear from several factors:

  1. The timing of these events coinciding exactly with Moses' pronouncing them and withdrawing them
  2. Their unusually concentrated force and devastating results
  3. The complete shielding of the Israelites from these plagues

Lastly, the final Passover plague in which only Egypt's firstborns die is completely without historical precedent and defies any natural explanation.  Its cause can only be attributed to the realm of the supernatural.  Living as we do in a very secular and skeptical age of "scientism" (the belief that all things have a natural scientific explanation), many believe today that these events were non-historical or simply natural in nature.  They were not.  We would do well to follow the words of Pharaoh's own magicians who cried out to him, "Let the Hebrews go!  This is the finger of God!"

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