For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. (Exodus 12:12 ESV)
When you read through the account of the plagues it is hard to miss the hardness of Pharaoh as it is mentioned as the reason why he will not let them go after every plague. The Lord said beforehand this would be the case, even explaining that it was He, the Lord, who was hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Now we begin to find out why God went to such great lengths with the strange plagues. He brought their release in this way to show the powerlessness of the so-called gods of Egypt. Somehow these plagues are a direct challenge to their gods. Why was this necessary? After 430 years in Egypt and influence of a people that worship these gods, Israel too was worshiping them. This is what they had been exposed to. God was not only setting Israel free from their physical bondage, but also their spiritual bondage to these false gods. It was the patience and compassion of God for His people that directed the odd and many plagues over Egypt.
This serves as a model for our understanding of God’s work in our salvation too. He is patient with us as He wrestles us free from the stranglehold of the false cultural gods that have hold of us, whether they be money or pleasure or popularity or power. God is prying our fingers off of them to set us truly free. Praise God!
Lord, you are patient with us far more then we will ever understand. That shouts of your great love for us! Help me not to spurn that love, but embrace it and let it motivate me to trusting and following you, wherever you might lead. Even into the wilderness. Amen.