14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn, and he still refuses to let the people go. 15 So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the bank of the Nile and meet him there. Be sure to take along the staff that turned into a snake. 16 Then announce to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, “Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.” Until now, you have refused to listen to him. 17 So this is what the Lord says: “I will show you that I am the Lord.” Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood. 18 The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.’
I think we can be sure that these were the ways that those ancient writers experienced God being with them. The Bible is a story of a confronting event between God and people he called his own, and as such, there is a constant struggle between what they believed they were being told to do and what they were experiencing in their lives. They are an ancient people with an ancient understanding of the world. They were less theological in trying to understand God and were more experiential in their understanding. They believe that God was moving, was talking with them, and was showing them the ways to go. The prophets claimed God was speaking directly through them each and every time they spoke for God in the scriptures.
These ancient people were trying to make sense of their world, just like we are often trying to make sense of the world from what we know and what we don’t know. The idea of the supernatural is really the idea that fills the gap between what we experience, what we hope to be true, and what we know is reality.
When we take a look at the plagues, they seem pretty unreal. It seems difficult to understand why God would work that way in the world at that time. However, it does fit into their worldview much more than it fits into ours. Where would the plagues take us today? Why would they be needed? And how would they present themselves?
The plagues visited pretty significant destruction and chaos into the Egyptian world at the time. They did not necessarily show a God who was interested in loving people. But, interestingly, in contrast to the Egyptian Gods, Yahweh seems absolutely loving toward his people. And to be sure, their understanding of God at this time was very tribal and nationalistic.
When Jesus came, he did away with the “our” God language and God became perhaps what God always was; universal and for all of humanity.
- Do you see God as “your” God as opposed to others?
- How do you understand the plagues of Egypt?
- What do you think they teach you about God?
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God turned the Nile red through Moses and Jesus turned the water red with God. Love seeing the parallel from OT to NT. If people were “tuned in” during the miracle at Cana would they have recognized this reference? Did Jesus recognize this reference? He said “it isn’t my time yet” to his mom. Which I sensed an arrogance from that part of the scripture. Always wanting to know more of the story. Looking forward to time with Him.