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While reading to my little one from The Jesus Storybook Bible, I contemplated the 10 Plagues of Egypt. I realized that my knowledge of that story had remained static since roughly second grade. I felt certain that there was more to learn, so I started to study with fresh eyes. I began by reading Exodus, chapters seven through twelve.
I was pleased to find that my memory of what this passage contained was quite accurate and complete, but I wanted to know more.
I searched assorted commentaries, and I was amazed by what I found. Several of the commentaries explained the progression of the plagues as they related to the gods of Ancient Egypt, beginning with Hapi (god of the Nile) and ending with Ra (the sun god) followed by Pharaoh himself (Egypt’s ultimate authority). Ancient Egypt’s gods were not equals, but were part of a hierarchy. The sequence of the plagues climbed the ladder of authority while simultaneously wreaking havoc on Egypt’s economy. By the end of the tenth plague, Egypt was devastated: physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually. God had completely defeated the oppressors of his people.
Unfortunately, the story does not end there. God’s people almost immediately began to question God. They began a pattern that would span across generations, rebelling against God and returning to him only to rebel once again.
I am the same. I glorify God for his deliverance and mercy; moments later, I pridefully act as if I am self-sufficient. I cry out to him when I perceive that I have need, but I do not acknowledge that I always have need.
Lord, help me to lean on you, to remember your mercy. Curb my rebellion. Help me to establish a pattern of faithfulness that endures for generations. Amen.
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