I’ve recently been teaching a class on the plagues in Exodus. Ultimately the plagues led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, yet there was an even bigger purpose behind them. Over and over, Moses recorded for us the Lord’s purpose. And as the plagues “crescendoed” in severity, God expanded His purpose. What was that purpose? That the Lord would be known.
First, God showed His power to just Pharaoh and his magicians so that they might know that the Egyptian gods were no gods at all. Next, God wanted all of Egypt to know Him through the plagues He brought. But that, too, was not enough, therefore God performed further plagues so that His name might become known throughout the whole earth. But God was not content for only one generation to know Him, so He brought the final plagues so that Israel would tell their children and grandchildren about Him. God’s glorious plan was for all people in all generations to come to know Him.
To “know” God in the book of Exodus was to experience Him. To perceive with all of one’s senses that “He is,” and to acknowledge Him for who He is. As a result, God’s hope was that all would submit to Him and be saved through faith in Him.
Yes, people suffered during the plagues. Each day God delayed their release the Israelites remained in cruel slavery. The Egyptians felt the brunt of the hail, locusts, and boils, etc. But God had a purpose in His plagues and in their pain – that He might be known.
Friends, perhaps you’re suffering today. If so, remember that God never wastes a hurt – He has a purpose in the pain He allows. Look for ways Christ may become known through you as you endure your trials. –Dave
The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. (Exodus 7:5)
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