Plague #6 - Anybody got a band-aid?
The sixth plague is full of hidden meaning. Let’s first start with who it affects. This is the first plague that actually brings pain and discomfort to the people themselves. No doubt the plagues are taking a toll on the people. Next, these open wounds make the people symbolically “unclean.” Cleanliness was extremely important to the Egyptians because it showed off their wealth. The third idea to consider is what a sore stood for. A person was said to have sores on their skin because there was sin or impurities in their life. These impurities would “boil” out of the body through the skin, thus giving the sores their name. This was physical evidence that the people were doing the wrong thing by opposing God. Finally, God continues His dominance over the Egyptian gods by taking down Isis, the Egyptian god of medicine and peace. No matter how much the people prayed to Isis, there was no cure to come. Even the Pharaoh’s magicians could not heal the sores on their own bodies, and because of their uncleanness they are unable to stand with the Pharaoh.
Plague #7 - Is it frozen water on fire?
The next plague shows both the power and mercy of God. The power is shown by God sending hail to destroy the crops of the Egyptians. The Egyptian god to fall victim this time is Nut, the goddess of the sky. The scene of ice and fire falling from the sky would portray Nut as angry at the people of Egypt. Now here’s the twist. God allows hail to rain down from the sky and destroy two specific crops: flax and barley. This interesting fact shows the mercy of God. These two crops were not the main source of food for the Egyptians, but helped them make clothing and other luxuries. God gives the people yet another chance to choose Him before he takes away their last source of food.
Plague #8 - Boy, those crickets are hungry!
The plague of the locusts is really a follow-up to the hail. Whatever crops were left and not destroyed by the hail are now being eaten by the locusts, including the immature grains that where not destroyed earlier. God is really hitting the people where it hurts - their stomach! Seth is the Egyptian god of storms and disorder, and this storm of locusts has definitely put the people in disorder. With the food from the river, livestock, and now the fields completely gone, a subtle truth is spreading across the land: Without food, the people of Egypt will die! God begins to show the severity of not following Him, but Pharaoh still rejects Moses’ request.
Plague #9 - It’s getting dark early these days, isn’t it?
For three days, Egypt became dark, and no light was seen by the moon or the sun. The Egyptians worshipped Ra, the god of the sun, more than any other celestial god, and relied on him the most in their lives. God proved that He was even stronger than the mightiest Egyptian god. An unusual aspect of this plague is that it came unannounced. Scholars say that this plague was really just a precursor to the last plague that would ultimately break Pharaoh. The religious impact of their most powerful god being defeated is just as bad as the psychological effect that the constant darkness may have had on the people. They couldn’t escape the darkness. Darkness for Egyptians symbolized judgment and death, which is exactly what was coming to them in the next and final plague.
Plague #10 - And the champ goes down!
Pharaoh was said to be the son of Ra, and was the only earthly god, thus making him the most powerful symbol in all of Egypt. After God beat Pharaoh’s father, Ra, he begins to take notice. Pharaoh then tries to barter with God. “The people may go, but the animals stay.” Since Egypt’s animals were dead, Pharaoh was trying to find his next meal. However, no one barters with God, and Egypt pays the price. All of the firstborn sons of Egypt are slaughtered, including the son of Pharaoh. This massive display of power by God finally makes Pharaoh submit to Moses’ request, albeit temporarily.
God has stripped Egypt of practically everything - their food, their power, their status in the world, and finally, their future success as a nation by killing their baby boys. Their military, work force, and overall status in the male-dominated world of the Old Testament are lost with the death of a generation of males. God stripped down every idol and false belief to prove to the people that He is God.
This isn’t just an Old Testament story. God continues to be a jealous God who alone is worthy of our time, money, honor, praise, and worship. When God’s people build up other things in their lives ahead of Him, the same consequence can happen to us. God will strip us of everything in our lives to make us realize our dependence on Him, but yet so many times when we lose one thing we fall back on another instead of falling to God. Some people live long enough to hit the bottom and turn back to God. Others, like the young generation of Egyptian males, lose everything out of disobedience. Let’s learn from the Old Testament to give God our all in obedience and submission to Him, and trust in Him over all other things.