Can you imagine the scene in ancient Egypt during God’s first plague on the land—turning the massive Nile River into blood? The Nile was interwoven into the Egyptians’ daily lives, both as a source of worship and many practical day-to-day needs. Suddenly, God rendered it worthless.
All the drinking water disappeared. All river-bathing stopped. All the fish died. The stench wafting from the bloody banks was overwhelming. But beyond the shock factor, this plague (and the other nine) teaches us a great deal about God—and not just about His power over nature. Through the plagues, God judged Egypt, redeemed the Israelites from slavery, kept His covenant promises to the patriarchs, and created a people for Himself to bless the nations.
Notice in our reading today how completely one-sided this effort was. Exodus 7:3–4 and Deuteronomy 7:7 make clear the initiative was all God’s.
God created and carried out His redemptive plan by His own will and power. But why did He choose Israel? Before God intervened, the Israelites were enslaved. They were small, powerless, and unimpressive on their own. In fact, Moses told them that God saved them “not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deuteronomy 7:7). So why then?
For God’s glory and their good! Moses continued, “but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors, he brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (v.8).
Again, we see God’s initiative. God loved them. God kept His covenant. And God displayed mighty power. The best thing about this? The Lord doesn’t change. He is the same today as He was when He delivered Israel more than 3,000 years ago. He still displays great love and redeeming power to His children. He still fulfills all His promises and shows everlasting faithfulness to His covenant people.
Praise God for that! After all, we are so like ancient Israel. Before God intervened, we were slaves to sin. We are small and powerless. Nothing in us merits salvation. So why did God choose to redeem us? For His glory and our good.
Rejoice in your all-powerful, faithful, covenant-keeping God today!