“I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.”
— Exodus 12:12
When Moses and Pharaoh face off, the biblical text makes clear that this is not merely a battle of wills between human leaders. Rather, the God of Israel is making war against the gods of Egypt.
The Nile River was the very heart of the Egyptian empire. Egypt depended on the Nile for crops, transport, and trade, making it powerful in its prosperity, politics, and religion.
So when God goes to war against the Egyptian gods, a number of the plagues strike at Egypt’s very heart. For example, the first plague turns the waters of the Nile into blood. So there is no water for drinking or fishing or crops, making life very difficult for the Egyptians.
Of course, this plague had deep spiritual significance too. It meant that Egypt’s gods of the Nile (Sobek, Hapi, and Knuum) and its great fertility god (Osiris) had no power over the one true God. Osiris was also the supposed divine ancestor of the pharaohs who guided them into the afterlife.
The true Lord and Creator of the heavens and the earth showed that Egypt’s gods were all false. Egypt and its king were powerless to stand in the way of God rescuing his people.
In what ways do we see God’s power at work against false gods in our world today?
Lord and giver of life and death, we praise you that nothing in the spiritual realm or on the earth can separate us from your love, most clearly revealed in Jesus, our Savior. Amen.