The number ten symbolizes the law, government and restoration. God gave us the law and clearly outlined that we are not to have any other gods before us. God also shows how we can be restored to Him - through His Son, Jesus Christ and His work of the cross. I thought I would incorporate those two concepts into the ten plagues. I could not believe how God blessed me through this! I hope they bless you as well!
1. Water into blood: The Egyptians viewed the Nile as their god - the giver of life. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. (Exo 7:20)
The Hebrew slaves shed much of their blood at the hands of the Egyptians but now God showed them that the Egyptian Nile god was no longer the giver of life - God gave them much blood to drink. Exo 7:20 says that all the waters in the river turned to blood. This was their drinking water - sustenance for their crops and cattle. Can you just imagine what impact this had on them? Think of how you wouldn't be able to live without water!
I found it interesting that the magicians could duplicate this plague but they could not make it go away. The world can try to duplicate the way to heaven but only through Christ's shed blood can we gain entrance. It is His blood that brings forth the waters of everlasting life! He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (Joh 7:38)
2. Frogs: The Egyptian goddess, Isis (the goddess of fertility) was represented as a frog. And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: (Exo 8:3) God showed the Egyptians that she was not a god by giving them dead piles of frogs. These frogs were everywhere! Imagine finding frogs in your house - in your bedroom - in your bed - in the food - everywhere you looked? That's a LOT of frogs! I found it interesting that the magicians could make the frogs appear but they could not make them go away. The devil can bring things into our lives to make our lives putrid and disgusting - permeating every area of our lives, but only God can clean it up and make it new. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor 5:17)
3. Lice: The Egyptians worshipped the earth god named Seth. And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. (Exo 8:16) God caused the tiny little lice to come up out of the earth and make the Egyptians' lives miserable! Can you imagine each piece of dust in the land turning into lice? If any of you have had lice or one of your children has come home from school with head lice, you know how absolutely annoying they can be to get rid of! It was interesting to see that the magicians could not duplicate this plague. God created the earth - He can cause it to do whatever He wants. Not so with their earth god. The lice reminded me of sin and how much it can permeate our lives and consume us. It takes strong chemicals to be rid of lice and we have to boil our clothes and bed sheets, etc. - and still no guarantee that they are completely gone. It is the same with sin. We can try all we want to use the methods of the world to be rid of them, but only the precious blood of Jesus Christ can wipe them away - permanently!
4. Flies: The prince of the air, Beelzebub, was thought to use the flies as his ears. Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. (Exo 8:21) Egypt's priests could not make them go away. They were coming in droves and were everywhere but the Hebrews were not bothered by them at all. Evil was separated from good. It reminded me of: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Cor 6:17) Sin is putrid in the eyes of God. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6) God sees our best behavior as filthy rags - putrid smelling.
5. Grievous Murrain: The Egyptians worshipped Apis, the sacred bull. Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. (Exo 9:3) God caused a disease to come over all the livestock of the land. God showed them that there is no other who is holy or sacred. ... for there is one God; and there is none other but he: (Mar 12:32b)
6. Boils: The Egyptians believed that their medical sorcerers could cure their diseases. They were looked upon as gods. And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. (Exo 9:10) God showed them their god could not heal them - in fact, they had the boils themselves. Have you ever had a boil? These were not just boils but had pustules (blains) coming from them. I know this sounds disgusting but the point is that it could not have gotten any worse! These boils were also on their animals! How gross is that?! After having a pestilence throughout the land affecting their animals, the Egyptians could not have had many animals left. God showed them that only He could remove disease.
7. Hail with Fire: The Egyptians worshipped their weather sorcerers, who supposedly could control the weather. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. (Exo 9:23) God showed them here that only He could control the weather. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mar 4:39)
8. Locusts The Egyptians also worshipped their agricultural sorcerers. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. (Exo 10:13) They supposedly controlled the crops by doing magic to their gods. However, God showed them that they could not outdo Him. The locusts were bigger than they had ever seen and did not leave - they covered the entire land so that everything appeared black. Ex. 10:14-15, And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. (14) For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. (15) Can you imagine this? We've never seen anything like this but it did happen and it will happen again according to Revelation 9:3. Sin has a way of destroying everything in our lives - our physical bodies - those around us - our circumstances. Sin covers us with black in the eyes of God. Only Christ can make us white as snow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:18)
9. Darkness: The highest and most powerful god of the Egyptians was Rah, the sun god. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: (Exo 10:22) Rah was supposedly Pharaoh's father and, therefore, the most powerful of all their gods. God showed the Egyptians that He was greater than their god by overpowering the sun! Jesus Christ, the "Son," overpowers all gods. He is the Light of the world. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (Joh 8:12)
10. Death of the First Born: To the Egyptian, the first born represented their gods' favor toward them. And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. (Exo 11:5) The Old Testament is filled with God requiring that the first born be consecrated to Him. God removed the Egyptians thoughts of their gods favoring them by showing them that He favored the Hebrews. God spared the Hebrews' first born by instructing them to paint their doorposts with the blood of a spotless lamb! When the angel of death saw the blood on the doorposts, He passed over them just as God's judgment and punishment pass over us because of the perfect Blood of Christ covering us! Praise be to God! God portrayed His desire to consecrate the first born by giving us His Son to pay the penalty for us.
Ah, the number ten - a beautiful depiction of God's Law - man's inability to keep that law - and God's plan to restore us to Him through Christ. I never thought I would see this in the ten plagues but it sure was fun picking it apart!
John G. Foote
Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due.
All who receive Him need never fear,
Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.
Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, so He will do;
Oh, sinner, hear Him, trust in His Word,
Then He will pass, will pass over you.
Judgment is coming, all will be there.
Who have rejected, who have refused?
Oh, sinner, hasten, let Jesus in,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.
O great compassion! O boundless love!
Jesus hath power, Jesus is true;
All who believe are safe from the storm,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.
Devotional by Kate Plourde
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible