Today is the first day of the month of Iyar and it was on this day, according to tradition, that the first of the ten plagues to strike Egypt occurred. It is recorded in Exodus 7:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.’” And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck 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. (Exodus 7:19-20)
This would have been an incredible sight to behold and one that, presumably, would have frightened Pharaoh and his servants. But like most unbelieving people, they were quick to dispel the notion that a miracle had occurred. In fact, Pharaoh’s magicians tried to replicate this feat, but could undo what the Creator had done. What’s more fascinating about this first plague has nothing to do with its affect upon the Egyptians, but how it may have affected the Israelites. In other words, some Israelites may have been subjected to this plague, as well. According to the Bible, it was only after the third plague that God set a distinction between Israel and between Egypt, at least hinting that the first three plagues affected everyone. If that’s the case, then why? The answer is found in Ezekiel 20.
Thus says the Lord God: “On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God.’ … Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’ But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, ‘I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’” (Ezekiel 20:5, 7-8)
The first thing that jumps out at you about this declaration is, if they had truly known Him, He would not have to had made Himself known to them; perhaps they only knew about Him. It’s also apparent that, not only had they been living in Egypt but, by this time, Egypt was most definitely living in them. And while Egypt was unwilling to loosen its grip on the Israelites, it seems that there were many Israelites who were unwilling to loosen their grip on Egypt.
So it seems possible that the first three plagues affected anyone who held fast to the idols of Egypt, whether they were Egyptian or Israelite. That is of interest to us because, if historical patterns repeat – and they do – then we would expect that the Creator is speaking to all of His people, throughout the world, to, “Let go of Egypt and its idols.” We need to loosen our grip on those things culture venerates and that we have allowed to infiltrate our lives and affect our mindset. Times are changing and cultural trends are leading us further away from biblical virtues and those things that the Creator says are true and holy.
As His people, we are being challenged to let go of everything that we have known, if they would separate us from the Father’s will. It’s critical that we learn to do this now because, eventually, the call to “leave country, family and father’s house,” will come. By that I mean, God will call upon us to abandon anything that has a place in our heart that doesn’t allow Him in. When that time comes, will we be willing to do it? Are we prepared to go all the way? Today is the day that we need to rid ourselves of our “Egyptian idols.” You and the Creator will need to have a discussion about what that means to you. We must do this because, in the end, it will not be enough to know about Him – we must know Him and, just as importantly, He needs to know us!