Jewish tradition believes it was on this day that the third biblical plague descended upon Egypt. What make this particular plague so interesting is, after this, God set a division between Israel and Egypt, thus protecting God’s people from the suffering the ensuing plagues would create. However, coming at this point, the division also implies that the first three plagues may have affected everyone. Most importantly, by setting a division between the two peoples after the third plagues, God sent a message to both camps — Israel was to be set apart from the Egyptians so that everyone would know that the God of Israel was the LORD.
In the Exodus account this is the recurring theme in relation to the plagues. When Moses first confronted Pharaoh with the notion that he should release the children of Israel to serve the LORD, his reaction was, “Who is the LORD that I should let Israel go?” God’s response was to judge the gods of Egypt, thus demonstrating that they had no real power and that everyone — including Pharaoh — would come to know that Israel’s God was all-powerful.
Part of this demonstration of His sovereignty included bringing attention to His people. Instead of hiding them away, He wanted the Egyptians to know, exactly, where His people were and exactly what was happening — or not happening — to His people. The Egyptians may have been plunged into darkness but they were not in the dark as to what was going on in Goshen, after God set this division between the two nations. And if it was true then, then perhaps we should expect that this principle will be repeated in our day and time. Understanding that He still desires for all to come to the knowledge that He, alone, is God, perhaps He will set a division between us and the world as things worsen. Instead of hiding us, maybe He intends to cause us to stand out like “a city set upon a hill.”
If that’s true then it becomes our responsibility to walk in accordance with His wishes. We must fight the natural inclination to hide ourselves away and embrace the responsibility that has been given to us to shine in the midst of all of this darkness. As Paul said in the book of Romans:
“For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!’ ”(Romans 10:13-15)
Summarizing what Paul said in the context of what we’re discussing, today: “How can people see a light if that light has been hidden?” And so, again, we must resist the temptation to hide the light and should embrace the responsibility to let that light shine, especially before our enemies. We can have confidence that the Creator will set a division between us and the world and cause the world to take note of us so that, in us and through us, they may come to know Him.