According to tradition, it was on this day that Egypt was afflicted with the plague of the frogs. This plague, along with the other plagues, was designed to bring the king of Egypt into submission to God’s plan, which was to let Israel go into the wilderness. But Pharaoh’s response was, “Who is the Lord that I should let Israel go?” (Exodus 5:2). So then, the plagues were God’s way of introducing Himself to Pharaoh and to convince the king that the LORD was God.
“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:5)
This statement – “and they shall know that I am the LORD” – is commonly used throughout the Scriptures because God is determined that the world will know that He is the one, true God. Throughout His Word, it is clear that He would prefer people come to this realization of their own volition and because they desire to have a relationship with Him. But, one way or the other, in the end the world will know that He is the Lord. Paul underscored this point in his letter to the Romans:
For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)
All will know and acknowledge that He is Lord, whether they be Pharaoh, Prime Minister or President. In discussing this, we can’t omit another very important point – our responsibility as it relates to the world coming to the knowledge of the truth. According to the Scripture, God set a distinction between Egypt and the people of Israel so that His people would not suffer as the Egyptians did. However, He did not do this until after the third plague, meaning that the first three plagues – the water being turned to blood, the frogs and then the gnats – affected anyone who was holding onto the idols and gods of Egypt. That would seem to include those of His people who were guilty of these things. Therefore I’ll suggest that, though the plagues were intended to convince Pharaoh and the Egyptians that He is God, they were also used to convince His own people that He is the LORD. He said to Israel:
“And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell … that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land.” (Exodus 8:22)
Apparently up until this time, there were many of His people who knew about Him, but didn’t really know Him. If they had truly known Him, He would not have had to tell them to put away all of their abominations, as we see He was compelled to do, according to Ezekiel.
“On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands. 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.’” (Exodus 20:6-7)
Obviously, there were those of His people in Egypt who worshipped the idols of Egypt. This is why the first three plagues, most likely, affected them as well; God was prompting them to let go of these worthless things. Afterwards, He set a distinction between Egypt and Israel so that all of the plagues poured out upon Egypt thereafter did not physically affect Israel, but would serve to prove to them that He is LORD.
So, let’s apply this scenario to our situation, today: the troubling developments that plague our world are indicators that God is attempting to provoke the world to repentance. His desire is not to destroy mankind but that people would come to know their Creator. I would add that, beyond trying to reach the unbelieving world, current events are to intended to provoke His people to repentance that they might come to know Him instead of just knowing about Him. Think of it this way: how is the world going to acknowledge His sovereignty if His own people aren’t living in a way that manifests a belief in His sovereignty? If His people are behaving as the world does, then how is the world going to be provoked to know Him?
In the days of Noah, men were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; in other words, doing the things they normally do. When God, through Noah, warned that generation of an impending flood, the people refused to listen. This generation is no different; people aren’t paying attention to what God is saying through our circumstances. Though sad, it’s not entirely unexpected. Messiah said the days leading up to His return would be like the days of Noah and that would have to include the fact that, despite the warnings, people wouldn’t be paying attention.
Without a doubt, God is desperately trying to reach the lost of this generation but let’s not forget that He’s also speaking to His people. It’s His people that need to be provoked to awaken from their spiritual slumber and return to Him with their whole hearts. He’s calling us to know Him, not just know about Him. And so, let us turn away from the abominations which are before our eyes, and put away the idols of Egypt that we have come to embrace that we might know our God in a more intimate way. As we abandon the trappings of Egypt and know that He is the Lord, He will make Himself known to those who dwell in darkness, through our lives.