The Egyptians placed great faith in their gods, but their gods were really demons. The Egyptians worshipped powerful demonic entities that held them in terrible bondage. In the ten plagues of Egypt, God was not just bringing random destruction on the land. He was demonstrating the foolishness of trusting in these false gods. In Exodus 12:12, God said His purpose was to bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. Each plague was a direct confrontation with one or more of the Egyptian deities. God wanted to show the Egyptians the futility of idolatry, and give them an opportunity to turn to the true God. Exodus 12:38 tells us that when Israel left Egypt, a “mixed multitude” went out with them. That’s an indication that many Egyptians were convinced by the plagues of the power of the true God. Because of the plagues, many Egyptians chose to leave Egypt and align themselves with the God of Heaven. In this devotional, we want to look at how God confronted the false deities of Egypt.
In Ancient Egypt, the Nile River was looked at as the source of life. It provided both food and water for the people. Each year it would flood and leave a layer of fertile silt in which their next year’s crops would flourish. Two gods were closely associated with the Nile. One was the god Hapi and the other was the god Khenmu or Khnum. Hapi was worshiped as the god of the Nile. He was thought to be responsible for the fish, birds and fertile soil that the Nile River brought to the people of Egypt. Without the Nile River the people would have died, so Hapi was sometimes revered more than Ra, the sun god.
Along with Hapi … Khnum was also worshiped as a god of the Nile. He was called the “Potter god.” He was believed to be the one who formed human bodies from the silt of the Nile on his potter’s wheel. These two gods were viewed as the source of life. Khnum formed your body and Hapi provided the food and water necessary for life to be sustained. So these two gods were, to the Egyptians, the source and sustainer of life. While we would never say that we believe we were created by a “Potter” like Khnum or that our live is sustained by a god like Hapi, we sometimes look at material things or even the forces of nature the way the Egyptians viewed these gods.
The First Plague: Water turned to Blood (against Hapi, God of the Nile)
This Egyptian God was a water bearer.
As Aaron, the spokesman for Moses, touched the “rod” of the Lord to the Nile River it immediately turned to blood, all the fish died, and the river stank. Partially able to duplicate this miracle, the magicians of Pharaoh also turned water into blood, leaving Pharaoh unimpressed with this great wonder from God.
Seven days the water throughout all the land of Egypt remained in this state, unsuitable for drinking, the perfect length of time to demonstrate that the Lord was superior to all the other Gods of Egypt.
God wants us to know that HE is the source and sustainer!
So His first plague on Egypt was to turn the Nile to blood… making it a source of death instead of a source of life. In doing this He demonstrated the powerlessness of the Egyptian gods. Then, when He brought Israel out of Egypt, He miraculously provided food and water. He showed Israel that He is the true source and sustainer! That’s something God wants us to know also. When Jesus was in the wilderness and Satan tempted Him to turn the stones into bread, Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” What do you look to as the source and sustainer of your life? Take a moment and meditate on the fact that your life came from God. He is the source of your life. By His word the heavens and the earth were formed. He formed you in your mother’s womb. You are not an accident or a mistake. You are the work of God’s hands.
The Lord is also the sustainer of your life. He is committed to you. He brings forth bread from the earth to give you strength. He blesses you with good things. It is by His word that the earth is fruitful and multiplies. The first form of idolatry that God wants to deliver us from is the belief that anything besides the Lord could be the source and sustainer of our lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any mindsets that cause you to look to or depend on anything other than God to provide what you need.
This first plague deals with the foundation of core values in our lives. It goes to the very heart of our belief system. If we do not settle the issue of where we came from and how we will survive, we will develop all kinds of idols to deal with our fears. To avoid idols, we must be rooted and grounded in truth. Read and meditate on the following scriptures. Let them become part of who you are so that there is no question about the source of your life and who sustains you.
Read Genesis 1; Psalm 139; Isaiah 55:8-11
Meditate on Matthew 6:25-34