The ancient people made a connection between the touch of the spiritually unclean and the touch of death. How did God use this connection in our text above?
This is the 5th plague that God unleashed upon the Egyptians. The first four plagues connected with things that made the Egyptian people unclean, uncomfortable, and disgusted. Blood in the water, frogs everywhere, gnats and flies. These are all symbols and realities that point to spiritual uncleanness and evil in the lives of even the pagan Egyptians.
The plague of pestilence connects that previous uncleanness with death. In this plague, God struck all of the Egyptian livestock with a terrible sickness, which kills them. In fact, it says that all of the Egyptian livestock died. That means that their meat was gone in a day. That is, unless they were willing to eat the body of something that had died from horrible sickness. I think I’ll pass on that. This was the first touch of death for the Egyptians.
A Downward Spiral of Death
Earlier, I wrote about the work done one Pharaoh’s hardening heart. The Unclean plagues, and the power God showed brought him to moments where he was ready to let the people go. Then he would harden his heart and change his mind.
In this passage Pharaoh changed from being the actor – the one making the choices – into the object – the one being acted upon. It is a small piece of grammar that we can easily overlook. This is one of the most studied examples of God’s will interacting with the human will in scripture. The difference between Pharaoh hardened his heart and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened is massive.
And it all begins when the plagues move from discomfort and disgust, to death.
What do you see here?
I’d love to hear what you see in this passage. You can comment below or send a text to 859-636-6965 for a faster response. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this text.