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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The First Seven Plagues of Egypt; Save Yourself from the Debts of Others

    Today’s Reading:
  • Exodus 8:1 - 9:35
  • Proverbs 6:1-5
Exodus 8:1 - 9:35
Today's reading covers a portion of the plagues.  In the last Exodus reading we saw the first plague which was all water from the Nile river turned to blood.  The next six plagues were covered today.  Here is a list of the plagues that I have so far read about:
  1. A Plague of Blood
  2. A Plague of Frogs
  3. A Plague of Gnats (or some insect that was not a fly or a locust)
  4. A Plague of Flies
  5. A Plague Against Livestock
  6. A Plague of Boils
  7. A Plague of Hail
It's hard to comment on such a tremendous display of power against the Egyptian people as they were washed by plague after plague while the people of Israel remained untouched.  I certainly wouldn't want to be an Egyptian who was suffering for the Pharaoh's sins.  Not that the Egyptians were anywhere close to innocent; they did not know the Lord.  I imagine quite a few were ready to turn and follow the Lord long before the plagues were done being rolled out. 

The important thing -- the point of the entire set of plagues -- was for God to show the Egyptian people who the real God is.  These people had been worshiping the Pharaoh and had no knowledge of the real God until the Lord came in an showed the Egyptian people that He was mightier than anything they had ever known before. 

In verse 9:20 we are told that some of Pharaoh's officials headed the warning against the seventh plague and brought their household and livestock to safety, so I believe that is some indication that part of the Egyptian people were paying heed to this Lord whose power they were learning.

The Pharaoh kept relenting and saying that he would let the people go but then he would recant his promise each time the Lord lifted the plague from the land.  At the end of the seventh plague the Pharaoh finally comes out and admits that he was wrong and that he had sinned (9:27).  As soon as that plague was lifted, the Pharaoh once again changed his mind. The Pharaoh didn't keep his promises, but the Lord always keeps His, and so the plagues were sure to continue.

Proverbs 6:1-5
These first few verses of Proverbs 6 talks about saving yourselves from the debts of others.  It says that if you are trapped by an agreement of another then you are at that person's mercy and you need to have yourself removed from that situation as quickly as possible.

We are lucky that we live in the United States.  Here you don't get jailed for having debts you cannot pay, but that is not true elsewhere.  I don't really know when or where this particular Proverb was written and what the laws of the time were, but I am pretty sure that debt was usually a sin punishable by imprisonment until paid off completely. 

These days you can ruin your financial life by securing another person's debt.  I don't think these verses are telling us that we should never help another person out, but I do think that we are being told to be weary when we do so.  There's a difference between helping others and ruining yourself to do so.  If you ruin yourself to help someone, how will you then be able to be a blessing to more people?

Conclusion
Reading the bible is like reading a self help book, a history book, a biography, a horror story (think about living during those plagues) a drama and a soap opera (think Rachel and Leah and Jacob) all at the same time.  People who think that the bible is an old stuffy boring book obviously haven't read enough of it.  I can't wait to see what unfolds next.

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