The plagues of Egypt are one of the greatest examples of unnecessary, totally avoidable misery. From the time when I was a kid, it just seemed like it would have been a horrible time to be an Egyptian. Boils, gnats, locusts and the rest had to create such an unbearable environment for the people. There are two things that came to my mind as I again read about this unbelievable time of suffering for the nation of Egypt. First of all, what is with Pharaoh? Back and forth, back and forth, he went as his people, the people of that country, went progressively deeper into episodes of suffering. Don’t forget that all of this human suffering was completely avoidable. The choices to ignore God’s demands to let His people go brought about the suffering. The country could have been spared such hardship and heartache if Pharaoh had simply responded to what God was asking him to do. After a plague had devastated his people, he would say okay, call of the plague and I will release your people. Then quicker than you can say, “Pharaoh, what were you thinking,” he would change his mind and tell them, “No, you can’t leave.”
An entire nation had to endure such suffering over and over because Pharaoh continued to be so indecisive.
Secondly, notice that Pharaoh’s indifference toward God not only affected him personally, but practically destroyed his family and the nation he was leading. The choices he made not only affected him but instead affected everyone whose lives touched his.
Let’s move on to the application that stands out here. First of all, a number of us have been like Pharaoh in the sense that we make the decision to do what God wants. We experience His grace and forgiveness, the load gets lifted, we feel better and we now have a new lease on life and then we turn around and go the other way away from God, only to turn back to God but then turn away again and go our own way, only to come to our senses and turn back to Him, and on and on it goes. All of this wavering causes us to be hurt by the things that are able to come into our lives when we live this way. When we turn away and decide to take a different path than God’s path, I guess you could say we open ourselves up to the “plagues” that are out there, those consequences of our disobedience. The amazing thing is that those “plagues” are avoidable. The consequences that lie along the path that goes away from God are not only hurtful but dangerous. But they are avoidable by us in the same way that Pharaoh wouldn’t have had to encounter one plague.
Secondly, when we take these excursions off God’s path, we are not the only one to suffer for it. The people around us, our loved ones, those who are close to us end up having to suffer along with us, just like the nation of Egypt suffered alongside Pharaoh. It doesn’t seem fair.
The next time you encounter this account of the plagues, be reminded those plagues and any “plagues” that you may be suffering through are avoidable. And as a favor to those who are close to you, make sure your choices and decisions bring good things into their lives, not “plagues.”