If God wanted the Israelites to move to Canaan, why didn’t he just kill Pharaoh and his army? Why didn’t God just turn the Israelites invisible and let them walk right past the enemy? Why bother with all the plagues? Does God like to play games?
The answer is in Exodus 9:15-17:
For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. (I added the bold)
Yes, God used Pharaoh’s response to the plagues to fulfill His promise to Abraham, to free the Jews and send them toward the Promised Land. But, according to the verses we just read that’s not the only reason God sent those plagues.
God gave the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, multiple opportunities to bow down to Him. He demonstrated His power through every plague so the whole world would recognize He is the One True God. God, who is not willing that any should perish, put those plagues out there because of love.
I know because we read what happened after the fact, we might come to the conclusion God orchestrated the events, pulled strings to make Pharaoh reject Him. But that implies God wasn’t interested in Pharaoh’s soul, and that’s not consistent with God’s nature.
Had Pharaoh believed in Israel’s God after recognizing God’s power, we would be reading a different account. And someone would assume God pulled strings to make that happen, too.
Reading about the plagues today reminds me that God will stop at nothing to reveal Himself, to draw people to Himself. And I am also reminded that everything that happens in this life happens for the sole purpose of saving souls.
That’s the message here. It’s not in the details of the plagues. It’s in the love of God who is in the business of showing Himself to a world that needs Him.
I pray none of us will miss His purpose in the events of our own lives.