“This is what the Lord says: ‘By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.'” (Exodus 7:17 NIV84)
The first plague to hit the Egyptian people was that the water of the Nile, and all other water sources in their land, was turned into blood. The Lord attacked their sources of drinkable water. I have always thought this to be a very effective first move. People need water to survive, and here was the Lord claiming authority over their existence. Also, He was attacking them spiritually because the Nile was a source of divinity to them. When God controlled the Nile and turned it into blood, He was showing his control over one of the Egyptian false gods. For years I would have taught that it was for these reasons that the first plague was the plague of blood.
But today, I think I missed the most important reason. I believe that through this plague God was making even a more direct and judging statement. If you recall, it was in the first chapter of Exodus that we found that Pharaoh wanted the boys born in Egypt killed at birth. But the midwives would not obey Pharaoh’s command and were obedient to God instead. So what did Pharaoh do? He gave permission to his own people, that if they found a Hebrew baby boy, that they could take the baby and throw it into the Nile River. That’s right! The Nile! I believe that God was making a very clear statement to the Egyptians. He was letting them know that the lives of the Hebrew children they killed in the Nile did not go unnoticed. He turned the Nile into blood as a judgment of their sin.
What’s our takeaway from this devotion? Two things: First, nothing goes unnoticed by God. We might fool those around us. We may even dupe ourselves into thinking that our sinful choices are in secret, but the fact is they are not. The Lord sees everything. Second, it is clear that God will act on behalf of the weak and innocent and bring judgment upon those who oppress them. Consequences will follow prolonged practices of evil. I think about our current practices of abortion and euthanasia and wonder whether God is about to let us know that He sees what’s happening and judge us for our complacency on these issues. But let’s not think there are only two things we need to worry about. Let’s look into our own life today. Let’s be honest about the aspects of it that we think we have in control, but are contrary to the word of God. Let’s heed the warning of the Nile being turned into blood. Let’s let the light of God’s word shine into the dark places of our lives, our relationships, and our communities. Let’s repent and turn to the cross of Jesus Christ, where our sins are atoned for and we can find forgiveness and peace! Let’s end this devotion not with fear, but with hope. We can have hope in a God who has poured out His love on the cross and, by the shedding of Jesus’ blood, has made us new.