Nothing in the ancient world compared to Egypt’s garden-rich glory, its sophistication, its power. But one man’s pride—and a people who followed him—caused the seemingly unconquerable land to crumble.
First, the Nile turns to blood. Then nasty critters infest–everywhere! Boils inflict and cattle die. Devastating hail leaves the land looking like a war zone.
And then, another plague hits. Like a dungeon door slamming shut, blocking out every last sliver of light, darkness falls. Have you ever flipped off your flashlight in a cave? The blackness feels thick, sickening. The plague-darkness is like this, so complete the Egyptians stay in their homes for three days (Ex. 10:21-23). Their spiritual blindness morphs into real blindness.
They’ve almost reached complete tohu va vohu—formless and void—haven’t they? God’s beautiful creation has been de-created, plague by plague. They’re back to before the beginning. Before God’s first words. Before light. “And darkness was over the face of the deep” Gen. 1:2.
What does Israel do during this devastation? Oh them? They’re chillin’ in Goshen. Can you picture this? The world around them sinks to chaos, but God’s people are safe—no frogs infest their pots, no boils touch their skin, no hail destroys their crops. And light shines in their land.
Can’t help but think of this from Psalm 91.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Ps. 91:5-6
God protects his people. Why? He’s just awesome that way. Because of his amazing love, he calls the Israelites his treasured possession, the sheep of his hand, his children. As any good father would, he encircles them in his care. Of course he does.
And he not only shines the light in their darkness–he is the light. In fact, he’s all they need in the land of Goshen. The Israelites resting safe from the plagues reflects an amazing picture of God as a love-shield around us.
When I was in high school, we sang this beautiful praise song, “Thou O Lord, art shield about me. You’re my glory. You’re the lifter of my head.” Do you remember that one? It’s from Psalm 3. I sat cross-legged, eyes closed, picturing God’s love sheltering me like a warrior’s shield. I was safe, secure. I didn’t think about the arrows pounding outside. I just relished the security of being with my Jesus.
Since then, plenty of life’s plagues have surrounded me in darkness. I lost both my parents and two unborn babies. I struggled in my marriage for a time. We’ve had repeated intense financial crises. People I trusted fell. I’ve fallen to anxiety and depression. Oh, and I died—can’t forget that one.
I know you’ve been through your own catastrophes, just as difficult, or worse.
But even though these things happened to me, in a way they didn’t. That may sound crazy, but in the midst of the deepest darkness, he kept me safe, shone as a light, like he did for Israel in Goshen. Sometimes I panicked anyway (I’m guessing the Israelites did too), but I never stopped being his child. His shepherd’s hand never lost track of me. He never dropped his shield, never. And no matter what tragedy comes, even when death comes knocking again, I’ll still be safe. Always.
And so are you.
Take a moment to think about the most difficult struggles you’ve faced. Looking back, can you see how God took care of you? Now think about today’s stresses. Just like he carried you in the past, he’s got today too. You can trust him. Rest under his shield and bask in his light.
Remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow.
Shine Your Light: Will you share a time when God’s peace kept you safe even in the midst of a tumultuous time? I’d love to hear and I know it will bless others also.