The sky was rosy with the rising sun as Pharaoh and his court went out to the Nile for morning washing and worship. And there, he found Moses and Aaron waiting for him. “Go out,” God had told Moses, “and wait beside the Nile for the king. Tell him to let my people go into the desert to worship me.”
But Pharaoh, determined to keep his slaves, refused. Just as he had the day before, unimpressed by Aaron’s rod becoming a snake. After all, his own magicians did the same.
So God struck at Pharaoh’s main idol.
The beautiful, mighty, three-branched Nile (or Dark Blue River, as it was known) that flowed through such poetic-sounding places. Over the Mountains of the Moon, through Abyssinia, and up into the Mountains of Laska.
Abundant, deep, and broad, it flows a total of 3300 miles (5311 km). And, pursuing its course over thousands of years, it was, and continues to be, the life of Egypt. A veritable oasis in that dry and desert land.
This main source of water also provided much of Egypt’s food. With complex irrigation canals, the Nile watered their crops. And by helping to form the clouds, it brought much-needed rain. Egyptian lives depended on it. So by turning the Nile to blood, God struck at their greatest source of livelihood.
But he was mostly challenging their hearts.
For the Egyptians revered the Nile, feeling it made them independent of God’s rain. They also believed all their gods were born along its banks. And held innumerable feasts, rites, and ceremonies, worshiping the river.
But it was the Nile itself that they held in highest esteem.
It was their river god. And everything growing in or along its banks was also sacred. Even the water itself, they felt, came from what they considered their “father and savior.” And believing their magic could harness the supernatural power in these things, the Egyptians felt invincible and all powerful.
The Lord wanted to show that he, and he alone, is all powerful, mighty God. So one by one, he tore down the Egyptian idols of pride, power, and self-reliance. But they never recognized him as God Omnipotent.
Even his own people didn’t fully believe in him as the Omnipotent One. At first they trusted and believed, but quickly lost hope. “Look what you’ve done Moses!” they complained. “Your plan didn’t work, and now we have to work even harder!” (Exodus 5:20-23).
Their doubt kept the Israelites from trusting in God’s power.
Instead of seeing his protection, they focused on their burdens. “We work twice as hard. Yet they beat us and accuse us of laziness!” They didn’t seem to see the Lord’s goodness and protection. “He kept those nasty flies away! And saved our livestock! Protected us from the boils, hail, locusts, and darkness!” They should have went out and danced in the streets!
But sometimes we focus more on our problems too, don’t we?
We fail to see troubles and trials as a time to build our faith. To trust him more, and watch him do great and marvelous things for us.
So Lord, we look to you, the creator and controller of that deep blue river. Remind us that you created us, and are powerful enough to keep us, care for us, and provide us in every way. Help us see you as God Omnipotent.