There is that phrase again. “I am the LORD.” In Exodus 6, he wanted to make sure that Moses understood that He is the LORD. Now, in Exodus 7-12, God is going to make sure that Pharaoh and the Egyptians get it too! Remember that the Hebrew word that is translated “LORD” is “Yahweh”, which means, “I AM”. What God is saying is “I am the I AM.” That’s just how He introduced Himself at the burning bush. (Exodus 3:14) Think of the significance of this statement juxtaposed with the following statement made by Christ, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus was claiming transcendence by using the present tense, “I am,” instead of “I was.” God exists outside of time. So, Jesus existed before Abraham, just as he existed at the time of the New Testament, and just as he exists today. But not only was Jesus claiming to be eternal and transcendent, by using the phrase, “I am,” Jesus was claiming to be the same God that appeared to Moses in the burning bush. His listeners clearly understood his claim, because in the next sentence they picked up stones to kill him. (John 8:58-59) This is an exclusive divinity claim by Christ. He is either lying, crazy or God. I can’t think of another option.
The plagues are God’s chosen means of revealing His person and His power through the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The plagues hit areas of life supposedly protected by Egypt’s gods, demonstrating God’s power over the gods of the world’s mightiest nation at the time.
For example, the Nile River itself was worshipped. It was considered sacred and life-giving. In the first plague, turning the Nile to blood, God is essentially saying, “You believe the Nile gives life. I am going to make it dead.”
The second plague, frogs, challenges the authority of “Heqet,” the frog god of fertility. God is saying, “I control your heritage, not the frog god.”
The 3rd and 4th plagues, gnats and flies (as well as the plagues of hail and locusts that come later), challenge the authority of “Seth,” the god of the earth, the protector of the crops.
For each area that the Egyptian gods supposedly governed, Yahweh is saying, “I have ultimate supremacy.” If this is just a story from ancient history, it has no relevance to our life now at all. But I don’t believe that this is simply a story from ancient history. Because the same God who turned the Nile into blood, and sent frogs and swarms of gnats and flies upon Egypt lives today. He is still supreme over every area of life. And He came in the flesh in the person of Jesus to pay for your sins and mine. That is where ancient history meets our present reality.