No One Like the Lord Our God
When Pharaoh refused to listen to God’s command and repeated warnings, God struck Egypt at its source, the Nile River. He did not destroy Egypt, but with the Nile full of blood for 7 days instead of water, God communicated that He had control over Egypt’s source of life.
This first plague was designed to make it clear that God is the great “I Am” (Exodus 7:17). However, Pharaoh did not take this to heart. This was apparently because the magicians of Egypt were able to make blood out of water (Exodus 7:22).
When Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not listen to the word of the Lord, God sent a second plague. According to Exodus 8:10, this plague was designed to make the point “there is no one like the Lord our God.” I hope that in studying what this plague was that we too will understand that there is no one like the Lord our God, and also be able to apply this truth to our present-day lives.
First, let’s consider the plague. Exodus 8:1-4 says:
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "Let my people go, that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants."'" ()
Frogs would come up into their houses and even be on their beds. This was bad. Ellicott, in his commentary, states:
Frogs were sacred animals to the Egyptians, who regarded them as symbols of procreative power, and associated them especially with the goddess Heka (a wife of Kneph, or up), whom they represented as frog-headed. Sacred animals might not be intentionally killed; and even their involuntary slaughter was not unfrequently punished with death. To be plagued with a multitude of reptiles which might not be put to death, yet on which it was scarcely possible not to tread, and which, whenever a door was opened were crushed, was a severe trial to the religious feelings of the people, and tended to bring the religion itself into contempt.
Imagine being unable to walk without stepping on a frog, and also needing to try and not kill any of them. A website called “Exploratorium” said this about the frog in ancient Egypt:
In ancient Egypt, the frog appears as a symbol of fertility, water, and renewal. The water goddess Heket often appeared as a woman with the head of a frog. Frogs were also the symbol of the midwife goddess Heqit, who ruled conception and birth, and Egyptian women often wore metal amulets in the form of frogs to enlist her good favor. Frogs appeared in great numbers each year at the flooding of the Nile, an event which was crucial to agriculture in that it provided water for many distant fields. Frogs thrived in the muddy bogs left by the receding waters, and it is easy to imagine how frogs came to be viewed as favorable symbols of abundance. In fact, the frog became a symbol for the number hefnu, which meant either 100,000 or simply "an immense number."
As the floodwaters receded, the frogs coming forth would have been signs of new life. Jeretta and I lived close enough to rice paddies to hear the frogs croaking and associated those sounds with the arrival of spring. This would have been the same concept for the Egyptians. The river flooding did not come on the calendar at the time of spring, but the renewal of life was the same as what we consider spring to be.
Our culture still has celebrations that center on the arrival of spring. Bunnies and eggs are symbols of fertility and have become a part of our Easter celebrations. Now, do not get off track! This is not a message against the Easter Bunny or Easter eggs. I mean to point out the attraction that new life and renewal has for us. Many of us love the first signs of spring, the cherry blossoms and the crocuses. However, with this comes the temptation to worship life itself.
This is precisely what modern man has done. We think that we are wiser than the Egyptians, who worshiped life symbolized by frogs. But, we worship life in not too different a way. We have immortalized life in the theory of evolution. The life principle supposedly works in such a way that given enough time life inevitably happens, and the proof is that we are here. We have deified life.
The scientific method is necessary for our growth and learning. Observation, testing and experimentation can and does lead us to a knowledge of our world. We can describe in great detail and with ever-increasing accuracy, both the processes and contents of our world. And this knowledge is a tool that helps us use the materials around us to improve our lives and be productive. What science cannot do is answer the philosophical reason why. Science describes what is here by use of observation. It cannot explain the origin of the species, much less explain life and its meaning.
However, God would be unnecessary if evolution could explain life. There is another god, and it is life itself, life that perpetuates itself in the survival of the fittest.
It is essential that we come to the understanding that there is no one like the Lord our God. It is vain and foolish to think that life is its own explanation. The Bible tells us:
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. ()
How foolish to think that because we can observe life, we can explain it!
This is our modern idolatry.
God worked to get Pharaoh’s attention with an over-abundance of frogs. The Egyptian magicians were also able by their craft to bring up frogs on the land of Egypt. Here, as in the plague of blood, they were not able to provide relief or stop the plague. They just added to the problem with more frogs.
Pharaoh was made uncomfortable enough that he called for Moses and asked Moses to entreat the Lord to take away the frogs (Exodus 8:8).
"Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile." ()
I do not know why Pharaoh chose to spend another night with the frogs, but he said “tomorrow.” And Moses said:
The miracle was in the timing. Pharaoh named the time for the frogs to leave. The cleanup was awful.
The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. ()
Once there was relief, Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 says:
Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. ()
Because God extended grace to Pharaoh in removing the frogs and mercy in not treating him as his sin deserved, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart. His heart was fully set to do evil.
Pharaoh had gods. Whatever happened with the Nile, he could count on renewal. He could count on the cycle of life. Flood, frogs and harvest came every year. All his gods were the same. He could understand them because his gods were subject to the cycle of nature. What he needed to understand was that the Lord our God is not like other gods.
If you are seeking renewal, you will not find it anywhere but in Christ. Renewal and new life are not found in nature, spring or evolution. We can observe the process of growth, renewal and life because God has built it in, but we cannot reproduce it. Life is only found in God, and there is no other place. But, we have His promise:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ()
This is what we are looking for in spring, the promise of renewal, a refreshing after the long cold death of winter. God has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), but we can never search it out. Life and eternity are only found in God. What we want, what we need, and what our hearts long for is the new life found in Jesus Christ.
In Him, we are made new.