Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.(Exodus 6:1-9)
All of the Plagues which came upon Egypt were direct attacks on the ‘gods’ of Egypt. In every case they directly addressed the false system of worship which the Egyptians had centered their whole civilization around.
When God turned the waters of the Nile to blood, it was the Divine judgment upon HAPI, the spirit of the Nile, and Khnum the Guardian of the River’s source, and most particularly Osiris, because the Nile was believed to be his bloodstream.
In these plagues, God gave them over to their false beliefs, for example, since the Nile is Osiris’ bloodstream, God seemed to confirm it and for seven days forced the Egyptians to live with the putrid reality of their idolatry, for there was no fresh water to drink, only blood.
And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also. And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river.(Exodus 7:23-25)
Likewise the plague of frogs. False gods, Heqt, and Hapi inhabit the Nile and manifest as frogs. These frogs are believed to represent fertility, so God multiplied them.Since frogs are so wonderful, that they merit worship, the LORD ‘blessed’ Egypt with millions of them, until the stench of them made people sick.
And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.(Exodus 8:12-14)
The plague of earth becoming lice, was an attack on the false god, Seb, who was believed to be the ground, or dirt.The Nile, like clockwork each season would flood the river bottom, resulting the earth ensuring fertile crops which Egypt depended on.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 8:16-17)
Up till now, the Egyptian magicians seemingly produced counterfeit miracles, which seemingly equalled the miracles of Moses and Aaron. This served to harden Pharoah’s heart by deceiving him into thinking that Moses and Aaron were no different than his own court magicians.
But they couldn’t even pretend to turn dirt into lice, as Moses and Aaron had done, not even on a minuscule scale. Thus they delivered to Pharaoh a sobering message,
And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.(Exodus 8:18-19)
All pretense must be abandoned, the magicians knew they were dealing not with the contrived god, the “Son of Ra” ,Pharaoh of the Egyptians, but with an Entity who is supreme in every way and whose power cannot be conjured, faked or imitated by their occult tricks.
“This is the finger of God”, they warned the Pharaoh, and dropped out of the miracle contest.
The first three plagues were all universally experienced, by Egyptians as well as Israelites. But from this point on, God separated his people from the judgments that were coming heavily upon Egypt.
It is not that the Israelites were less deserving than the idolatrous Egyptians, for they were just as sinful and even idolatrous in most cases.The reason God separated them was because he fully intended to redeem the nation from their sin and from the judgment coming upon Egypt.
In the same way, God is preparing this world for judgment, an all out war against the false gods of our day that will leave no one unaffected. Many of these same plagues will be seen again, Darkness, blood, the loss of fresh water, etc.
But once again the LORD has a people which he will hide in the day of judgment, for he has provided for them also a Redemption from the pain, misery and damnation that they deserve.
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.(Isaiah 26:20-21)