And There Shall Be Blood

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Exodus 7:14-7:25 | January 10 -

January 10
And There Shall Be Blood | Exodus 7:14-7:25
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

 

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent.16 And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.” But so far, you have not obeyed. 17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”’” 19 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
20 Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.
25 Seven full days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.
 (Exodus 7:14-25)

I really wrestled with how to go through the next chapters in Exodus. Ten sermons on the plagues (one sermon for each plague) felt like a little too much. There’s a lot of repetition—not in what the plagues are, but in what they mean and signify—so I thought, “I don’t know about ten sermons on ten plagues. Can I do one sermon on the ten plagues?” Having to read through four or five chapters, felt like moving too quickly, so here’s what I’ve settled on, Lord willing: this morning, the first plague; next Sunday, plagues 2-6; and the following Sunday, plagues 7-9. Then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, my family and I will travel to the UK for seven weeks. We leave January 25. I know some of you saw us last week and said, “What, you’re still here?” I know. We’re still here, but I promise we’ll leave in a few more weeks! We’ll come back March 13. As I mentioned, I’ll be doing a lot of preaching and speaking at different churches—and hopefully also doing some work on my dissertation. When I come back, I’ll preach on the tenth plague—and then, believe it or not, we will be at Easter, where I plan to preach on the Passover, which I think will be fitting for that holy week.

Here’s just a little bit of overview of these plagues. You may notice that the word ‘plague’ doesn’t actually appear here or in the rest of the description of the plagues. If you look at Exodus 7:3, they are called ‘signs and wonders’:

…I will…multiply my signs and wonders…
(Exodus 7:3)

That’s what they are called, not ‘plagues’. But ‘plague’ is not a bad label. A plague is something that is a blow or a wound, and we often see the language of striking the Egyptians. We saw this back in Exodus 3:20. The Lord said:

20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it…
(Exodus 3:20a)

They are signs and wonders, yes; but they are signs and wonders that the Lord is striking upon Egypt. That’s why they’re called plagues.

The plagues, in general, move in a direction of increasing severity. You may have noticed that several times in this passage (verses 17, 20, and 25) we have the language of ‘striking’ the Nile so that the water will turn to blood. We’ll say more about that, since this is the plague this morning. It would have been certainly a nuisance. They would have grown weary of a week of water turned to blood in the Nile and all the surface water, but it wouldn’t have been enough to kill the people. We’ll see death multiplying as we move through the plagues—from blood, to frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally the death of the firstborn.

It’s very easy to remember the order of the plagues. You simply have to remember a very helpful mnemonic that I came up with: Be Forever Grateful For Lasagna Because Haggis Looks Definitely Disgusting. That’s every bit as good as Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, where you learn the notes on the scale. You can work it out. Be Forever Grateful: blood, frogs, gnats, etc. It will stick with you for seconds, I’m sure. Things go from bad to worse in these plagues—from inconvenience, to disease and destruction, and ultimately to the death of the firstborn.

There is a pattern that you may not have noticed (in fact, I didn’t notice it until I was studying it this week) that repeats itself three times. Notice how, in verses 14-5, the first plague starts with Moses going out to an early morning confrontation with Pharaoh. Then, if you go to the top of chapter 8 (the second plague) the Lord said, “Go in to Pharaoh, and say to him”. There is a confrontation with Pharaoh inside his court. Then if you go down to the third plague, with the gnats:

“Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.’”
(Exodus 8:16b)

It’s a symbolic action without a confrontation. So it goes from a morning confrontation outside with Pharaoh, to an inside confrontation in his court, to a symbolic act. That’s what happens from 1-3.

It’s interesting that this pattern repeats itself again. Go to the fourth plague. Exodus 8:20:

20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh…
(Exodus 8:20a)

Then the fifth plague (chapter 9) is in his court:

 “Go in to Pharaoh…
(Exodus 9:1a)

Then the sixth plague–the boils.

 “Take handfuls of soot…
(Exodus 9:8a)

There again you have a symbolic activity. You can trace it out. The same pattern holds for plagues 7-9. Then the tenth plague is a disaster all on its own. There’s a definite pattern here of not only increasing severity, but this repeating pattern. “I’m seeing you in the morning, Pharaoh.” You’d think that Pharaoh was thinking, “How early do I have to set my alarm so that I don’t have to see this guy when I get up? Now he’s showing up in my court, and when I don’t see him he’s throwing stuff in the air and plagues are falling.”

You may have heard people try to explain before that these plagues are simply natural phenomena. This has been argued by a number of scholars over the years. They’ll say something like, “Look, the Blue Nile, which flowed into the Nile, stirred up the reddish soil—or perhaps it flooded the Nile with a number of organisms, which do some sort of weird scientific things, start glowing, and look reddish as they swarm. Then, as the Nile had this going on, and it looked sort of red like blood, this killed the fish and caused a smell, which sent all the frogs scurrying out of the river, because they don’t like the stink. Then the insects come during a really hot, frog-croaking summer, and that leads to the boils. Then, in the winter, storms come with heavy rain and hail; in spring, the locusts arrive; and then a dust storm kicks up, and that’s the darkness in the land. It’s all just a matter of natural phenomenon, seasons, etc.”

There are several reasons why this explanation will not work—not least of which is that there is nothing in the text to suggest that the plagues were merely natural occurrences, or that one caused the other. In fact, they are described as the Lord striking the Nile. At one point, even the Egyptians recognize that this is “the finger of God”. To explain to the Egyptians that this was merely a natural phenomenon taking place would have struck them as strange.

Then you have plagues 7-9, which really have no chronological or conceptual connection to each other. You could fathom how the water turns to blood (or gets messed up), then maybe the frogs come out, and then after that frogs die and there are gnats that gather. You could sort of see it. Plagues 7-9 have no such chronological or conceptual connection.

We also have the issue of the magicians. If this is just seasons changing and the water turning over and looking sort of reddish, why and how did the magicians do the same by their secret arts? No, it’s sheer speculation, meant to make the plagues seem more plausible, but there are no evidences of it in the text. Now, could God have used the natural processes of the river, the seasons, death, larvae, etc.? He certainly could have. But according to the Bible, Moses thought the plagues were directly from the hand of God. So did the magicians—and eventually, so did Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

The Point of the Plagues

Look at Exodus 7:17:

17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord…
 (Exodus 7:17a)

Haven’t we seen this several times already? It begins with Moses asking the question: “Who are you?” “I am.” “Who should I say sent me to your people?” “Tell them I am that I am.” Pharaoh says to Moses, “Who is this God? I don’t know Him.” The point of the plagues and of the book is to reinforce again and again this central, relentless message. “I am the Lord and there is no other. Listen to Me.”

I have to stop for a minute. Many of us are familiar with this part of the Bible. We’ve seen movies or pictures in a children’s book depicting the plagues of Egypt. For some of us, it’s just another story that we’ve been told most of our life. You learn about Adam and Eve, about Moses, about the plagues, about George Washington, and about Santa Claus. You learn about a lot of stories.

You have to think: “Did this really happen?” Did Aaron take a staff (an ordinary stick that God was using for extraordinary purposes), lift it up, and the whole Nile river (and all the pools and tributaries throughout the land of Egypt) turned to blood with a sharp, pungent iron smell, and the aroma of the decaying putrefied fish was in all the land?

Have you ever been to Lake Michigan where some of those fish wash up on shore? You have that part of the season where you go out there and have to sort of jump over a bunch of dead things as you go there. It’s a smell that happens from time to time. This is throughout the whole land. Do you think this really happened? Because if it didn’t happen, you think, “Well, this is a story that the Israelites told themselves. It was just of one of those things. It was a weird summer with the Nile. It did some strange things.” We’d have to set this aside and say, “Okay, this is a nice story, but this is not authoritative.” But if you say, “Yes, this really happened just as God’s Word tells us that it happened,” then we have to face up to an even more disturbing question: are you reconciled with this Lord God?

Throughout these next sermons, I encourage and urge you to think to yourself (as I think to myself) and be honest. Are you listening, or are you hardening? Is God getting through to you like He did to Moses, even though there are doubts and questions? Or are you shutting God out like Pharaoh tried to do? He’s getting through to me.

Brothers and sisters, this really happened. The first of these plagues signifies to Pharaoh, and to all the Egyptians if they had ears to hear and eyes to see, that YHWH is the Lord. The destruction of Pharaoh, the desecration of Egypt, and the deliverance of Israel starts with the defilement of their most precious natural resource: their water.

As I said, we are not yet at the level of widespread destruction. As bad as this was, the contamination of the water supply lasted for a week. You see in verse 25 that seven full days passed. Now, during the time, they are forced to dig wells along the banks of the Nile. That’s what verse 24 means. They could not drink the water of the Nile. That’s where they normally got their water, so they are scrambling, trying to find something below the surface that would bring up some water uncontaminated with blood. It’s bad. It’s quite bad, but it’s going to only get worse.

This was the proverbial shot across the bow. “Are you listening? Are you paying attention?” Certainly it would have been a scene of some panic, frustration, massive inconvenience, and disgust for this week as the water turned to blood.

Somebody said to me this morning, “Doesn’t it seem like winter always comes on Sundays?” It does seem to come on Sundays. Thank you all for being here. As you’re looking here at me, I can look out there, and it’s quite pretty. Do you remember just two years ago when we had the worst winter we’ve had in a hundred years? You remember that? Some of you were without power for days, weeks, or longer than a week. It was a mess. Our house, just over here, didn’t lose power like everyone around us . It was like a little pastor bubble. I don’t know what happened, but we didn’t lose power. But the church lost power. Do you remember? We had a Christmas Eve service with candlelight, and we needed the candlelight. It was dark, cold, and we had our coats on. Some of you had the inconvenience of being without electricity for a long stretch of time, but even then you could find a parent or a grandparent somewhere else in town or another part of the state, or you could find a hotel somewhere that you could stay at. You could go somewhere to get warm.

This is sort of like that, except it happened in the whole entire country. There was no place to go for relief. It completely threw a wrench into the way their whole lives operated. We could think of water, our water supply, but imagine something else we depend on. Think of gas. If the Lord struck us with a plague, and all of the gasoline in Michigan turned to curdled milk, you’d fill up your car to this putrefying stench. I’m not a mechanic, but I’m guessing that milk is not good for your car. Some of you can clarify if that’s true or not afterward. I don’t think it has any corn in it. You’d ruin your vehicles. You’d ruin your equipment. You’d mess up your infrastructure. You wouldn’t know what you’re going to do. Everything would grind to a halt.

That’s what was happening there. Fish was their staple. They didn’t have any fish. Water, of course, you need to live. They don’t have water. Imagine what it would have been like as they saw it happen.  It might take just a few minutes for people to start thinking, “Wait a second. I’m parched. I’m thirsty. What am I going to drink? Where are we going to find water?”

The stench of the fish reminds us of the complaint made in chapter 5. Do you remember this? You can turn back for just a moment to Exodus 5:21. Remember, Moses comes. He’s the deliverer. When he goes into Pharaoh, Pharaoh makes things worse for them. He says, “Okay, you’re lazy and trying to get off from your work. Alright! You still have to make bricks. No straw!” The people were upset:

21 and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
(Exodus 5:21)

“You’ve made us a stench to Pharaoh.” That’s what the Israelites were saying. “Moses, you’re going to make us stink to Pharaoh.” And Moses said, “You’re right, but not in the way you think. You’re afraid of this Pharaoh—afraid that if we get Pharaoh mad at us, everything’s is over. No. We’ll stink to Pharaoh. We’ll stink up the high heavens with Pharaoh. That’s all part of the plan.”

We think we know better than God. We all do this all the time. We try to tell God what to do, and God loves to find ironic ways to turn even our unbelief into an opportunity for His faithfulness. It’s almost comical. The people, just a few days or weeks ago, were frantically panicking. “God, what are you doing? Why’d you bring Moses and Aaron? This is making everything terrible—our most horrible, no-good, worst day ever! We’re going to be a stench.” God says, “Okay, settle down. Listen. You’re right about that stink thing, but you’re wrong in thinking that I don’t know what I’m doing. Yeah, you’ll be a stench. There’s going to be a smell throughout Egypt. It’s all part of my plan.”

How often we think we know what God is doing. When we start to connect the dots, we say, “Oh, wait a second, God. If what you’re doing is true, then I’m going to have to move, or my life is going to change, or somebody’s going to be upset with me, or I’ll stand out in my class. You know, Lord, if You do that, I’m going to stink!”

Have you ever considered that it may be God’s great purpose in your life that you stink? It was for Israel and Egypt. “We’re going to stink!” “Yeah, you’ll be a stench. Now sit back, watch, relax, and trust. I’ve got a purpose, even in the stink.” This was not some cheap trick. This was not like dropping Easter Egg dye into a small puddle—or one of those little bathtub fizzy things that you put in that turns the water all manner of colors.

The Victory of YHWH Over False Gods

You see in verses 19-21 the repetition of the word, “all”.

19 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
20 Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
(Exodus 7:19-21)

One of the questions that people often ask—and it is a curious question—is that if all of the water had turned to blood, where did the magicians get their water to do the trick of turning that water into blood? We don’t know, but somehow it happened. Maybe this was a process—it didn’t happen like this, but in a process over hours and days. The water all turned to blood, but they still brought some out and had some tucked away in their cupboards.

Or it’s possible that verse 19 could be translated differently. It says in the ESV:

…there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
(Exodus 7:19b)

That makes it sound like even every little thing tucked away in their cupboards had blood. But the word ‘vessels’, ‘buckets’, or ‘jars’, however you understand it, is not actually in the Hebrew. It’s supplied here because most people think that when it says, ‘the wood’ and ‘the stone’ that it’s talking of wood vessels or stone vessels. Interestingly, the Greek Septuagint translates it that there was blood everywhere, even in the trees and in the stones. Some people believe that that could be a reference to the remote areas: even among the hills, even in the forest, and even in the rocky crags of the desert, the water had turned to blood. Some people think that it’s a reference to the buildings, because that’s how buildings were often described: even inside the wooden and stone buildings, water had turned to blood. Some people think it’s a reference to their gods, because that’s the language throughout the Old Testament—and even in some Egyptian material—referring to deities of wood and stone: as they had to care for their idols, perform their oblations, and wash their statues, they had to do so with contaminated water that had turned to blood. In any event, the point is that YHWH has thoroughly transformed all the exposed water in Egypt into this fish-killing, stink-smelling blood.

Now I mentioned earlier (verse 15) that Moses was to meet Pharaoh in the morning. I thought it was sort of humorous that one commentary—some of you will appreciate this—made the point that “Pharaoh is a morning person”. “Things terrible and things tremendous happen early in the morning. For Pharaoh, early in the morning turns out to be a mess. For the women at the empty tomb, early morning turns out to be a miracle.” If you’re looking for, “Hey, this is why I got to get up early,” the women at the tomb. If you think, “Look, I’m a night person. I’m going to sleep until 10,” you can always say, “Look what happened to Pharaoh when he got up early in the morning.” There’s a little excuse for you.

Why was Moses to go out to Pharaoh? It says, “…as he is going out to the water…”. There’s a purpose here: to meet Pharaoh at the moment where he’s reaching the Nile, the natural resource that Moses and Aaron are about to transform. Why was he going to the water? One of two reasons—perhaps both—could be bathing. Remember that earlier (chapter 2), the pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the Nile. That may be what he was doing, although there isn’t a lot of evidence of people bathing in the rivers. In fact, in the ancient world, there is not a lot of evidence of people bathing, but perhaps that’s what he was doing. Or, just as likely, he could be performing some early morning ritual to his god or goddess. This would certainly fit with one of the major themes in the ten plagues: namely, that the plagues represent the victory of YHWH, the one and true living God, over all of the false gods of the Egyptians. We’re going to see this week after week.

The world was divided into three realms: the earth, above the earth, under the earth. You see that same kind of language in Genesis. You even see it later in Philippians.

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…
(Philippians 2:10)

It’s sort of the classic way of understanding our realm. You have the earth, the sky, and the sea or under the earth. What we’ll see is that the plagues are going to affect each of these realms: things falling and raining from the sky, and darkness and hail; across the earth with boils, insects, gnats, and the death of livestock; and even under the earth, the waters of the seas, and the river Nile.

Numbers 33:4, looking back, says:

while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments.
(Numbers 33:4)

Even in Numbers, while they are wandering in the wilderness, looking forward to the Promised Land, they recognize that what the Lord had done was execute justice upon their gods.

We think of the Exodus as a way in which God set free His people, which He did. But just as significantly, it was to show not just “Can I set you free?” but “I have power and authority, unlike any of your so-called gods and goddesses.”

There were a number of gods associated with the Nile, as you might imagine: Osiris, Nu, and (most famously) a god named Hapi. The Egyptians called the Nile River by this divine name, Hapi. This is not because I’m any great Egyptologist or scholar, but you could look online or in any reputable books, and you can see that there are a number of hymns that the ancient Egyptians would sing to the Nile. There are prayers to the Nile, and there is much mention of this god, Hapi, who was a male/female hermaphrodite. Pictures of this god are with the face of a man, a beard, breasts, and a pregnant stomach. This god/goddess was thought to reproduce on its own and produce a watery abundance, so that, in the annual flooding, it was thought the Nile gave birth, just as Hapi had given birth and nourished the entire nation with the water overflowing from the Nile. This is how they understood the divinization, the deification of their most precious natural resource, the longest river in the world, the Nile. It was surely not lost on them.

You know, maybe this isn’t the right kind of analogy, but there was a reason why planes crash into the Twin Towers, or the Pentagon, or one was supposed to make it to the White House. These are symbols of American strength, prosperity, government, and finance—what we value. The sort of things that tourists want to see. The sort things that represent who we are as a country. So you strike there.

It’s not at all coincidence. The Lord begins with these ten plagues by striking at the Nile itself, screaming. Perhaps He was speaking in a voice that would grow to a yell at Pharaoh if only he had ears to hear, “I am the Lord. Look at your Nile, your god. Osiris, Nu, Hapi—this god you worship, present offerings to, sing hymns to, pray to—what is this god? I’ve turned this god into blood like that, with a stick and two men, one of whom was just wandering in Midian for forty years and couldn’t cut it as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”

Then the magicians do the same thing—or at least, they sort of do the same thing. Did you ever notice here that whatever these secret arts—some sort of Satanic power, I think—they only have the power of imitation? Satan is an imitator. He’s an accuser and an imitator. He tries to take what God would do and say, “Look, I can do that!” Do you notice the irony? Their magicians, doing the same thing by their secret arts, haven’t succeeded in solving the problem, but only in making it worse. “You think you can turn the whole Nile into blood? We’ve got a jar of water and look at that! It’s blood!” Moses and Aaron say, “Great, that was your last drink. So smart!”

They don’t have any power to solve. They have no power to save. There is a real power. It’s a dangerous and power. It’s a power to imitate, pervert, and deceive, but never to save. Verse 24 is striking:

24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.
(Exodus 7:24)

What a picture of desperate times and dashed hopes. Here they are, left to scrounge for life when their gods proved impotent. This is what always happens with idols. Your idols let you down. Your gods fail you. You know that you have made something into an idol when it feels as if the whole world has been destroyed when it lets you down. It could be the kind of house you wanted, the car you wanted to drive, the sports team you wanted to win, the relationship you wanted to happen, the kids you wanted to make all of your dreams come true, or any number of good things. The Nile was a good thing, but they turned it into a god. If you turn any good thing in your life into a god, that god will let you down—your best friend, your spouse, the water of life. Not the Water, but the water.

So you have a picture here of the Egyptians: they’re angry, frustrated, despondent, and in despair. Their gods have not come through for them. The scene ends with people frantically scurrying about the banks of the Nile. “Could we find some ground water here so that we don’t die?” Our gods always let us down.

The Lord is proving a point.

“By this you shall know that I am the Lord…
(Exodus 7:17a)

Two New Testament Scenes

Let me finish with two scenes from the New Testament. Perhaps you’ve had one of them in your mind. The one that you may not have had is from Revelation 16. Let me read it to you. This is the seven bowls of God’s wrath.

3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,
      “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
            for you brought these judgments.
      6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
            and you have given them blood to drink.
      It is what they deserve!”
7 And I heard the altar saying,
      “Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
            true and just are your judgments!”
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
(Revelation 16:3-9)

This is a symbolic picture of the Lord’s judgment, drawn from the imagery of this first plague. Whether it’s meant to be seen in a literal fulfillment, or it’s drawing upon that literal history to present a picture of what it will be like, we know that the experience of judgment will be just as real and terrifying.

God is gracious to give warnings of the judgment to come, both personally, corporately, and universally. Remember the story in Luke’s gospel about the tower of Siloam falling? They say, “Why did this happen?” Pilate, also killed these people and mixed a sacrifice with their blood. “Why are all of these bad things happening in the world, Jesus?” And Jesus, who could be so unsentimental, said, “Listen, unless you repent, the same thing is going to happen to you.”

Was He necessarily saying that there is a one-to-one correspondence? That bad things are happen in your life because you sinned? “Here’s something bad happening in your country. You must be sinners.” That’s pretty hard to navigate, but we are always right to see, in whatever calamity we witness, an invitation to repent. The Lord here, in Revelation, is warning us: “This whole water to blood thing? I can do that again. Do you have ears to hear me? Will you repent and give me glory or are you just another Pharaoh with your hard heart?”

“No, I’m not Pharaoh.” Well, De Nile ain’t just a river, you know. They did not repent and give him glory. Is God trying to tell you something? Warning you? Bringing you to your knees, to the end of yourself, and to the pit? Is He bringing you to the point of utter brokenness and despair over your ability to figure this out? He’s warning you! Will you repent, or are you like Pharaoh? Every time God breaks you is just another opportunity to thumb your nose at God.

There’s one scene from the New Testament, but here’s another. It’s one that John also wrote about. The same John who wrote Revelation wrote about a little different transformation. The story begins like this:

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
(John 2:1-3)

You know what Jesus did? He turned that water into wine. I’d like to think it was red wine. It wasn’t blood. The God of judgment, who pours out His wrath upon the wicked by turning the water into blood, is also the God of mirth and mercy who pours out the very best for His guests. Even the water turned into wine. Will you welcome this God? It’s not bad God and good God, but one God who is just and merciful, slow to anger, but Who will by no means clear the guilty who have unbelief and wickedness. Will you follow, welcome, and feast with this God? Remember, Moses and Aaron were saying, “We’ve got to go out in the wilderness, because we’ve got to worship, dine with, and have a feast with this God.” “No!” Jesus says, “Here I am. I’m ready to eat with you and drink with you. I’ll give you the best wine you’ve ever had.”

Our God is a God of signs and wonders. Will you experience the plagues, or will you repent and give Him glory? We will all drink from the cup of the Lord—some to their destruction and some to their delight.