For the past couple of weeks we have been looking at this idea of “serving our own gods”; what it might mean to us, and if indeed we really are serving our own gods.
Today, let’s dive into what the results of doing so would be, based on precedent. The most vivid example to me, would be that of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt in 1446 BC.
After 80 years under the oppression of Pharaoh Thutmose III (aka, The Napoleon of Egypt), there was a show-down between the gods of Egypt and Jehovah God, of the Jews.
In this show-down, smack-down, Egypt’s gods of earth, sky and health were confronted, as displayed by what is referred to as The 10 Plagues of Egypt. According to ancient writings, the purpose was three-fold:
- opportunity to repent
- divine judgment
In the end we see that in fact the plagues did discredit the false gods of Egypt and reveal each one as absolutely powerless. But, I digress.
First, let’s remember that these Jews, for decades had believed that Jehovah existed, but they did not believe He could set them free. They questioned His power and love for them, after what seemed to be an eternity (80 years) of unanswered prayers for help and deliverance. The Jews saw themselves in bondage and servitude all the while they saw what appeared to be the provision of the gods upon the Egyptians, ie: the Nile overflowed, the crops grew, the sun shined and their families were growing because children kept coming to them.
Where was Jehovah’s provision for THEM? His seeming absence was noted by the Egyptians too. What god would allow his people to be oppressed by enemies? Certainly that god was no god at all, many Egyptians must have believed. Look how our gods bless us!
When the Patriarch went before the Pharaoh and told him to release the Jews so they could go and worship Jehovah, Pharaoh’s response was –
Who is the Lord? I don’t know him.”Exodus 5:2 ESV
There were many gods in Egypt that were worshipped, but Jehovah was not one of them and was not even recognized by Pharaoh. Hence, the show-down ensues.
Multiple times the eighty year old Patriarch, and his eighty-three year old brother go before Pharaoh saying, “The Lord says, “Let my people go so that they may worship me in the wilderness.”” And multiple times their request is denied by Pharaoh. Even after a miraculous demonstration of a staff becoming a snake that eats up all the magicians staff/snakes. Exodus 7:1-13
What were the results of serving those Egyptian gods?
Plague #1 – The waters (of the Nile River, all ponds and lakes) are turned to blood. Exodus 7:14-25 This is the confrontation with and judement upon “Hapi” the Egyptian god of the Nile.
The Nile represented the commerce of Egypt. Egypt’s lifeblood. Everyone’s life was dependent on the Nile – for transportation, irrigation, drinking water, food and even setting the calendar. The Nile was worshipped as the Egyptian’s sustainer and creator. Along with Hapi, there were other gods associated with the Nile as well.
This blow to the Nile rendered their gods powerless. There was no escaping the blood instead of water. And even though Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate this miracle, they could not undo what Jehovah had done, nor the judgment He had brought to their culture.
Plague #2 – Frogs Exodus 8:1-15 This was a confrontation with “Heket”, the goddess of fertility.
Frogs were sent by Jehovah and they overran the entire nation. In the bedrooms, kitchens, ovens, kneading troughs. These annoying frogs were literally everywhere. And because frogs were a symbol of fertility and because they lived on land and in water they were considered sacred and could not be killed. Imagine, not being able to kill these invaders. But Jehovah did kill them in their houses, courtyards and fields. This plague also was copied by Pharaoh”s magicians.
Plague #3 Gnats Exodus 8:16-19 This dealt with “Geb” the god of the earth.
The dust of the earth was atruck by Aaron and it turned to gnats, or lice as another translation says. You know the power of lice. Once they land on your hair, they are all over, and these lice infected both man and beasts. Because the Egyptian priest’s duty was to perform purity rites, they were considered impure if they were infected with lice. Isn’t it interesting that now these priests could not even perform their rituals in the temples because of the lice on them. Perhaps that is why the priests confessed to Pharaoh, “THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD.” verse 19
Plague #4 Flies Exodus 8:20-32 Of course there is a fly god in Egypt, and this was to bring him down. He was “Uatchit”.
Although the flies invaded Egypt. and the smelly, decaying frogs and the bloody, deadly, fish were swarmed by them, this is the first time that God makes a distinction between His people living in Goshen and the rest of Egypt. In Goshen there were no swarms of flies.
Plague #5 Livestock die Exodus 9:1-7 The Egyptian god of cows was “Hathor” and this was his judgment.
All livestock – cows, horses, donkeys, camels, sheep and goats died. Every sacred cow the Egyptians had was now being judged by Jehovah God. BUT THE LIVESTOCK OF ISRAEL did not die.
As you can imagine, Egypt was in crisis. It was devestated. And remember, part of the reason for this is to give it’s people an opportunity to repent and turn to Jehovah. These plagues were not only judgments on their gods, but warnings to turn from serving their own gods and turn to Jehovah. What would have happened in Egypt had that happened? One can only guess.
But the plagues continued. Even after the priests declared this is the finger of God, Pharaoh and his people remained steadfast in their idolatry, hardening their hearts to the call on Jehovah.
Plague #6 Boils Exodus 9:8-12 Judgment of “Sekhmet” the goddess of medicine and peace.
With this health epidemic on both man and beast we are told “the magicians could no longer stand before Moses because of the boils.” v. 11
Plague #7 Hail Exodus 9:13-35 Judgment here was upon “Nut”, the goddess of the sky.
And with this historic thunder, lightening fires, and hailstorm, Pharaoh’s officials were divided into two groups: those who feared the word of the Lord and those who did not pay attention to the word of the Lord. The whole land was destroyed except for in the land of Goshen.
Plague #8 Locusts Exodus 10 1-20 The Egyptian diety “Serapia” whose jurisdiction was to protect from locusts was thoroughly defeated. The vegetation that remained in the land was eaten by invading locust armies.
At this point, even Pharaoh’s servants spoke up and pleaded with him to let Israel go because their whole land was ruined. v. 7
Plague #9 Darkness over the whole land Exodus 10:21-29 “Ra” the feared sun god of Egypt was targeted here.
This was a darkness that could be felt and it blanketed Egypt for 3 days and nights. They could not see their hand in front of their face and no one left their home for 3 days. However, all the people in Israel had light where they lived. v. 23
Through all of these plagues, Pharaoh never relented or released Israel to go and worship Jehovah outside of Egypt’s confines. Over and over we see Jehovah reminding Pharaoah and his cabinet through the voice of Aaron that
I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”Exodus 9:16 ESV
But Pharaoh remained firm and unchanging, choosing not to repent nor receive the Lord’s warnings. Therefore, there was a tenth and final plague.
Before the 10th plague, The Passover was instituted. Read Exodus 12 for the details. But a sacrificed lamb and it’s blood on the door posts of Israel’s homes provided a truly safe space for them during the 10th plague.
Plague #10 The death of the firstborn Exodus12:29-32 Judgment on all of the gods of Egypt, including Pharaoh himself who was considered a god by his people.
No family was exempt from this devestating death blow, from the palace to the poor, wailing was heard at midnight, when the death angel passed over every home, looking for the blood of the lamb. Those homes without the lamb’s blood on the door, were smitten with their firstborn child being killed. The firstborn represented judgment on Pharaoh’s rising leaders and his kingdom. This death blow was excruciating.
Pharaoh now knew Jehovah God and His power. The people of the land also knew His power and might. And the Israelites worshipped Him in fear and greatfulness. Pharaoh sent them away from Egypt to “serve the Lord”. And he added, “be gone, and bless me also!” v. 32
These plagues on the gods of Egypt did their job.
They warned all of the fearful, awesomeness of Jehovah God.
They provided anyone who wanted an opportunity to repent and believe in Jehovah God.
And they pronounced judgment on the gods of Egypt in an undeniable way.
Are the results of serving our own gods any different today than we see in this precedent from Israel?
I think not. The end game is still:
Warning to those who serve their own gods.
Opportunity to repent and turn to the Lord.
Because divine judgment will one day come upon all other gods.
This isn’t Egypt, but there are gods whom we have trusted in and the warning is powerfully clear. Let’s take action, because judgment is coming.
Learn Religions- What Are the Ten Plagues of Egypt; Mary Fairchild 6.2020
Got Questions,org, What’s the meaning and purpose of the 10 plagues of Egypt
BibleCharts.com, The Ten Plagues of Egypt
The Ten Plagues: God’s Judgment and His Mercy
The Holy Bible
2 thoughts on “Results of Serving Our Own gods”
Trouble, challenges, pain, suffering, grief, transition, change and renewal come to us all. Some seasons of life are more enjoyable than others. Thank you for being a source of light, encouragement and comfort to humanity when they are suffering, grieving and transitioning. I pray God Almighty supernaturally brings deliverance to all of us in our area and place of need to lift us up to where we belong to live freely and happily to glorify Him daily. ~ Paul from https://PropheticPowerShift.com/
@Paul- Thank you for the encouragement. May God continue to use you in all He has called you to and unite us all to burn brightly with the hope He brings in this dark world.