Welcome to the thirteenth day of our journey together preparing our hearts for Passover! I’m so glad you are here! Please share your thoughts in the comments and respond respectfully to others’ comments! My earnest prayer is that we will find community and learn from each other on this journey!
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Day 13: Darkness
To begin the ninth plague, Moses again reached out his hand, but this time Pharaoh received no warning. A darkness so thick it could be felt descended over the entire land of Egypt for three days. They couldn’t see each other or even move about for three days. But YHWH’s people still had light in their homes. Again, He made a distinction between the Egyptians and His own people.
It would seem that this was no ordinary darkness; otherwise, they would have been able to light lanterns and carry on, at least as much as a normal night. Many scholars believe this was a desert sandstorm because of the descriptions of it descending and being thick enough to be felt. Whether it was an extremely severe natural phenomenon or a supernatural darkness, the effects were the same, and we, the readers, are clearly supposed to be focused on the darkness rather than its cause. Egypt was completely immobilized for three days as they physically experienced the depths of the spiritual darkness of their land.
This plague was obviously an attack on the most well-known and most favored god of the Egyptians – the sun god – who was worshipped as the creator of all things, the giver of life, and the father of Pharaoh, among other things. Here was yet another false deity receiving credit for creating and sustaining life, and YHWH would not leave it unchallenged. By blotting out the sun without warning, YHWH showed that it was, in fact, a created thing and not a creator. YHWH was in complete control of the sun and actually had no need of it. Because He Himself is light (I John 1:5), His people had light in their homes!
In the creation account of Genesis 1, different Hebrew words are used for the light YHWH created on the first day and the lights (sun, moon, and stars) He created on the fourth day. The word used for the light the Israelites had in their homes during this ninth plague is the same one used for what He made on the first day. It was a light that was not dependent on the sun but that emanated from YHWH Himself!
As we look into our own lives, it is easy to see that we are a people who value enlightenment, both physical and metaphorical, but do we place a higher value on the Source of Light or on lights that He created? Is it His Word that is lighting our paths (Psalm 119:105) or the advice and expectations of others? Are we turning to YHWH to light up our darkness (Psalm 18:28) or do we look to others for encouragement, strength, and understanding? Let’s be sure we are relying on YHWH, the Source of Light, and not giving too much credit to anything He made to be a conduit of His light to us.