Those are the words my Bible uses when explaining how the Pharoah’s magicians did the same ‘tricks’ as God did through Moses.
It’s interesting to replace ‘secret arts’ with the name of who was really behind the magician’s powers – Satan. It’s always a battle of good versus evil and most of those battles are fought in the spiritual realm. This one was very visible on earth.
It started when Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharoah and it became a snake. Pharoah’s magicians did the same thing with their staffs with Satan’s help.
But here’s a twist – Aaron’s snake swallowed up the other snakes. In the writing world, we would call this foreshadowing – this is how the whole battle is going to go. God is all-powerful, Satan is not.
Even after his snakes are eaten right in front of him, Pharoah remained stubborn and unmoved. That’s just who he was.
Next, God changed the Nile into blood. (Yuck!) But then Pharoah’s magicians did the same thing – again with Satan’s help.
Of course, Pharoah’s heart remained hard and stubborn.
So God sent a plague of frogs which covered the ground as well as the insides of their houses. Once again, Satan helped Pharoah’s magicians do the same thing.
Pharoah’s stubborn refusal to let the Israelites go continued, so God sent a plague of gnats. But – get this. The magicians were unable to produce gnats.
What happened, Satan? Run out of steam?
Or did the Creator of the Universe get tired of playing your games and shut you down?
Suddenly, Satan no longer replies but we read the deadly result of his continued whispers into Pharoah’s ear. Pharoah’s heart becomes more and more stubborn so God ups his response with the next plague of flies.
Do you notice? Now the plagues start to only affect the Egyptians, not God’s people. The 9th plague of darkness is truly amazing to me. The land was in total darkness – they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces – except God’s people. The light still shone down on the people of Israel.
I feel that is true today. Our world can be such a dark and confusing place – full of disappointment and heartbreak. Only God brings true light into the darkness.
We can fool ourselves into thinking that money or recognition or a relationship with the right person brings light. But all of those will eventually feel empty – ‘is this all there is’ – without God.
Have we figured this out yet? Our lives will be ‘plagued’ by darkness until we put God in the center.
Thank you for being ‘The Light of the World”, Jesus.