I confess, it's hard for me to reconcile the God who sent His Only Son to die for our sins with the God who sent forth an angel of death to take the lives of the firstborn sons of Egypt. Tomorrow's chapter will tie the two events together, but today we're left with this very short chapter that outside the context of the entirety of God's Word is heartbreaking.
One thing that stands out to me is the inclusion of the firstborn of the cattle. Notice that this plague doesn't impact all their livestock as some of the previous plagues did.
Why the cattle?
Knowing a little about the religious beliefs of Pharaoh and the Egyptians of this timeframe is important to understanding this chapter. Egyptians worshipped the image of a bull, Apis, and associated the image with wealth, fertility, and prosperity. In slaughtering the first born of the cattle, God was striking at the heart of their pagan worship and demonstrating that He alone is God and worthy of all our worship. In fact, some scholars link each of the plagues to a specific false god worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.
It's an important connection as God illustrates His sovereignty over every single idol we choose to put in His place. He is greater than our wealth, more powerful than political clout, more fulfilling than romantic love, and more satisfying than a successful career.
This week I am seeking to worship God with every single moment. His blessings are beyond imagining, His love is infinite and fills every need. All our cheap imitations crumble before His majesty.