Power over All Power

Alec Motyer

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“. . . there is no one like the Lord our God.” (8:10)

Moses’ first interactions with Pharaoh were designed to prove the Lord’s power over all the power of Egypt. They have the same message for us: “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The ancient pharaohs wore on their crowns a symbol, the uraeus, which was a cobra, raised up, ready to strike, deadly to every foe. It was a symbol of power. God’s message was obvious, then, when Aaron’s staff swallowed up the magicians’ staffs-turned-into-snakes (7:12). How gentle but plain was the Lord’s first approach; if only Pharaoh had listened (v. 13)! To open one’s heart to the word of God is the way both to enter blessing and to escape judgment.

The Lord next struck dramatically at Egypt’s most vaunted power. The Nile, worshiped as the life-giver, became instead the place of death (7:21) and the source of a disgusting fertility (8:3). Again, this was a mild judgment—discomfort in plenty, but no one was hurt or died. The message was surely all too clear: where Egypt felt most impregnable it was helpless before this great God of the Hebrews.

Very well then: live in the light of his unassailable power; live in obedience to his word.


Let me know, Lord, the immeasurable greatness of your power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:19-20)