TODAY’S READING: Exodus 7–9
Superhero and superpower showdowns enthrall us because the fate of the world is at stake and huge egos and weapons collide before our eyes in the struggle for supremacy. But they’re all child’s play compared to the show that went down in Egypt. The god of Egypt defies the God of heaven and it becomes a throw down. The plagues dramatize the politics of power better than any movie or missile crisis. Christopher Wright puts it this way:
Israel’s primary source of knowing YHWH to be the one true and living God (the God) was their experience of his grace in historical acts of deliverance. But those acts of deliverance for Israel meant judgment on their oppressors. These enemies too would come to know God but they would know him as the God of justice who could not be resisted with impunity… The exodus narrative has as its major plot, of course the deliverance of Israel from their oppression under Pharaoh. It also has as its major sub-plot, however, the massive power encounter between YHWH, the God of Israel, and Pharaoh, king (and god) of Egypt—and all the other gods of the Egyptians. The trigger for this subplot is the fateful refusal of Pharaoh to recognize YHWH as having any jurisdiction in his territory.
Pharaoh sticks his tongue out at God saying in Exodus 5:2: “Who is the Lord [Jehovah]… I do not know the Lord [Jehovah], nor will I let Israel go!” Pharaoh claims he does not know who God is, therefore he will not obey. God takes up the thrown gauntlet and proceeds to educate Pharaoh with a series of power encounters. The lessons and plagues ascend in both importance and inconvenience: The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord [Jehovah]; [so] that you may know there is no one like the Lord [Jehovah] our God; in order that you will know that I am Lord [Jehovah] in the midst of the land; [so] that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth; and for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth (7:5,17; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16). Jehovah emphatically demonstrates that He has all jurisdiction (power and authority) in Egypt and in all the earth among all peoples.
Jehovah clearly wanted Pharaoh, all kings, and all of us to know that the reason for all this power being flung around was that His name may be proclaimed in all the earth. Wright writes succinctly: “Clearly, the motivation from God’s point of view was not only the liberation of his enslaved people, but this driving divine will to be known to all nations for who and what he truly is. The mission of God, to be known, is what drives this whole narrative.” Any power we have, then—whether power of wealth, power of intellect, power of persuasion, power of time, power of creativity, or any other power—must diligently be used to make Jehovah known, glorified, and worshiped by every tribe, tongue, and people in all the earth.
 Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 93.
 Ibid, 95.