We have reached that unsettling point in the plague where those things we held up as lights against the darkness have started to flicker and threaten to swallow their own flames.
The old Egyptians allowed their Pharaoh to rule absolutely and without any fear of censure. When faced with an invisible deity that came from some place else, he just shrugged and told his people that there was nothing in the universe that could reach beyond his own powers.
So when the Hebrew god sent the first of his plagues against him, he just rode it out, made a few promises that he never intended to keep, then returned to normal. He wasn’t expecting the Hebrew god to be so persistent and certainly wasn’t thinking so far into the future that he could possibly face another nine of the blights to be sent against him. The people of Egypt were lucky to have him in power or they would have possibly faced a world extinction event. No matter how bad it became , the Pharaoh would ride it out. No matter how many of his people died, he would still survive. No matter how unrelenting the pestilences became, he would spin the tables and convince his people that all would be well; for him anyway.
And so the Hebrew god summoned the great dreads from the bottom of his being and showered them on the pyramid builders. Water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock diseases, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the killing of firstborn children, that god just had it all. God was teaching the ancient Egyptians a lesson about justice, and when they refused to do the right thing and free the Israelites, they suffered the consequences. And it’s that bit that is important here. There was a lesson to be taught and a lesson to be learnt.
At the start of our own plague, some sections of humanity were almost welcoming its arrival. ‘This is a wake-up call’ they were saying. Countries had been forced to participate in unilateral agreements not to pollute the earth any longer. The planet had been put on pause and was given a chance to renew itself. Air was fresher, water less polluted, wildlife returning. All this took was a devastating pandemic, one that some people possitively denied existed.
Watching the rebirth of the planet gave others a glimpse of hope, a possibility of what might be if we dropped the ways of old. For the Egyptions, giving up God’s chosen, as a free power-source, was hard but the lesson was going to be delivered anyway, and people had to die during the course of it. Normality was suspended until some degree of progress had been seen to be made.
Let’s imagine that the same God is in charge of the classroom today. He/she has a lesson planned that is intended to teach the group the error os their ways. Learning objectives may be:
- Treat everybody fairly and don’t enslave others;
- Understand that there is no such thing as a free power-source;
- Be aware of warnings and see them when they come;
- Don’t trust those who tell you that life is easy and that they have all the answers;
- Appreciate that life is fragile, all life, and that includes our planet;
- The land of milk and honey is a metaphor;
- Wake up, smucks!