Exodus 9:8-12 (NKJV)
So the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
All the Egyptian gods of medicine, particularly Imhotep, are powerless to do anything about the boils. Imhotep is especially interesting because he had been a real person. Will Durant, in his authoritative reference on world history, “The Story of Civilization” says of Imhotep, “He did so much for Egyptian medicine that later generations worshiped him as a god of knowledge, author of their sciences and their arts; and at the same time he appears to have founded the school of architecture which provided the next dynasty with the first great builders in history.”
But the big story here isn’t about the Egyptian gods. With them mostly debunked, the plagues are starting to move on. Notice how they’re getting more unpleasant and more personal. The magicians cannot even stand before Moses. Did they kneel, crawl, what? This must have been a painful moment for them, figuratively as much as literally.
By dismantling the Egyptian deities, the LORD established the point of all this – YHVH is the one true God. That theme remains, but now He’s cranking up the volume by attacking the Egyptians personally. The Egyptian Gods are still mocked as useless, since they can’t protect the Egyptians from the plagues.
When you can’t even stand up, the message starts to come in loud and clear.
The Egyptians were told why they were being afflicted. We rarely are. That makes suffering worse.
This is especially true for illness. Being sick feels like being punished, but that’s not it. Thus, we should ask the great physician for healing. We should also pray for emotional comfort. If you know someone struggling with illness, ask the LORD to encourage them and give them peace.
However, it’s a mistake to leave it at that. Part of caring is being there. Being sick is lonely. Friends need to call and show up. Sick people may need help with chores, shopping or cooking, but they mostly need someone to talk to. Emotional support enhances healing too.
Be the friend who makes a difference.
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