Ellison's (1982) contends that the real victims of the plagues brought upon Egypt were Egypt's nature gods. They were increasingly shown to be powerless to protect their worshippers. They could not stand before Israel's God, Yahweh.
But why should God cause such destruction? Weren't there easier ways for him to show Israel that they were his people and that he would not back down on his promises?
I doubt whether I could answer that question satisfactorily but I can see that in our current times, God is having trouble catching our attention. Increasingly God or the notion of a god is being discarded in modern society. We are able to cope and build our own future but is that really true.
What did we learn from the 9/11 attack on the twin towers? Is there a message for us in the current collapse of the financial markets?
Surely the 9/11 attack shows us that we are not building harmony in the world. Some groups still feel disadvantaged and that their way of life is under threat. Groups which are called terrorists are able to recruit in western nations from people who feel oppressed or forgotten by the western systems. Is it possible that in the so called terrorist activity that there is a message for us about the need to hear and change? In arrogance, western leaders have stood up and condemned the attacks and sought to bring to judgement any who might be linked with the terrorist groups. Where is the desire to hear the pain and hurt of people who feel rejected and neglected? There is a hardening of the heart to stand against all that might threaten the western way of life.
Now there is the financial meltdown. This isn't an attack from outside but rather an attack from within. The western financial systems were superior to any other options. They brought wealth and independence. Now their foundations are shaking and the attempts to bail them out are struggling to make a difference. Governments speak of needing to support the system because our survival depends on these systems. If the financial systems collapse, the western style of life is under threat once more.
Are we seeing misplaced confidence in man made systems? Are we seeing just how much we need to be shaken? Is God trying to deliver us a message and are we not hearing?
Egypt depended on its nature gods. They were challenged and found wanting. Israel time and time again needed to be challenged to hear God as it became comfortable and took on the ways of the people that surrounded it.
God continues to try and get our attention but are we listening. What have we placed our confidence in instead of trusting in him and hearing the path that he would have us take? How many gods have we put in place that need to be shown as ineffective before we will turn again and listen to God's message?
The prophets may not be calling from the roof tops warning us of dangers of the path that we have chosen but the signs are there that we have misplaced our faith and that we need to hear again God's call for our lives.
Ellison, H. L. (1982). Exodus. Edinburgh: The Saint Andrews Press.