Suppose you left your place of birth and lived elsewhere for a long time. How would you like to go back home and destroy it so that God's will be done?
God's initial instructions to Moses were simple: Tell Pharaoh to let my people take a three-day's journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice. The request was liturgical, not political. But when we let the things of this world cloud our will and understanding, we begin to see them in our own image: deceitful, evil, dangerous. Pharaoh did not hear liturgy; he heard laziness, an indication, perhaps of his own slothfulness. His suspicion led him to see ill-intent where there were none and his tyranny increased.
God's first seven plagues were signs; signs to Pharaoh. These were acts of God's mercy towards Egypt. He needed Pharaoh to recognize his humanity, reject his claim of the godhead and bow down to the Lord.
But Pharaoh saw a challenge, a battle of wills, a test of endurance. Pity how we often pile-up grief upon grief on ourselves and our loved ones when we try to impose our will on the Divine Will. Centuries later, the Son of Man will tell his contemporaries, "you have eyes and you do not see, you have ears and you do not hear."
In this lecture, we study the first seven plagues, and as we see God inflicting these terrible punishments on Egypt we cannot help but ask ourselves a simple question: If I were Pharaoh, what would have I done? What am I doing today?