Lent 2018: See the Lord's Salvation: Day 9

The Plagues Continue


Today's Text: Exodus 9:1-35, Exodus 10:1-29, Exodus 11:1-10, Deuteronomy 7:6-11, Romans 9:17

Scripture Reading: Exodus 9:1-35, Exodus 10:1-29, Exodus 11:1-10, Deuteronomy 7:6-11, Romans 9:17

As I write this, my small midwestern farm is covered in thin coat of frost. The fields lay fallow. The animals huddle close to the barn rather than roaming the brown, sparse pastures. It’s the dead center of winter, and frankly, I’m sick of it. The cold I can handle. The bare trees don’t bother me much. It’s the darkness that gets me. As endless blackness settles in before supper each evening, I find myself flipping every switch in the house.

We weren’t made to dwell in darkness.

Perhaps, as God’s plagues rose to a crescendo in the book of Exodus, we should not be surprised, that darkness came near the bitter end—

After their water supply was poisoned
After the frogs, gnats, and flies filled their homes
After their livestock died
After boils covered their bodies
After hail mixed with thunder
After locusts ate every leaf on every tree—

After all that, came the darkness. And not just any darkness: “A darkness to be felt” (Exodus 10:21). This was a physical darkness, one I imagine Egypt must’ve felt in her bones. I have felt this kind of oppressive darkness in my own life. I bet you have too.

Simply flip on the news, and the darkness of this world will wrap itself around you like an uncomfortable, scratchy blanket. Or standby as someone you love suffers with sickness, and feel the weight of darkness and fear that seem to seep into every fiber of your being. Watch marriages crumble around you, listen carefully as geopolitical leaders threaten to wipe each other off the globe—all while facing your own personal anxiety and sorrow.

As long as sin still exists among us and within us, we remain familiar with the plague of total darkness, feeling it in our bones too. Darkness, death, and sin force us to see our need for redemption. We must see our need before we can marvel in the grace of the gospel—the grace of Christ Jesus, who pushes back against all darkness.

“And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
- Revelation 22:5

Because of the ninth plague, the Egyptians huddled in paralyzing darkness for three whole days. They couldn’t have known it, but they were telling the first chapter of the greatest story ever told. As the Israelites gathered around the only light left in the land, they were foreshadowing the rest of the story.

Soon enough, Jesus, our Savior, would spend three days in utter darkness (Matthew 12:40). Dead and buried in a borrowed tomb, He would wait, just like the Egyptians did. This Lenten season helps us watch the horizon, waiting with holy expectation to remember the moment when the stone rolled away and the darkness was obliterated by light.

In this gap between the Resurrection and Christ’s return, we remain the keepers of the light. No longer held captive by the darkness, we gather around the beacon of hope that is Jesus. Without the suffocating darkness, we’d never turn toward the light. God used a hard-hearted Pharaoh and a series of unthinkable calamities to reveal His glory, to prove that there is no one like Him in all the earth (Exodus 9:14).  


Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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  • Clare Lafaele


  • I needed this today. I’m a week behind in reading because last week was the worst week of my life. My 15 year marriage is on the brink of collapse after discovering my husband’s emotional affair with one of my best friends. My life was plunged into utter darkness. And yet I believe that God can redeem. I choose to believe that He will restore and rebuild the broken places. I believe He will breathe life into our valley of dry bones. I didn’t expect this Lenten season to become one of actual darkness, but it has. And I am praying for God’s redemption and the dawning of a new, healthy season in my marriage when we will be stronger than before.

    • She Reads Truth

      We’re so sorry to hear this Brenda. We’re praying for you and are so grateful to have you a part of our community. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Sarah Johnson

      I’m heartbroken for you. But I know God can mend your heart. I would strongly recommend getting on the Focus on the Family website or app. They have some amazing resources, and podcast. I try to walk a few times a week, and listen to their podcasts. Time just for me, that no one is going to give to me. And that goes for you too. Get out there, get your blood moving, look at Gods amazing creations all around you, and listen to His wisdom! It’s pretty powerful!
      I pray you can make this time for yourself…

    • Meredith Jones

      Praying for you Brenda. God’s love is deep, and he wants to pour into you. Be expectant for how God’s glory will be revealed in this season, he wants to bless you!

    • Amanda

      Praying for you! A dear friend of mine went through this a few years ago. I can’t imagine.

  • Brittany Couch

    Withput the suffocating darkness we would never turn towards the light.

  • Rae Ann Smith

    Love this! I really need light in my life. I tell people all the time that I’m solar powered. I’m also God powered. When the darkness tries to steal my joy I take comfort in the arms of the light, Jesus. Beautiful post, thank you.

  • I pray that the Lord will use me today to be a light in a dark world. May every word and action point others to the cross.

  • Amanda Yancey

    That’s something I’m struggling with too!

  • Alex Jenks

    Loving the connection between the darkness the Egyptians faced and the darkness Jesus faced after his death and burial. God is the light and the only light we much move towards.

  • Sarabeth Segars

    While being around family dealing with a heartbreaking tragedy, I felt the darkness and utter sadness. This devotion spoke to my heart. As light-bearers, we reflect Christ’s beautiful light. Sometimes light is brilliant and blinding (showing His glory), sometimes it is harsh and hot (pointing out sin), and sometimes it is soft and warm (comforting). In all these ways, Christ’s light and love surrounds us.

  • Rachel Hamann

    Watch the Horizon. ❤

  • Mackenzie Lyons

    I needed to see this today as I and my family battle through a dark dark time, knowing and having faith that He will see us through. How lucky we are that Our Savior is the light at the end of every tunnel!

    • She Reads Truth

      We’re praying for you and your family Mackenzie. We’re so glad that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Tracy Sims

    Aman! Thank you Jesus for your light!

  • Micheala KovalchickHaynie

    I keep thinking about God asking Pharaoh how long it would be until he humbled himself? There were ten plagues. I just wonder how many tines God has tried to get my attention and teach me to humble myself and I’ve totally missed it? Wow…..

    • I thought the same thing. It was like a battle of pride.

    • Morgan Harris

      I felt so convicted by this as well. When reading the Bible I try to figure out who I would be in the story and place myself there. As much as I would like to be anyone else in this story, I am Pharoah. How many times have I been unable to give up control to God? Countless.

  • Caroline Odom

    Reminds me of Ellie Holcomb’s song, Marvelous Light:

    “So I walked out of the darkness and into the light,
    From fear of shame into the hope of life,
    Mercy called my name and made a way to fly,
    Out of the darkness and into the light!’

  • Taken out of darkness & into the light.

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    I sense so much darkness each and every day…on the news, in the people’s lives I serve as a palliative care social worker, in the lives of my friends and friends never met. I fear as the darkness deepens, our eyes adjust hardly noticing the sickness of the human heart without Christ.

  • Audrey Gonzalez

    Appreciate the connection made between the darkness plague and Christ’s death.
    I was amazed by the love God had for his people and how he kept those promises over generations. Continued to love them and take care of them.

  • God has been teaching me so much about His character through this study! Over the past couple of days, three major things have jumped out at me:

    1) God promises – He made a big promise in Exodus 6 to free the Israelites, but He also promised to bring each plague upon the Egyptians when Pharaoh didn’t listen. And when God promises, it always happens just as He has said! (Go back through chapters 7-9 and look at how often the phrase “just as the Lord had said” appears!)

    2) God plans – Our God is a God of order. He always has a plan for delivering His people. (Just look at how big His ultimate plan of redemption through Jesus was!) Exodus 9:5-6 reminded me today that God sets a time for what He plans to do, and He does it!

    3) God purposes – He always, always has a purpose. He reminded Moses constantly of His purpose for the plagues: to prove to both the Hebrews and the Egyptians that He alone is the living and all-powerful God (Exodus 9:13, 16; Exodus 10:2). Similarly, He has a greater purpose in every trial we go through.

    • Churchmouse

      I made note of your comment, Kristin and I’m praying that I pay attention to how God works in my life just as you have said.

    • Dayna Birkenfeld

      Loved this!!

    • Brooke Williams

      @Lexi I see it as a transposing of language—more meaning that Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord. And the Lord uses his hard heartedness to show his power, as the devotional mentions.

    • Brooke Williams

      Kristi, I love these 3 points you outlined here—glad you posted this!

  • Reading this has finally opened my eyes to how God truely selected the Israelites as his people. A set apart
    people who lived a hard hard life and God was always faithful. I’m thankful for Erin’s words, they reminded me that while sometimes these seem like stories, they are true life events that we can apply today! Praying for anyone going through that dark “3” day time, that you’re reminded it might not be now, but there is light coming.

  • Peony Noirr

    Powerful! ❤️

  • Rashana Wells

    Well said ❤️

  • Churchmouse

    The darkness of depression. Three days of darkness seem miniscule to those who suffer sometimes for years. Praying today for those who are desperate to see the Light that is Jesus. Jesus is there though you may not yet see Him. Do not despair. He knows. He sees. He cares. It takes great courage and strength to persevere. Pray that you will do just that until your sight beholds His Light.

    • Jhismery Jara

      Thank you so much. Your encouragement was needed at this very moment. Through my tears, your words spoke truth

  • ❤️

  • Jennifer Howell

    I always struggle with the darkness of winter, just a lull in my life. On that first, nearly Spring day, full of sunshine my soul is awakened. I am so glad I have the light of Jesus inside me and just need to remember that during the physical darkness as well as the dark seasons to come.

  • Paula White

    A beautiful way to pull this together and into our world.

  • Cathy Smouse


  • Mackenzie Clinger

    Beautiful. I think sometimes you have to embrace the darkness and the “suck” to fully realize how great God’s plan truly is for us. Sometimes being still in the darkness and reflecting is the best thing you can do.

  • Wow! I hadn’t noticed that before, in Exodus 10:22 “….and there was total darkness throughout Egypt for three days”. I love seeing these connections. Thank you for pointing it out.

  • Angela Sackett

    This weekend we watched a movie with neighbors that downplayed the wrath of God and offered a sort of mystical, mushy-gushy explanation of His goodness and grace. But I believe that it’s in wrestling through painfully difficult passages like that we begin to see the goodness of God, precisely through the lens of His wrath. We often ask “How can a good God allow evil?” But here we see maybe a wiser and more appropriate question – how can a good God NOT extend wrath at times on evil?” And in knowing this aspect of His character, our trust in Him and our hope for life can grow.

    • Deborah Craytor

      “We often ask ‘How can a good God allow evil?’ But here we see maybe a wiser and more appropriate question – ‘how can a good God NOT extend wrath at times on evil?'” What a helpful insight; thank you, Angela!

  • ” Without the suffocating darkness, we’d never turn toward the light.” I love this, so true for us to remember! It takes suffering, betrayal, sickness, etc. to turn our eyes to love, kindness, and to heaven. Sometimes we have to fall to our knees to really break and need God. People ask why do we have cancer, it is so hard…..but it makes people rally and NEED prayers, and help, and sacrifices to give to others. The old saying, we don’t know how good we have it, until we don’t have it. I am thankful today’s reading helped clarify this!

  • Sabrina Michelle

    Our Father is the light of the world❤️

  • Jo Gistand

    I love Romans 9:17. Even the evil of evils was meant to glorify GOD. As a school teacher, sometimes i am plagued by the fear of the darkness in our schools. But reading that verse reminds me that there is purpose in everything. I do not have to dwell in that darkness because Jesus is the light in that dark place. No matter what… he’s going to get the glory, and that’s what matters most.

  • Heather N (MNmomma)

    Wheat really stood out to me today was Ex 10:3….”How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” BOOM. How often to I try to do things my way….to try and take the lead? Lord, I want to live my life in full submission to You….to be Your humble servant. To live my life according to Your will…not my own….help me Lord….

    • Shelby

      That caught my attention too! It made me think about how often we actually tend to be like Pharaoh–like you said, trying to do things our own way, refusing to acknowledge God in our lives, continually living in sin even though it only makes situations worse, even just being too prideful to simply let go of ourselves…

  • Laura Barthelmess

    Such good stuff!! I praise you Jesus for the light You my King spread into my own darkness!!

  • Tina Laughary

    This is such a beautiful reflection. I too resonate with images of light and darkness. May we all run toward the Jesus the Light of the Word!

  • Natalia Mogannam

    Amen !

  • Kristin Hanley

    I too struggle with the winter darkness and crave the sunlit evenings of spring and summer. This passage struck me while reading: “No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived” (Ex. 10:23). God was giving the Egyptians a physical manifestation of what they’d already been experiencing spiritually. May we long to live in the light, allowing God to illuminate the areas of our lives that we would prefer to hide in darkness.

  • …and so that they may worship the Lord their God (7:16, 8:1, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:7, and 10:26)

  • Regina Sather

    I pulled into my garage and sat for a moment in the complete darkness (no windows) and realized I did not spend much time in utter darkness.

    I was uncomfortable – not really scared – but knew I needed to move toward the light. I did not need convincing.

    This reminder that we need the suffocating darkness to appreciate, move toward and love the light (our Savior) is so very good.

    Thank you!

  • Charissa Whittingham

    Reminds me how we are made for FULL freedom. Pharaoh starts offering partial freedom in exodus 10:11, saying they can take the able-bodied people, they can be free. Moses is like no it has to be all our people. Then in verse 24 Pharaoh says families can go but not livestock and Moses says no even our animals need to come with us. I’ve always been the kind of person who settles for partial because I want at least something even if its not my end goal. Man! This slapped me in the face. God had full freedom in mind the entire time, partial freedom was not an option. I needed that reminder. I need to rely on God for that full freedom.

    • Melinda

      Excellent point! I, too, noticed the step-by-step resistance by Pharoah but I didn’t equate it to our freedom and duty to settle for nothing less than full surrender and faithful worship of God alone! Praise God for showing us in His holy scriptures His perfect benefits of obedience no matter how dark it gets. He is the way, the truth, and the LIGHT forever and ever, Amen!!

  • Jane Andrews

    Thanks be to God!

  • Caroline Smith

    Amen!!!! Jesus is the light!

  • Victoria Sook

    We were not meant to dwell in darkness! Thank you for reminding me that Christ is the light and that Easter (and spring) is coming! Amen!

  • Sheila Busch

    What a powerful God we serve! He brings darkness, whether physical or spiritual darkness, to light. He controls the things of the world and is above and beyond all things in the world. Although it’s hard for me to read and think about the things He did (and does) to show his power to those that do not believe, it is a necessary part of the story. Because of my sin, and the sin of the world, God must show His mightiness in ways that boggle my human mind. He brought these plagues to convince His people of His strength, so that throughout the rest of the world’s story, we can look at these passages in Exodus, and know that His strength and power are beyond what we can fathom. If He can control the insects, the weather, the darkness and light, even the life of the firstborn child, He surely has the strength to control the trials and struggles I have in my own life because of sin. He did control them, when He sent Jesus to set me free. Lord, help me to remember Your strength and mightiness in the trials of life. Help me to remember that You have already set me free. All I must do is turn to You, Lord. Praise and glory is Yours, Lord.

  • Leigh AnneAkey

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Let my light shine so others may see you in me.

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