Why does God bring judgments of plagues against the Egyptians? At first glance it looks like God is a vindictive, cruel, war monger, or a religious jihad in the Old Testament. However, when we read Scripture and it is difficult to understand we need to position ourselves in a place of humility to seek understanding.
When you take time to read through Exodus and the rest of Scripture we see God doesn’t want to bring judgment. God wants to bring reconciliation. He wants to save. He wants to rescue. He created everything to be perfect, it was lost to sin, and His desire is to rescue and restore creation to Himself.
In Exodus God’s desire is to reveal Himself and His power to the Egyptians so that they might see who He is, turn from sin, and worship Him. He is the same God today as He is in Exodus. Today His desire is that we would see His glory, turn from sin, and worship Him. In Exodus He doesn’t bring plagues simply to bring judgment, but to reveal His glory so that the Egyptians will see that He is God, turn from sin, and worship Him.
You see it best in the progression of plagues. God doesn’t start out with a judgment of death. He starts out with turning a staff into a snake. However, the people ignore His power. Then the Nile River into blood. Yet still the people ignore. The first few plagues aren’t even painful, but more so annoying so that it isn’t until the last plague that we see a judgment of death. If He was just wicked and vindictive He could have started out with death, but He doesn’t want to bring judgment so He starts off with a staff into a snake. There is a kindness from God in the progression of judgment. He is being patient. He is waiting. He is wanting Egypt to see that He is God, turn from their sin and worship Him.
It is the same today. God is revealing Himself to us so that we might see that He is God, turn from our sin, and worship Him. He is being patient. He has provided a means of escape through the cross, but at some point He will bring judgment. It isn’t to be mean or cruel, but instead to bring an end to the pain and evil that is in the world because of our sin. We might want Him to remove judgment all together, but that would mean that pain and evil would exist for eternity, therefore, even in His judgment we see patience, we see kindness and we see grace so that it isn’t that God is unfair, but He is too fair. He is frighteningly fair.