Exodus 8-10…God send more plagues on Egypt.
In the preview to the plagues, which introduces and interprets them, the plagues are termed “miraculous signs and wonders.” This does not mean that they are simply amazing miracles. The purpose of the sign was to impart knowledge. Also, a wonder basically points to something extraordinary, the purpose of which is the mediation of a certain message. The plagues are not simply acts of judgment, but have a peculiar ability to point beyond themselves and instruct. This designation for the plagues establishes a basic biblical category, so it is vital to understand exactly what is meant by it. Signs/wonders are not just punishments. Judgment is to follow the signs according to 7:3-4 and is not mentioned again until 12:12. Judgment and instruction are not, however, mutually exclusive. There is an element of judgment to the signs, but this lies in the fact that as Pharaoh reflects on them he should understand his own helplessness and pending doom.
Signs/wonders are indicators of a greater judgment to come, intended to provoke a response before that greater use of power becomes necessary. In answer to Pharaoh’s question in 5:2, “Who is Yahweh?”, the plagues teach him about this unknown God and reveal his nature. Nowhere is this clearer than 9:16 – Pharaoh is still alive and the plagues continue so that God can show his power and so that his name (character) may be proclaimed. The plagues did indeed achieve this purpose of revealing his power and name (to Egypt, 14:25; to Jethro, 18:1; to the Philistines, 1 Samuel 4:8). God establishes his reputation and renown, and a response of obedience and fear, merited by his power, is achieved to some extent (9:20; 11:3; 14:25; 18:9). Pharaoh’s culpable hard-heartedness is therefore clearly revealed when he refuses to obey.
When we read this, we should have an understanding and experience in line with Pharaoh. If we read this and think we would never disobey in this way, then we’ve missed the point of these plagues and their application to us. We are rebellious and stiff-necked, just like Pharaoh. We need a Saviur, and were dead in our sins and transgressions, until He rescued us. We had no hope and no way to save ourselves. Now we are a people of the greatest hope, and through repentance and faith in Christ, have eternal life with him.