Darkness as Plague

Read: Exodus 10:21-29

“Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” (v. 21)

Don’t you feel a little shiver at the phrase: “a darkness to be felt”? It is the ninth plague, and the God of the Hebrews isn’t just calling for overcast skies. No, God is calling for a darkness beyond darkness; one you can feel deep in your bones. So deep you place it on par with locusts that ravage, or rivers that run with blood. A visceral, thick ether that brings to mind the darkness before creation: a chaotic emptiness in which no light can be found.

For three days, the Egyptians can’t see anything. No one moves from bed. Their eyes won’t adjust, their sources of illumination can’t be found. Yet, mysteriously, in Hebrew homes there is light enough to prepare for God’s tenth plague—and their swift exit.

Job, who has suffered a dark night of the soul, also speaks of “deep darkness,” a phrase that occurs more than a dozen times in the Old Testament: “He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light” (Job 12:22).

God is able to deepen the darkness for purposes we cannot comprehend, and by the same power bring to light what is hidden in deep darkness. God’s purposes are his own, for the good of the world he created and the people he loves. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, consider the incredible power of God, who controls light and darkness to accomplish his will.

About the Author

With a bachelors in journalism from Texas Tech University and a masters from Western Theological Seminary, Amy Clemens enjoys all things writing, particularly about the life of faith. She is blessed with a family that includes husband Fred, five children, and five grandchildren.

Amy has just published her first book, "Walking When You'd Rather Fly: Meditations on Faith After the Fall," which weaves her journey from childhood abuse toward healing and spiritual growth with a practical theology for the big story of God. You can find out more about the book and author at walkingwhenyoudratherfly.com.