The stench must have been horrible.
The fauna of the Nile had a field day.
Perhaps ancient Egypt was a more violent place and time than today.
Still, the sight of a continuous stream of dead male babies floating down the Nile would have given pause to any witness, in any era. For the record, these were the male offspring of the Israelites, God’s own people (Exodus 1&2).
I am not sure what is your idea of God.
Whatever it is, lets be clear about one thing.
He is a God that allows horrible things to happen.
In ancient Egypt.
In modern New York.
And assuming that you have not given up believing in this God, you will probably be asking “why”.
Why does He allow horrible things to happen?
Why the recent tragedies in the U.S.?
Why the daily bleeding in places like Palestine?
Are these the fulfilments of the prophecies of Nostradamus?
Is the U.S. being punished for her pagan ways?
I don’t know.
But I do know that God had made it very clear in Genesis 2:16-17:
“And the Lord God commanded the man,”You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” ” NRSV
Since this was God’s only prohibition and warning, we can assume that it was a warning against consequences of horrendous proportions.
Adam and Eve, and all of us in turn, broke that prohibition.
And we now all share in the consequences, consequences that include dead babies in the Nile and the thousands that suffer and die daily.
Some, dramatically, like those who perished in the World Trade Towers.
And many who die quietly, in ways that do not qualify for prime time.
The fact is – we live in a fallen world.
We reap daily, in various painful ways, the consequences of sin.
And while we need to take steps to minimize the pains of life in a fallen world, clearly, ultimate solutions are beyond us.
Fortunately, God has put into place a plan to redeem humankind.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NRSV
For reasons known fully to Him, this redemption plan is no quick fix.
In fact its fulfilment will take the whole length of human history.
But God’s redemptive plan is unfolding.
Though often hidden.
Like a papyrus basket floating among the reeds.
Floating among the dead babies.
So while there will be times when we feel overwhelmed by it all, we do not give up.
Today, we flirt with despair.
Tomorrow, we dance in triumph. (Exodus 15)