Pharaoh’s Idol {Egypt’s Deep Blue River}

The sky was rosy with the rising sun as Pharaoh and his court went out to the Nile for morning washing and worship where he found Moses and Aaron waiting for him. “Go out,” God had told Moses, “and wait beside the Nile for the king. Tell him to let my people go into the desert to worship me.” 

But Pharaoh, determined to keep his slaves, refused. Just as he had the day before, unimpressed by Aaron’s rod becoming a snake. After all, his own magicians did the same.

Pharaoh’s main idol

So God struck at Pharaoh’s main idol. The beautiful, mighty, three-branched Nile (or Dark Blue River, as it was known) that flowed through such poetic-sounding places as Over the Mountains of the Moon, through Abyssinia, and up into the Mountains of Laska.

Abundant, deep, and broad, it flows a total of 3300 miles (5311 km). And, pursuing its course over thousands of years, it was and continues to be, the life of Egypt. A veritable oasis in that dry and desert land.

This main source of water also provided much of Egypt’s food. With complex irrigation canals, the Nile watered their crops. And by helping to form the clouds, it brought much-needed rain. Egyptian lives depended on it. So by turning the Nile to blood, God struck at their greatest source of sustenance.

A challenge to their hearts

But he was mostly challenging their hearts.

The Egyptians revered the Nile, feeling it made them independent of God’s rain. They also believed all their gods were born along its banks. And held innumerable feasts, rites, and ceremonies, worshiping the river and its inhabitants.

But it was the Nile itself that they held in highest esteem. Their river god, which they considered their “father and savior.”  Even the river’s water and everything growing in or along its banks was sacred to them, and considered powerful. And believing their magic could harness the supernatural power in these things, the Egyptians felt invincible and all powerful.

The Lord wanted to show that he, and he alone, is all powerful, mighty God. So one by one, he tore down the Egyptian idols of pride, power, and self-reliance. But even then they never recognized him as God Omnipotent.

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 42:8 ESV

Even his own people didn’t fully believe in him as the Omnipotent One. At first they trusted and believed, but quickly lost hope. “Look what you’ve done Moses!” they complained. “God’s plan didn’t work, and now we have to work even harder!” (Exodus 5:20-23).

Doubt destroys trust

Their doubt kept the Israelites from trusting in God’s power and protection. Instead of recognizing his protection, they focused on their burdens. “We work twice as hard. Yet they beat us and accuse us of laziness!” They didn’t seem to see the Lord’s goodness and protection. They could have said, “He kept those nasty flies away! And saved our livestock! Protected us from the boils, hail, locusts, and darkness! Hallelujah!” They should have went out and danced in the streets!

Focusing on problems hinders faith

But sometimes we set up our own idols, too. We don’t look to rivers or frogs to help or save us. But we fail to see God as all-powerful and able.

We focus more on our problems and trials, and it this way actually turn them into little idols. They start to seem more powerful than the Creator of the universe.

We fail to see them as faith-building instruments in God’s hands. And as opportunities to trust him more and see him do great and marvelous things for us.

May the Lord help us see him as God Omnipotent, able to do all things and always worthy of our trust.

Lord, we look to you, the creator and controller of that deep blue river. Remind us that you created us, and are powerful enough to keep us, care for us, and provide for us in every way. Help us see you as God Omnipotent, more powerful and stronger than anything that comes our way. And to trust you more and more day by day.

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 42:8 ESV

Images: Nile River pepa74 | Pharoah by Jeff Dahl | Desert Iby Papafox.

13 thoughts on “Pharaoh’s Idol {Egypt’s Deep Blue River}

  1. There are so many times that it feels easier to trust what I see and know than what I can’t see and don’t know for sure. But He is good, gracious, and true in all that He does and is. Thanks for this beautiful picture of the temptation of what we think we know rather than holding fast to the truth of who He is.


    1. So true, Dayle. It’s so easy to lose sight of who he really is, especially in the midst of trials or testings. We think we’ll always be able to focus on him, see what he’s doing, and increase our trust. But get our eyes on the wrong things and quickly start to flounder. How we need, like you said, to hold fast to the truth of who he is!!


  2. The river as an idol makes so much sense. Idols do not always come in craved images. Technology can easily become our idol of today. Thank you for sharing the knowledge and truth. 🙂


    1. So true. It’s often the everyday things that creep in and take over. That’s why it’s important to keep our hearts and minds fixed on Christ. Be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I love looking into the stories behind the story, and this one fascinated me! I just hope I may never become as foolish as Pharoah and his magicians! Love your blog. There’s a real feeling of peace there! Be blessed.


  3. God has been working in my life with this very issue of trusting Him when all does not look good. Thanks for the great reminder with the Egyptians and the Israelites Sheila.


    1. So glad it helped Tom. We all pass through such times, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But God is still turning water to wine. He will come through. Know that we will lift you and your family up in prayer. And let us know if we can pray in any specific way. May God fill your heart with peace. Be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! Please pray for our finances. I believe that I am in the job God wants me in that can minister to many children, but the pay is low and I have a large family. Seeking to bring in more money in different ways but not many opportunities seem to come. Thanks for the prayers for guidance, direction and provision for me and my family.


        1. Thank you for sharing that, Tom. We will definitely keep that in prayer. From when I went over to help my parents after my mom’s hospitalization three years ago, I noticed that the cost of living has gotten quite high there. I also know that a large family there, (our son has 5 kids, in Texas), can make it quite hard. I will pray that the Lord will either open up an even better opportunity for you or show you creative ways, and open those doors, to augment your income. He is still turning water into wine, and multiplies fish and bread! I will be praying with you! Be blessed.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Amen, Linda! I know he has done that for us multiple times too. And I’m those like you and Tom, with large families, have experienced that even more! It’s amazing how the Lord provides – and sometimes without us even voicing our needs!!


Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.