August 22, 2011

A Mother’s Lament

Posted in Egypt tagged at 9:57 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

I will arise and flee this curséd land
Before my precious firstborn, dying, screams.
I should have run away when bloody streams
Slew fish, and rivers reeked on every hand.

If swarms of frogs and flies and biting lice
Could move me not, then sick and dying beast
Or painful, noisome boils must, at the least,
Stir up desires to end this foolish vice

Of spurning God’s relentless mercy sweet.
But still I watched the hail and locusts fall
Until the dark obliterated all
So that we dared not go into the street.

All this, and yet when time had come to go,
My mutinous feet were firmly fixed in place.
And I, rejecting God’s redeeming grace,
Was baptized in distress too deep to know.

Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Beginning in Exodus 10:1 the story unfolds of how God the Almighty One brought His people out of Egypt. It is sobering to realize that the bitter conflict between Moses and Pharaoh is really a battle between God and Satan. What we see may be illnesses and pestilence and unnatural disasters, but it is really spiritual warfare, and the same thing is true in our own lives. This account from Exodus makes it evident that decisions made by leaders, either at a national, local, parish, or home level will have lasting effects in the lives of those people over whom they have authority. Although Pharaoh was the one who openly defied God, the plagues affected all of his people, and the final death blow struck the firstborn in every household that was not covered by the blood.

This poem is written from the standpoint of an Egyptian mother who has watched God’s wrath unleashed multiple times due to the stubbornness of Pharaoh’s heart, yet she has done nothing to protect her children or herself. Although the poem specifically mentions the events in the book Exodus, it has applications in many other situations. Whatever else is happening in our lives, whatever choices that our leaders or others around us may make, we must set our hearts on obedience to God, and we must look to His mercy for protection.


This poem was first drafted on August 17, 2002, just a few days before the ending of a very sad chapter in my life.

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