It is unlikely that we can imagine the mess and stress caused by the 9 plagues listed in today's text. Egypt was devastated by one judgment after another.
Much has been written about the spirituality of the Egyptians. Not only did they see their Pharoah as a god, they also had many other gods. Scholars have actually worked to connect each of these plagues to one of the false gods that they worshipped. Each plague brought judgment against Pharoah's un-yielding heart and judgment against one of the many in-accurate beliefs of the people. Yet they remained stubborn. 9 plagues in and the Israelites are still slaves. 9 plagues in and it does not appear that anything is going to change.
The purposes of these plagues included:
1. Opportunity to Repent - The leaders and people of Egypt were being given a first-hand view of the power of the One True God. This display was for the purpose of showing them they were going the wrong way and allowing them to repent and turn. Apparently, they would not.
2. Bolster Israelites Faith - This people had been enslaved for so long that they had forgotten much about 'who they were'. They had been crying out to God and now He was in action on their behalf. Pharoah had been the ultimate power in their life but now they could see real power and place their faith in the God that would rescue them.
In your life, the purpose of pain/suffering/struggle/trial can serve the same purposes. It can draw you away from mis-guided faith and can strengthen your faith in God through Jesus. Don't ever forget that God DID rescue His people but it was after they had endured much. Enduring can produce some good things in you:
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:1-5 NLT)