I will tell you up front that this post is a long one. There was a lot to share and I used some quotes and a lot of scripture to tell the whole story. I appreciate the time it takes for you to read such a long post, but it is vital to get all the information across in a way that makes sense and tells what God wants to share. Thank you, in advance, for your time and patience.
The 10th and final plague that God brought to Pharaoh in Egypt was the death of the firstborn son of every home from the Pharaoh’s palace to the maidservant grinding at the wheel. That covered everyone in Egypt. Let’s begin by looking at the scripture.
And the Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. 2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.” 3 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
4 Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 6 Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. 7 But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’ 8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will go out.” Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.
9 But the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Pharaoh had been hard-hearted for the last time and God meant business this time. Pharaoh had gotten increasingly colder and indifferent, almost like he was playing a game with Moses and Aaron and ultimately with this God that he didn’t know. Each plague had gotten increasingly tougher on the Egyptians and Pharaoh was not budging. It was noted in some of the literature that I read that some of the servants that kept the animals for Pharaoh began to believe and fear the word of the Lord and did bring the animals into shelter before the hail storm.
20 He who feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses. 21 But he who did not regard the word of the Lord left his servants and his livestock in the field.
Remember that the Israelites, living in Goshen, never once had any hardships or felt the effects of any of the plagues. They were protected by God, they were His people. However, the last plague was most severe and the Israelites must actually perform a ritual so they could remain unaffected. I say unaffected… but I imagine it affected them in a very deep way. Let me rephrase to say they were not affected in a negative way. I will talk about that in a moment.
Something else that I read in some of the literature about this last plague that is noteworthy is this: (From Exodus – The God You Thought You Knew, A study of Exodus 1-40, Christ Fellowship Church, McKinney, Texas)
“The plagues against Egypt show us what can result from hard-hearted rebellion. A denial of God brings judgment because the one, true God deserves our worship and obedience. Only God has creation at his disposal, and knows what is best for those created in his image. In submitting to him, we are availing ourselves of what we most need, peace with our creator. A stubborn insistence on having our own way will inevitably lead to our destruction.
How many times in life are we insistent on “Our Own Way”? As it says in the above text, this leads to our destruction. It certainly lead to Pharaoh’s destruction, didn’t it? Jesus taught us time and time again, to love one another, not to insist on our way, to be kind to one another, etc. This picture of Pharaoh is like a three year old having a temper tantrum. The temper tantrum is about to be his undoing, too. He rejected God and all of His ways to try to prove his point. The rejection of God and His ways will always change us for the worse. We, as Christians, are given ways to live and ways to think. We must follow those ways to be full in the Spirit of God. If we choose our own ways to live and think, unhappiness and destruction will find us out eventually.
If you notice back in Exodus 11:8, it is mentioned that Moses “went out from Pharaoh in great anger.”
8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will go out.” Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.
On the website BibleStudyTools.com it has this to say:
“Holy and righteous indignation at the duplicity, repeated falsehood, and hardened impenitence of the king; and this strong emotion was stirred in the bosom of Moses, not at the ill reception given to himself, but the dishonor done to God.”
Moses had had enough and so had God. If you remember in Ephesians 4:26-27 it talks about be angry and do not sin… I think Moses was at this point and beyond!
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”:[f] do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
The next thing we see is God preparing the Israelites for what we now call “The Passover”.
I like what they have to say in The God You Thought You Knew, A study of Exodus 1-40, Christ Fellowship Church, McKinney, Texas.
“The Passover became the most significant observance for the ancient Israelites. It demonstrated God’s commitment to his promises, and his willingness to save his people. For Christians, Passover represents God’s promises and salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We have the benefit of seeing the Passover through the lens of the cross. As you study the events of that night, consider how it reflects the ultimate Passover lamb that was to come. Allow it to give you reason to worship him even more.”
As God explains to Moses what to do to prepare, He is showing them that this is a way of salvation for them if they act in faith. They must follow God’s instructions to be saved. Those instructions were clear, concise and very important. Not one thing should be left out or else anyone who leaves that one detail off will suffer the consequences of the 10th and final plague. Death of the first born male. Let’s look at the scripture.
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Another very good quote from The God You Thought You Knew, A study of Exodus 1-40, Christ Fellowship Church, McKinney, Texas.
“But while the God-rejecting Egyptians experience judgment, the Israelite homes marked by the blood are spared (Exod. 12:13). The message is unmistakable: Yahweh alone has the power to save life or to take it. He alone is God.
Be careful to note that the same God who graciously offered life to those joined to him by faith is also the one who personally took the lives of those opposed to him. Contrary to some attitudes today, Yahweh is deserving of the utmost respect, obedience and worship. The Lord judged the sins of the Egyptians. The only thing that prevented the Israelites from experiencing the same judgment was the blood of the lamb. The only thing that prevents us from experiencing God’s judgment is the blood of Christ.
We cannot allow cultural influences to convince us that we have the right to judge God’s actions. We are wrong to think that our judgment will necessarily reflect that of the creator. You may be offended by God’s judgment of sin until you are sinned against. Then you might just be offended by his forgiveness.”
God is a gracious and forgiving God that provides a way of salvation for the Israelites just as He provided a way for our salvation. We should never look at the Passover as just another event in history. It points us to Christ and His shed blood for our sins. For without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
The Passover was not just for the Israelites that night, but for them to teach it to their children and their children’s children, on down through all generations. These instructions were told to the Israelites and they understood and again… they “heard the Word of the Lord”… and “bowed their heads and worshiped”.
26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Just as the Lord had said, it happened. Pharaoh had no recourse but to let the Israelites go. He was so distraught and spent with all of this and this final blow was it! You cannot mock God forever. He is God! He is in TOTAL control and you will either heed His Word or pay dire consequences.
29 And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.”
Pharaoh’s frustration was at the end. Although it was a temporary “end”, he ordered them to leave and leave now! I think it very odd though, that he asked to be “blessed also”. Here is a man that has witnessed the power of the Almighty God and now has felt the dire consequences of his actions and now he asking to be blessed? Emotions. Pharaoh was having an emotional moment, and well that he should. He had just lost his first born. The first born to the throne. His successor! In this time in history, the first born was a vital part of the success and longevity of a family. To lose the firstborn, he had just lost his own success. Pharaoh was asking for a blessing out of his deep emotions.
Emotions can be a good thing and then they can also be a bad thing… or at least they can be untimely. I have learned that if we abruptly act on our “emotions” instead of letting the heat of the moment die down a bit, our actions usually are not representative of how we may feel in the long run. Pharaoh definitely did not feel this way after the Israelites had all left, but that is another post.
We have covered a lot of ground in this post and as I said yesterday, this particular part of this Prayer series has been a challenge. God has stretched me and delayed me for whatever reason. I have learned though, that things happen for reasons and God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect and I can always trust His plan. I may not see why things happen for a long time or ever, but I know I can trust Him and His plan for my life. Whether that is writing a post or looking for a job or changing churches after 18 years. All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28. I am living that life for sure.
So the Israelites are now, finally, leaving Egypt with all their belongings, and the things they acquired from their neighbors, their children and their flocks. What a site that must have been! Our God is a Great God! He can do things on LARGE SCALE and yet cares for the tiniest detail. He plans for success in our lives. We just have to heed His call and follow His plan. The Israelites actually did that on this occasion and are free from bondage finally!
Thank you for sticking with me throughout this very long post. I had a lot of ground to cover and I felt compelled to include the quotes and all of the scripture that I did. I hope you have enjoyed this part of the Prayer series. There have been many important lessons to learn from Pharaoh and his hard-hearted ways. God is in control and He will demonstrate it if necessary!
I would like to close with a yet another quote from The God You Thought You Knew, A study of Exodus 1-40, Christ Fellowship Church, McKinney, Texas.
“The real point of the exodus story [is] that God supernaturally delivers his people from bondage to bring them to a promised land and that they belong to him, not to themselves.”2 God was teaching the basic concept that “if a life is to be restored, it must be bought back (redeemed) by a payment; and that payment is often the substitutionary death of something for something else.”3 That is the reason Paul tells us that we “were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:20 and 7:23). The price was the death of Jesus Christ so that we might live.“
The Song – Generations – Sara Groves
The Video – House of Israel – Out of Egypt