44 - The Final Plague
February 13 - Nº 44 Exodus 11:1-10; 12:21-42
Pharaoh had been given many chances to acknowledge that the God of the Israelites was the one true God. But he stubbornly refused. As a matter of fact, his heart grew more inflexible with each plague. But was it Pharaoh’s own pride and stubbornness that caused him to resist God? Or was God the one responsible for hardening the ruler’s heart? After all, several times God had told Moses, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” One way to understand this better is to picture a wax candle and a clay figurine both placed in the sunshine. While one is melting, the other is hardening. The sun “causes” both responses, but the distinct results are determined by the different materials involved. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened when it encountered God because it was filled with pride. God chose to give him one more opportunity to repent. He sent Moses to the palace with one more message: At midnight, God would go through Egypt and take the lives of the first-born sons of every person and animal in the land. It would be the worst thing that ever happened in Egypt. But God would not harm the Israelites. When Moses turned to leave, Pharaoh could have stopped him, but he didn’t. Hot with anger, Moses walked out the door. Moses and Aaron told the elders of the Israelites to instruct each of the Hebrew families to kill a lamb and put some of its blood on the sides and tops of their door frames. Then all the family members were to enter the house and stay inside until morning. That night, the Lord went through the land and struck down all the first-born sons of the Egyptians. Not a single Egyptian residence escaped this horrible plague. Only the houses with blood on the doorposts were passed over. (This event, therefore, became known as the “Passover.”) During the night Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and told them to take their people and leave. “Go worship your God,” he wailed, “and take your flocks and herds with you!” Moses instructed the Hebrews to ask the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and clothing to support them on their journey. The Egyptians were so happy to see them leaving that they gladly gave them everything they asked for. As they left, the Israelites gathered up the dough for the bread that they had been preparing for the next day, but the yeast had not yet been added. They cooked this “unleavened” bread over open fires on their journey. After 430 years of being in bondage, at least 600,000 Israelite men, plus their wives and children, and all their livestock—as well as many other people who decided to escape with them—set off on the long journey to the land that God had promised them so many years before.
The Israelites had been saved by entering a home that was protected by the blood of a “Passover lamb.” Jesus is called our “Passover Lamb.” When we trust in the protection of the blood He shed for each of us on the cross, we are saved from any judgment or penalty for our sins. Have you done this?