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The Passover

Exodus 12:13

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"And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." (NASB)

Exodus 7-12 records that God brought down 10 different plagues upon the people of Egypt because Pharaoh refused to release the children of Israel from their bondage. Each of these plagues would play a part in the ultimate exodus of God's chosen people from their captivity into a forty-year journey into the promised land, but the tenth plague-the death of the first born son-would be the ultimate cause for Pharaoh authorizing the release of the people.

When the time was right, God appeared to Moses from a bush that burned, but was not consumed to invite him to join Him in the work He planned on doing with His people. At first, Moses hesitated, but God convinced Moses to submit to His plan. Moses returned to his former home--the palace--to ask Pharaoh to release the people and allow to Moses to lead them into their destinies, but Pharaoh wasn't convinced it was what he wanted to do. Even after Moses demonstrated the power of God before Pharaoh, he didn't cooperate, so God unleashed the plagues and pestilence upon all of Egypt. These were historic catastrophes of Biblical proportions. They were miraculous, no doubt, but not because they weren't natural. Each of the plagues sprung from things that happen in nature, but to a greater extent than you'd expect. The plagues came out of nature, but they were more than natural-they came as a result of Divine activity.

The first plague foreshadowed the last one, God turned the Nile river into blood (7:14-24). Death was everywhere. All the fish in the Nile died and the water was no longer potable and fit for consumption. This catastrophe should have been enough to turn Pharaoh's heart, but it wasn't. Even though the people suffered, he did not relent and did not let God's people go.

A week later, God unleashed a plague of frogs upon the people (7:25-8:15). According to the scripture, frogs were everywhere, even in their kneading bowls they used to make bread. When Pharaoh was up to his eyeballs in frogs, he called Moses and asked him to talk to God about getting rid of the frogs. In return, Pharaoh was willing to let the people go and make some sacrifices unto the Lord. Moses prayed to God and God answered his prayers. All the frogs died, but then there was the problem of the disposal of their remains. Once again, the smell of death filled Egypt. But Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not let the people go.

The third plague (8:16-19) brought gnats upon the land, which convinced the magicians that this was from the finger of God, but because of his hard heart, Pharaoh wouldn't listen even to his own people. Next came another pesky insect-the fly (8:20-32). This one was getting to Pharaoh to the extent that he allowed Moses to leave Egypt to sacrifice to God and ask God to remove the flies. Moses, being a man of his word, prayed and God, being a faithful God answered the prayer of Moses, but Pharaoh, being a hard-hearted man, didn't relent.

The fifth plague (9:1-7) brought about the death of many of Egypt's cattle, including their donkeys, camels, sheep and other types of domesticated beasts. While the destruction fell upon Egypt, Israel's cattle were spared. But even after 5 plagues, hard-hearted Pharaoh wouldn't let God's people go.
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