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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
With the sixth plague (9:8-12), it gets personal. Boils infect both
man and beast-the pain was such that the magicians had to call in sick
and couldn't stand before Moses as they had been doing. But even now Pharaoh
wouldn't let the people go, because of his hard heart. Look closely at
Exodus 9:12 and you'll see that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, "And the
Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the
Lord had spoken to Moses." (NASB) Up until now, you might have had the
idea that Pharaoh was thwarting the plans of God, but by now it should
be clear, even Pharaoh's disobedience was in God's plans. What possible
good could come about by Pharaoh's rebellion? God answers that question
before he visited the seventh plague, the plague of hail (9:13-35) upon
Egypt. Exodus 9:16 says, "But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you
to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name
through all the earth." (NASB) Pharaoh's rebellion became the background
for God to display is might among the people, so that His name would be
exalted throughout all the earth. Pharaoh was an unwitting double agent,
if you will. Even in his rebellion, he was accomplishing the purposes of
The hail fell and Pharaoh became aware of his sins, begging Moses and
Aaron to intercede on his behalf and ask God to remove his fury from the
storm clouds. Gladly, Moses interceded and the storm abated, but not before
it had destroyed the crops of Egypt. And once again, Pharaoh's hard heart
wouldn't let him turn lose of the people of God and let them go.
What the hail didn't get, the locust (10:1-20) would. Moses stretched
out his hands and the locust swarmed in with the east wind. The pests ate
from the crops and the fruit trees, stripping the land of its vitality.
Once again Pharaoh repented and asked for Moses to pray, and once again,
God lifted the plague from the land. And as before, God hardened Pharaoh's
heart and Pharaoh wouldn't let the people go.
The ninth plague was the quiet before the storm that would rock all
of Egypt; darkness (10:21-29). Darkness fell upon all the land for three
days. I wonder if after Jesus rose from the grave the disciples ever made
the connection between the 9th plague and the three days of spiritual darkness
they experienced while awaiting the Son rise of Easter Sunday?
The tenth and final plague was the big one-the death of the first-born
son. (11:1-10; 12:29-42). The death angel would pass through the land of
Egypt and would kill the first-born son of every man, except for those
who were covered by the blood of the lamb.
In preparation for the tenth plague, God instructed the children of
Israel to put the blood of the Passover lamb on the two doorposts and on
the lentil of the house. God made a covenant with the people: when the
death angel saw the blood on the doorposts, it would "pass over" that house
and not kill the first-born son. But if a house did not have the blood
on the doorposts and lintel, the death angel would visit their home and
kill their first-born son. The Lord said, "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." (Exodus 12:13 NASB)
Pharaoh didn't make the proper preparations and his son died, ultimately
leading him to let God's people go. How great that pain must have been.
He withstood the hassles of the other plagues, the resulting poisoning
of the water supply, the devastation of their foodstuffs, but he couldn't
bear the grief of losing his son. God's people were free to go and would
from that day forth, celebrate the Passover-the day God graciously spared
their sons. It was a day unlike any other.
But from the perspective of the cross, it is even more significant.
God spared their sons, but he didn't spare His own. John 3:16 says, "For
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)
Jesus gave the blood of the lamb that protects us from the death angel.
At the first Passover, it was lamb's blood, but today it is the blood from
the one slain before the foundation of the world. 1 Cor. 5:7-8 says, "Clean
out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact
unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Let us
therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven
of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and
When the bells of eternity chime, will the death angel pass over your
home? Or will you fall victim to your own disobedience. Just as those who
spread the blood of the lamb over their doorpost were spared, so will those
who are redeemed by the spilt blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Jesus
paid the price for our sins and made the free gift of eternal life possible
to everyone who believes.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you've accepted Jesus as
your Savior and surrendered your life to Him as your Lord?
Won't you pray with me now? With a simple prayer, tell Him that you've
sinned and that you're sorry for you sins. Ask Him to forgive you of your
sins and to take them away from you. Tell Him you'll live the rest of your
life for Him and that you'll serve Him until your dying day. Tell Him that
you are willing to exchange your life for His death. Ask Him to save you.