Pharaoh will not relent, so 9 calamities are sent to Egypt- the Nile turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locust, and darkness. It’s the locust that really freak me out. Those things are gross. But still Pharaoh will not relent. This is a warning to us. Look at how strong and captivating are the lies of the powers of this world. Even in the face of all this devastation, Pharaoh could not relinquish his need to find hope and security in his pride, wealth, identity and social standing.
God talks to Moses and Moses, in turn, tells the people about the coming Passover. Believing in what is about to happen will take great faith on the part of the Israelites. But it will not take blind faith. Real faith is never a blind leap. It is faith in what God has already done. It is faith in a God who is already providing. The people receive their instructions concerning the placement of the blood of the lamb on their door frames. We see again that following God is a matter of life and death. There was no in-between or partial following. There were no exceptions to the Passover rules. A family couldn’t use just any old lamb they thought would work. They couldn’t just put blood in the places on the door they thought would be appropriate or make sense. It is really no different from following God today. There are no exceptions. We follow God or we do not. We put our trust in God or we do not.
The people are also commanded to observe this rite for the rest of their history. They are to remember the importance of this tradition and how it impacts their story. They are to tell their children of what God has done. This is the role of the church now. We are to tell those who come after us the story of what God has done, what he is doing and what he has promised to do.
So after the preparations have been completed, the 10th and final plague is visited upon the land of Egypt. The death of the first born of all living things not protected by the blood of the lamb. This is God’s last resort. I don’t think he wanted to do it. I think it broke his heart to do it. In those cultures, you lived on in the afterlife through your children and their descendants. So in killing the first born, God took everything from them. He even takes eternity from them.
And with this, Pharaoh finally changes his mind but still ends up losing everything he held dear and put his trust and hope in- his workforce, his wealth(Israel is sent out with all of Egypt’s treasure they could carry), his own son. But Pharaoh changes his mind again and sends his army after the people. It’s hard to do the right thing if it’s done for the wrong reasons. Once again, look at how strong the pull of the world and the powers in it. Well, of course, we know that God parts the Red Sea and the people pass through it, collapsing the water onto the Egyptian army, killing them and destroying one more thing in which Pharaoh put his trust.
Israel will now be led through the desert by God’s might right hand and his strong arm.