God is faithful and just for forgive. Mercy is available but one of the most fearful, memorable, and horrifying judgments by God is found in the final plague against Egypt. Moses at the direction of God demanded that Egypt let the Hebrew people leave to worship God. What can the Egyptian King do? Obey God or keep control of his slaves? He is in this awful cycle of rebellion, stubbornness, and arrogance. Our selfish and evil nature pulls at us and this King is no exception. In this final plague Pharaoh comes to the end of himself and he finds God’s crushing judgement on his entire worldview.
6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. Exodus 11:6 ESV
God Just and Faithful
My modern eyes see capital punishment so indiscriminate as immoral. Is this a faithful, forgiving, and just God? Unfortunately many Christians willfully overlook God’s judgment. Reality strikes with a truth forgotten or never learned: God’s love is not true unless God’s judgment is also sound. We find God’s judgment on Egypt juxtaposed against his mercy for Israel here at this moment in history as recorded in Exodus 11 and 12.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. Exodus 12:12 ESV
A Faithful God
In this final plague where the firstborn in every household dies in one terrifying night God communicates clearly that this death is a result of his judgement on Egypt. They are being judged as we all will be judged based on the life lived in service to self or stuff apart from God who created us. Egypt put their trust in false god’s that promote selfishness and hedonism. Egypt killed the first born of the Hebrew people out of selfish desire to remain in control. This judged people also are keeping slaves proving yet again that God’s judgement is sound. It not my judgement or the judgment of the Hebrews or modern man’s judgment but it is the perfect righteous judgement of a faithful God who also provided a path to be forgiven through the Passover.
An Example for Everyone
God is also allowing this judgment on Egypt to be an example to the Hebrews and indeed the rest of history since we are still to this day discussing this terrible event and why it happened. This is the moment God has chosen with Egypt and Israel to reintroduce himself in a permanent way. God is taking control of the narrative and altering the course of human history. From this moment forward people will know God the one true God. No longer will people be ignorant of their Creator.
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. Exodus 12:11 ESV
God’s love is found in His mercy. The fate of the Egyptians is a real possiblity for the Hebrews. However God provided an undeserved way of grace. If the people would follow his instructions and listen to His voice, they could find Passover from the judgment to come.
Instructions for Mercy
God instructed them to sacrifice a lamb for each household. Faithful and forgiving God provides a way. The blood of this lamb placed on the doorframe of the house would allow the angel to Passover them in the moment of judgment. Yet there was more to God’s instructions that speaks to us today. There is a realization that this meal must be eaten in haste with nothing left for tomorrow because God is leading those that will submit to his word out of the world and they should be ready to go as one just passing through. Don’t put down the kind of roots that fools us into believing that this is our one best life. But stand with cloak on and staff in hand ready for the life with God that awaits. The Passover meal represents how they should live as one covered by the blood of the lamb.
…For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed… 1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
All that happened as recorded in Exodus is but a sample of the perfect justice, faithful, and perfect love that a forgiving God is working out to a final conclusion. Judgement is coming on those who willfully live lives in service to their own selfish desires. God judges my sin today just as he judged Egypt then. All are guilty of sin before God. I am not here to judge others because I stand condemned as well. Yet because God is also perfect in His love, He provided a perfect Passover lamb in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blood of this lamb is available but it will only cover households that want to receive and trust God. The Hebrews received the instruction of Moses and were saved. The Egyptians rejected those instructions to trust in their own ways and were condemned by their own actions.
My response to God’s instruction is to yield to Jesus and partake in the grace and mercy God poured out in his Son. I am covered by the blood of the lamb and judgement will Passover me not because of my worth but because of my faith in God’s worth.