We continue the Out of Exodus sermon series noting that the LORD is a God of justice and, though seemingly delayed, there comes a divine NOW that signals an end to the abuses of His family. That NOW is announced in Exodus 6:1, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh…” It is followed by 7 breathtaking promises, which precede 10 devastating plagues designed to humble Pharaoh and elevate Israel. What can we learn about God through the plagues?
- God wants everyone to know Him. He isn’t content to just be the Christian’s God. He wants to be the God of the Hindu, the Buddhist, the atheist. He wants to be known by all so that all can find in Him deliverance from the chaos of sin.
- God is patient not willing that any should perish. Pharaoh is given opportunity after opportunity to repent. God could have taken Pharaoh out with one blow as well as 10 or 40. But by extending the contest He gives everyone more opportunities to leave the chaos of rebellion and embrace the shalom of obedience.
- God responds to the prayers of His people and acts to deliver them from sin’s misery.
- God is a God of love and justice, and His justice is love. Sin and suffering will not go on forever. There is an end.
- God gives us a choice.
- Not all stories of life on this planet are equal. God’s story is truly His story and is superior to all others. And as we leave Egypt we discover our place in that story.
- Our arms are too short to box with God, but His arms are not too short to reach us where we are and pull us to safety. His arms are not too short to be stretched out on a cross so that death passes over us.
The finger of God proved too much for the arm of Pharaoh that proved to be too short. But nine rounds of plagues were not enough to cause Pharaoh to throw in the towel, so Moses told Pharaoh of one more round.
Round #10 – Plague on the Firstborn. [Rewind to Exodus 11:4-8.] In the Exodus story we see the great controversy between Christ and Satan in miniature. These Egyptian gods that brought blindness and chaos to the people of God, were to be overthrown into chaos themselves. And Pharaoh himself, the keeper of Ma’at (harmony), because he refused to let go of the hands of the false gods and take hold of the hand of the true God, was thrown into chaos with them. Your fate in the great controversy depends on whose hand you choose to hold.
But before the plague would come the Passover. (Chapt. 12) Notice the feast commemorating the deliverance came before they actually left. God’s word is what makes a thing a reality even before it happens. They feast in faith, not having actually left Egyptian soil, anticipating telling future generations yet unborn about the great deliverance God worked on their behalf. (See Ex. 12:26-27.)
We do the same thing every time we partake of the Lord’s supper. We remember the sacrifice that made our deliverance from sin possible, but with an eye on Christ’s promise to return. We also feast in faith, not having actually left earth’s sinful soil, anticipating telling angels and inhabitants of unfallen worlds about the great deliverance God worked on our behalf. We do this because we are already delivered! Already in heavenly places. Already redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Israel was in God’s hands that night of the first Passover, when the destroyer passed over every home that was marked by the blood of the Lamb. The blood made the difference! “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).
The Hebrews were to be saved from death by death—the death of an innocent substitute. That innocent death meant life for the Hebrew slaves. The blood on the door meant faith in the heart, and they were saved by grace through faith. So are we. (Rewind to Eph. 2:8-9.) The liberation of God’s people couldn’t come by sheer might, nor only by a show of overwhelming force and power. It could come only by the death of the Same LORD who was saving them. God was keeping His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the cost of His own life! And the blood was the sign of those who belonged to Him.
The plague fell at midnight. (See Ex. 12:29-30.) All the firstborn in Egypt died and Pharaoh finally told Moses to go and take his people with them. After 430 years, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob came out of Egypt with a strong hand.
When you leave Egypt, God keeps watch over you! (See Ex. 12:42.) Because God kept watch that night, godly Jews spend the night after Passover watching. Now you know why Jesus goes out from that last Passover with His disciples down to a garden and says, “Watch with me!” If they had, they would have realized that death was about to pass over them because the Lamb of God was about to be slain.
That night God’s fury would not fall on the Romans, or on the Egyptians—a fury that even Pharaoh couldn’t have imagined. God’s fury against sin would fall on Jesus, the Lamb of God, who agreed to take on hell so we could leave Egypt and have heaven. (See Isa. 53:5.)
With a mighty hand, nailed to a tree, and with outstretched arms, the LORD has taken Satan’s knee off our necks and brought us out of Egypt to freedom. Are you ready to get out of Egypt?
Pastor Randy Maxwell