God’s Distinctive People – Exodus 11-12

DistinctivePeople“That you may understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Exodus 11:7, NASB).

This statement is the conclusion of Moses’ declaration to Pharaoh before God sent the final plague, the deaths of all the firstborns, against Egypt.

A previous meditation about the plagues God sent against Egypt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Israelites established that what matters to God is where your allegiance falls. The Israelites couldn’t serve serve God and Pharaoh.

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Death Defeated – Exodus 12:41-42

“In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the Lord’s forces left the land. On this night the Lord kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation.” (Exodus 12:41-42, NLT).

The Passover was the major festival associated with the Exodus and the formative event of the Jewish religion.

The Passover was so-named because it memorialized God saving the Israelites from the death of the firstborn by marking their doorways with the blood of the Passover lamb: “For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down” (Exodus 12:23, NLT).

Why did the Passover require the Israelites to apply blood to their doorposts when they were not required to perform such a ritual to escape harm in any of the other preceding nine plagues?

The Passover commemorated deliverance from death, not political independence.

As with all people, Israel’s main enemy was not bondage to Egypt, but bondage to death.

So, God could not simply exempt his people from this plague as he had preserved them from the other plagues.

Death reigned in the world because of sin, and because of God’s justice, sin could not be ignored; it had to be punished or atoned for.

Because blood represented life, it alone was acceptable for the forgiveness of sins. Thus, Passover demonstrated that deliverance from death was only by means of a substitutionary blood sacrifice, the Passover lamb, that took the place of the firstborn son of every family of Israel.

It is significant that Jesus’ death and resurrection were associated with the Passover season.

The Passover symbolized the reality that Jesus Christ gave his life as “a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45) and became “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Through His sacrifice, sin and death were once and for all fully and finally defeated.

Now, God’s judgment passes over those to whom the blood of Christ is applied.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. (Revelation 5:12, NLT)