While full and meaningful in itself, the story of the exodus feels like a foreshadowing. Plagues and devastation make me think of what’s to come in Revelation. And the three days of darkness and the death of the firstborn son make me think of Jesus’s death and three days in the tomb.
Other things I notice in the reading: God intentionally brings these things to pass so that generations will remember what he’s capable of, and so that Pharaoh and his officials will know there’s no one like him.
13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:13-16, NIV)
God spares his people of these losses, and they are a witness to others of God’s promise.
4 But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”
5 The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” 6 And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. 7 Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go. (Exodus 9:4-7, NIV)
A hardened heart is the breeding ground for corruption, deceit, sin, and cruelty. How quickly when the pressure is off, an unchanged heart returns to its wickedness. An unchanged heart cannot be trusted.
29 Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (…) 33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.
In all the occasions that Moses spoke to Pharaoh, of all the things that happened as Moses said they would, Pharaoh still refused to believe him. And it would cost him dearly.
4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. (Exodus 11:4-8, NIV)
God wants a relationship with his people. Here, he works to set them free from enslavement so that they are free to worship him (through sacrifice). And it makes me think of Christ’s sacrifice so that we could be free to worship God. So much of the Bible tells of this desire to be in relationship, and so that God will be known throughout the world.
Father God, Your Word is living and active, and I am so very grateful to have access to it.