After each of Pharaoh’s refusals, God had sent a plague upon Egypt, but Pharaoh never relented. The Egyptians and the Hebrew people saw God’s almighty power in turning the Nile River to blood and sending plagues upon the land of Egypt. Everyone in the land of Egypt had experienced the pollution of the Nile, and plagues of frogs, gnats, boils, and locusts. But God had set apart and spared the land of Goshen, where the Hebrew people lived, from the plagues of insect swarms, death of livestock, hail, and darkness. Through nine plagues, God had kept His people safe as they watched the destruction of Egypt and the misery of the Egyptian people.
Moses had been faithful in presenting God’s command to the increasingly furious and hardened Pharaoh. And finally God would send the tenth plague - the death of the firstborn son of every family in the land of Egypt. Moses gave fair warning to Pharaoh of what would was to come. According to God’s command, he warned the Hebrew people as well. To escape this tenth and final plague and their life of slavery in Egypt, they all had to obey God’s explicit commands concerning the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12:11). Each family was called to demonstrate their faith with obedience by taking an unblemished lamb, a year old, and killing it at twilight on the fourteenth day of the month. Each family was to take some of the blood of the lamb and put it on the doorposts and lintel of their house. Then they were to roast the lamb over a fire and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. No one was to leave their home that night, but they were to be dressed and prepared to exodus Egypt. Exodus 12:13 records that when the people heard God’s commands, they bowed and worshiped, and they went home and obeyed.
At midnight on the fourteenth day of the month, the angel of death passed over the land of Egypt and the firstborn son of every family died, except in the houses with the blood on the doorposts and lintel. There was loud mourning in Pharaoh's palace and in every home, except in the homes of those who obeyed God by faith. By faith Moses [and the people] kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them (Hebrews 11:28).
Moses and God’s people demonstrated their faith by believing God’s judgment would come, just as He said. They demonstrated their faith by doing just what God had told them to do. And they demonstrated their faith by trusting that through the Passover, God would save them from the angel of death and deliver them from Egypt.
This is a profound lesson in faith for God’s people today, and it is also a beautiful picture of redemption -- a picture in which we can place ourselves through faith. Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life…..but with precious blood, as of a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). We who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb are redeemed by faith -- faith that believes God’s warnings of judgment given in His Word, faith that obeys what God commands in His Word, and faith that trusts in His promises of salvation and eternal life. The Hebrew people were saved by God's grace through faith and so are we.
If you are a believer, you are to live by faith, as Moses and those Hebrew slaves in Egypt did thousands of years ago. Sometimes life is hard and sometimes obedience is hard - especially when it makes us stand out from the crowd as strange and different. But faith in God will always see us through because his promises are real and true and unchanging. We can count on God. We can trust Him. We can cling to Him.