You know the older I get the more I find myself trying to find the “big-picture-purpose” for the events in my life. “Why did this happen? Why did that happen? Why didn’t this happen? What’s really going on here?” As we get older we better understand that there’s usually more going on than what’s in front of us. Our life events have ripple-effects on others.
[Parent’s divorce, typing class…my kid’s education, taxes examples.]
When looking at life’s events, zooming out to see the big picture helps us better understand and accept what’s going on in our lives.
So what I want to do tonight is look at the events surrounding the final plague on Egypt and then zoom out to see the big picture of what God is doing. Because He’s doing more than just punishing the Egyptians for not letting the Jews go. Through these events God is establishing things that will last forever!
Let’s remember what’s going on here. Nine plagues have been brought upon Egypt because Pharaoh wouldn’t let the Jews go. The last plague was the darkness that lasted for three days upon only the Egyptian territories. Pharaoh called for Moses, said he wouldn’t let the Jews go, and then threatened Moses’ life.
[Read Exodus 10:28-29.]
But this wasn’t the end of the conversation. Moses had a sobering message from the Lord to Pharaoh concerning the coming plague. Moses’ message for Pharaoh is recorded in 11:4 and following. Verses 1-3 of chapter eleven probably took place during the darkness over Egypt.
[Read Exodus 11:1-3.]
So 11:1-3 is kind of a parenthetical passage that helps the reader understand some background for how Moses would respond to Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Jews go and his threat to Moses’ life.
But Pharaoh’s threat would be met by God’s promise to end the lives of all the firstborn of Egypt. But as we zoom out on the tenth plague, we’re going to see that it’s more about:
I. God establishing His supremacy
[Read Exodus 11:4-10.]
Moses gave the message to Pharaoh which was basically, “After tonight there will be no doubt that I am the God of the universe! None of your Egyptian gods can save you now because I Myself am coming.” The Lord Himself would visit the land and establish once and for all that He alone is God. He expands upon this fact in 12:12.
[Read Exodus 12:12.]
Min, the Egyptian god of reproduction would be of no help.
Heqet, the Egyptian goddess who attended women at childbirth would be of no help.
Isis, the Egyptian goddess who protected children would be of no help.
And neither Pharaoh or his first born son, both considered to be gods, would be of no help either. The Jewish God would actually kill Pharaoh’s son - an Egyptian god.
This plague was more than just retribution for the way Pharaoh treated the Israelites. This was more than just a way to get His people freed from their bondage. This was God establishing the fact that He alone was God. Something that everyone would be able to see and understand for themselves.
The way that God went about this also served to show the world that He alone was God. He said, “I am going into the midst of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron had nothing to do with this event. They weren’t involved at all. As a matter of fact, we’re going to see that God even instructed the Jews to stay indoors all night while this was going on. This was a work of God alone and it couldn’t be excused away.
The Lord also did this in such a way that there was a blatant distinction between His people and Pharaoh’s people. His people would be totally unaffected and safe through the night. While Pharaoh’s people, and even Pharaoh himself, would all suffer.
When this night was over there’d be no doubt that God was God and no one else. God would establish His supremacy. While doing so, we also see:
II. God establishing a saving sacrifice
For His people to be safe during the night a sacrifice had to be made. So while God gave them instructions on what needed to be done to keep them alive through the night, something much bigger was going on here.
[Read Exodus 12:1-2.]
Now this is where a new religious calendar was begun for the Jewish people.
[Read Exodus 12:3-13.]
Now you and I know that the Passover meal was a beautiful picture of the Savior who would come one day to sacrifice Himself for the spiritual life of His people. Here the Israelites had no idea of that. They were just following the Lord’s instructions to be safe through the night. But big-picture, God is establishing a saving sacrifice ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.