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It had been 430 years since the house of Israel had set camp in Egypt. Things were not as they had been in the beginning when Joseph was second in command to Pharaoh. They were no longer esteemed visitors but slaves, a stench to the Egyptians.
After 430 years, the time was finally ripe. The sin of the Amorites had reached its full measure. God remembered His covenant with the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God was going to move them from being slaves and settle them into their own land flowing with milk and honey.
But first, God needed a leader. One who could be sent to address Pharaoh and would later lead the Israelites in the wilderness on their way to Canaan. There was not a better man for this role than Moses who had earlier on denounced his ties with Pharaoh and had started a new life in Midian, married the love of his life Zipporah, gotten two sons and even started a new career as a shepherd.
One day, as Moses was shepherding his father in law’s flock on Mt. Sinai God appeared to him in a most spectacular manner, a burning Bush. Moses was quite reluctant and had many reasons why he was not fit for the job. At some point during the back and forth God was so angry He even gave Moses a PA, his brother Aaron. Finally, Moses left Midian for Egypt with his wife, children, a staff on his hand and a message from the Lord to Pharaoh #LetMyPeopleGo.
Pharaoh worshipped many gods but to his detriment, Yahweh the God of the Hebrews was not one of them. So, he was adamant, he would have none of it, infact he said, “Who is the Lord , that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord , nor will I let Israel go.”
The Egyptians were a hard hearted people. Nine plagues had passed and the Egyptians were still pretty much unmoved. I mean, who was going to provide all the cheap labour? Pharaoh was unrelenting.
So, God told Moses to instruct the Israelites to take a lamb without blemish and slaughter it. They would then take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood and use it to put the blood on the two door posts and on the door frame of the houses where they were to eat the slaughtered lamb.Everyone, without exception was supposed to do it, failure to which the family would face the same dire consequences as the unbelievers.
At midnight, just as He said He would, the Lord struck all the firstborns of the Egyptians. There was not a house where there was not one dead. Even animals were not spared. However, every house that had blood on its door post was marked safe. The blood acted as a sign, every house that had blood was passed over.
There was, for obvious reasons, a lot of wailing and mourning in Egypt on that very sombre night, the kind that the Bible says, had never been heard before and one that will never be heard again.
This was the tenth plague and the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.
Two things happened after this that I find to be absolutely amusing. First, the Egyptians gave them their articles of silver, gold and clothing. Then what I find to be even more amusing, Pharaoh asked Moses for a blessing. After this, they told the Israelites to pack their things and leave fasta fasta.
Thereafter, Israelites were to commemorate their freedom by celebrating the passover feast. I don’t know if the Israelites knew how significant the feast was, that it was not just a mark of their freedom but it was a foreshadowing of what Christ would later do perfectly.
Today we celebrate Good Friday. The day Jesus Christ died on a cross for the sake of the sins of the world. But why is it a big deal that Jesus died on the cross?
1. Jesus is God. He humbled Himself and was born as a man. And then again He humbled Himself to death, and death on a cross for that matter. He did not have to do this.
2. Only a person of His caliber could have perfectly satisfied the wrath of God. He was God, He was also man and He was sinless. Even if we volunteered to die on behalf of ourselves and/or other men, it would not suffice because one sinful man cannot purport to die to cleanse another.
In all the world there is not a single deity that claims to have humbled themselves to become a man and further to die a humiliating death to save us, only Jesus.
Every year, and on a day such as this, as Christians we celebrate not just His death but His resurrection as well. Every now and then we partake of His body and drink of His blood through what is widely referred to as holy communion.
We began by seeing how Pharaoh’s heart even after nine plagues was still unmoved, a mistake that cost him and the kingdom their children. Here is the thing, every year we get closer to that day when God will issue an even greater judgment to those not washed by the blood of the One who paid the price that we could not pay.
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