Exodus 12:12-13 (NRSV) – For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
The LORD did not mince words when He declared his final plague upon Egypt and Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s heart had remained hard and stubborn and he thought that he could beat God. But the battle and the outcome belonged to the LORD. God was going to execute His judgment on them by passing through the land. What happens when God passes through like this? When God comes in judgment, there is death.
Scripture diagnoses sin as a universal deformity of human nature, found at every point in every person (1 Kings 8:46; Rom. 3:9-23; Rom. 7:18; 1 John 1:8-10). Both Testaments have names for it that display its ethical character as rebellion against God’s rule, missing the mark God has set for us to aim at, transgressing God’s law, disobeying God’s directives, offending God’s purity by defiling oneself, and incurring guilt before God the judge. This moral deformity is dynamic: sin stands revealed as an energy of irrational, negative, and rebellious reaction to God’s call and command, a spirit of fighting God in order to play God. The root of sin is pride and enmity against God… [J.I. Packer, Concise Theology]
We sometimes talk about having a “moment of truth”, an “aha!” revelation, where we realize or discover something that was true all along. This can be an intensely happy experience or one that is heart-wrenching, painful and even tragic. Pharaoh and Egypt had their moment of truth for God revealed what had been true all along – how futile their ways and beliefs were, and how tragic life is without truly obeying and worshiping the one true God, the LORD. But the Israelites also received their moment of truth – Ex. 12:13 – “The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” The Israelites thought they only needed rescue from oppression and slavery in Egypt, but they too needed rescue from God’s judgment for they were not exempt. And at the heart of this plague was God’s incredible promise – when I see the blood, I will pass over you.
We too are not exempt from God’s judgment on sin but the same promise of the Old Testament exodus is ours through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that heralds the new exodus –
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5b-7)
Today, let us not mince words as we come to God in prayer. Are you trying to play His role in your life? Are there still areas in your life where you are fighting God? God promises that when He sees Jesus Christ in us, covering us, He will pass over us, so let’s confess and acknowledge the stubborn ways of our hearts to God receiving the washing and renewal of His Spirit who leads us into freedom.