Pharaoh was the ruler of Egypt. God's people, the Hebrews,
were Pharaoh's slaves. God sent Moses to talk to Pharaoh and tell him that God
wanted him to let His people go. God hardened Pharaoh's heart (made him stubborn)
through 10 plagues before he let God's people go free. Even after Pharaoh
finally agreed to set the Hebrews free, he changed his mind and with all his
horsemen and chariots, they chased Moses and the Hebrews into the Red Sea that
God had parted for the Hebrew's to cross. But Moses stretched his hand out over
the Red Sea after the Hebrews were safely across, and God closed the waters over
Pharaoh and his army so that not one of them lived.
Moses and Aaron have arrived in
Egypt and have spoken to the elders of the children of Israel telling them
of God’s plan to deliver them from the bondage of Pharaoh the king of Egypt. The people
believed and worshipped God for having compassion on them.
Moses and Aaron, then went to Pharaoh
and told him that the God of Israel said, Let my people go, so they can
worship me in the wilderness. Pharaoh answered, Who is the Lord that I
should obey his voice and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I won’t
let Israel go. They repeated God’s command and the king of Egypt refused
again, then asked them, Why do you take the people away from their work?
The same day, Pharaoh ordered the
taskmasters to stop giving the people straw to make brick and make them get
the straw themselves, but the quota of bricks remained the same. Pharaoh
said, If the people don’t have anything better to do than cry, Let us go and
sacrifice to our God, then make them do more work to keep them busy and they
won’t have time for empty promises.
The people were scattered throughout
Egypt to find grass instead of straw and the taskmasters drove them to
produce as much as they had before when there was straw. So their
daily workload was much harder.
The Israelite officers, that the
taskmasters put in charge over the people, were beaten and asked, Why haven’t
you done your job in making brick yesterday and today like before? The
officers of the children of Israel went to Pharaoh and pleaded, Why are you
treating us this way? There is no straw given to us and the taskmasters
demand brick, then they beat us, but it is the fault of your own people.
But Pharaoh insisted that the people
didn’t have enough to do if they had time to ask to go sacrifice to their
Lord. He sent them back to work and didn’t give them straw, but required
the same amount of bricks.
The officers of the children of Israel
knew that there was trouble coming because their task was impossible now.
They met Moses and Aaron as they left talking to Pharaoh and they said, May
the Lord look on you and judge because you have made us to stink in the eyes
of Pharaoh and his servants to put a sword in their hand to kill us.
Moses felt bad for them and he said to
the Lord, Why have you done this to these people? Why have you sent me?
Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has treated them
badly and you haven’t saved your people at all.
So, just as God had warned Moses,
Pharaoh didn’t listen and his heart was hardened. Moses had to expect
Pharaoh’s resistance but making bricks without straw was something Moses
knew simply couldn’t be done and he didn’t understand why God would let such
evil befall them when it was His plan to deliver them.
Find out how God replies to Moses and the next part of God’s plan to make
Pharaoh let His people go. That’s our next story in the next chapter.
When we left off, Moses had gone to Pharaoh and
told him the message that God sent, to let His people go. Pharaoh, saying
that the if the Israelites were thinking such things, they must have too
much time on their hands, ordered that no more straw be given to the
Israelites, but demanded the same amount of bricks be made each day. The
officers of the children of Israel that Pharaoh’s taskmasters had put in
charge of them were beaten when the bricks weren’t made.
They told Moses what happened and
Moses returned to the Lord and asked, Why have you treated these people like
this? Why did you send me? And God said to Moses, Now you’ll see what I’ll
do to Pharaoh. With my power, he’ll let MY PEOPLE go and with my power,
he’ll drive them out of his land.
God said to Moses, I am the Lord and I
appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by my
name JEHOVAH, they didn’t know me. I began my covenant with them, to give
them the land of Canaan, the land of their journeying where they were
strangers. I’ve heard their crying because the Egyptians keep them in
bondage and I remember my promise. So say to the children of Israel, I am
the Lord and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians
and I’ll free you with great justice. And I will take you to be my people,
and I will be to you a God and you’ll know that I am the Lord your God who
saved you. I will bring you to the land that I promised to Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob and I’ll give it to you to own forever, I am the Lord.
That, friends, was God’s answer to the
question ... "Why did you send me?"
Moses told the children of Israel what
the Lord said, but they wouldn’t listen because their spirits were so
anguished from the cruelty they were facing. God told Moses to go and tell
Pharaoh again to let His people go. Moses said, The children of Israel
didn’t listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to someone like me who isn’t
even considered an Israelite?
The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron
again and told them it was their responsibility to the children of Israel
and to command Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the children of Israel out of
the land of Egypt.
If you would like, you can read
through all the names of the heads of the tribes of Israel that were in
Egypt that Moses was to help deliver. They are listed in
Exodus 6:14-25. We won’t list them all here, but keep in mind that the
bloodline is an important thing and it’s particularly interesting when you
do specific studies of a certain tribe or person. In any case, at the end
of this chapter, Moses repeated that the Lord told him to speak to Pharaoh
and tell him everything that He said. And he also repeated that he didn’t
think that Pharaoh would listen to him.
There have been times in all of our
lives when we’ve done something that we just can’t believe we did, because
we thought we couldn’t. The truth is, there are many things we can’t and
didn’t do on our own. Without the words of God, without the hand of God,
without the will of God … well, just ask Moses if he could have gone in to
speak to Pharaoh without God. Sometimes it takes some nudging by the Lord
to get us to finally give Him our attention, surrender our pride and let Him
work through us. Just because your umbrella doesn’t turn into a serpent
doesn’t mean that God doesn’t work through you in other ways. Let’s keep an
eye on how God used Moses through this study of Exodus and try to recognize
in our own lives when the Lord is using us to help someone He loves in one
way or another.
In our next chapter, we’ll find out Pharaoh’s reaction as Moses and Aaron show
him the signs that the Lord showed them. What will it take to soften
Pharaoh’s hardened heart and let God’s people go?
When we left
off last time, God told Moses to go back to Pharaoh a second time and tell
him to let His people go. Moses, still not convinced that he was the man
for the job asked God, Why should Pharaoh listen to me, of all people?
God answered, You see, I have made you
a god to Pharaoh and Aaron will be your prophet. You’ll tell Aaron
everything that I say and Aaron will tell Pharaoh to send the children of
Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and show many
signs in the land of Egypt, but Pharaoh won’t listen to you. I will lay my
hand upon Egypt (when God says something is done by His hand, it means by
His power) and bring out my armies, and my people out of Egypt with great
justice. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out
my hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
So Moses and Aaron did what the Lord
told them to do. Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when they went to
speak to Pharaoh. Forty years has passed since Moses killed the Egyptian.
Now you may be wondering, because it’s
been mentioned a few times now, why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart. Well,
these were God’s people and He not only wanted to free them from slavery in
Egypt but He also wanted to show the Egyptians that He is God. You can bet
that the Egyptians wouldn’t believe it if Pharaoh let over 600,000 slaves go
free just because an 80 year old man suddenly showed up on Pharaoh’s
doorstep one day out of nowhere with his big brother and said, okey dokey,
you’re gonna free all the Israelites that have slaved for the last 430 years
making Egypt a rich nation. You can see that it just couldn’t happen that
way. No, ladies and gentlemen, God would have to show them a thing or ten.
Don’t forget about what God told Abraham about blessing those who blessed
him and cursing those who cursed him,
Genesis 12:3. If you remember, when Joseph was alive in Egypt, the
Pharaoh at that time was kind to Israel,
Genesis 47:5-6, and Egypt prospered better than any other nation through
the great famine. Egypt wasn’t going to get away with the imprisoning
of God’s people without some consequences. Just a lil Daily Bread
Crumb for ya.
Getting back to our story, God told
Moses, Pharaoh will want you to show him a miracle. You will tell Aaron,
Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh and it’ll become a
serpent. So they went in to Pharaoh and did what the Lord told them in
front of Pharaoh and his servants and the staff became a serpent.
Pharaoh called on his wise men and
wizards and the magicians of Egypt did the same thing with their witchery.
They all threw down their staffs and they became serpents, but Aaron’s staff
swallowed up all of theirs.
And God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and
told Moses, Pharaoh is stubborn, he refuses to let the people go. Go to
Pharaoh in the morning. He will be going to the river. You will wait at
the river’s edge until he gets there. Take the staff with you that was
turned into a serpent. You will say to him, The Lord God of the Hebrews
sent me to you saying, Let my people go so they may serve me in the
wilderness, and you wouldn’t listen. Now the Lord says, By this you will
know that I am the Lord, watch, I will take the staff in my hand and strike
the water in the river and it will turn to blood. The fish in the river
will die, the water will stink and the Egyptians will hate to drink the
The Lord told Moses, Tell Aaron to
take your staff and stretch out your hand on the waters of Egypt, on their
streams, on their rivers, on their ponds and on all their pools of water so
they all may turn to blood and there will be blood through all the land of
Egypt, both in containers of wood and of stone.
So Moses and Aaron did so, and all the
waters of Egypt turned to blood. The fish died, the river stank and the
Egyptians couldn’t drink the water. There was blood throughout all of
The magicians of Egypt did the same
with their witchery and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. He didn’t listen to
Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. (We'll be learning a bit more
about these magicians in a later chapter.)
Pharaoh went home and didn’t let the matter bother
him at all. Pride is a very stubborn thing to overcome. The Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink because
the water in the river was undrinkable.
This was the first plague that God inflicted upon Egypt. The trust
Moses has in God seems to be strengthening as he sees the Lord working
through him. A heartless Pharaoh makes things much worse however as
time goes on.
THE BOOK OF EXODUS
In our last
chapter, God sent a plague into Egypt that turned all the water of the land
into blood because Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel free.
God sent Moses back to talk to Pharaoh
again. This time the message was that if Pharaoh didn’t let God’s people
go, He would send frogs into Egypt. He said, They will come up out of the
river and go into your house, into your bedroom, and on your bed, into your
servants houses, and among all your people. They will be in your ovens, and
where your food is, and everywhere.
God told Moses to tell Aaron, Stretch
out your hand with your staff over the streams and rivers and ponds and make
frogs come up on the land of Egypt. And Aaron did what Moses said. Imagine
if you will, frogs in your own house, all over your kitchen, in the oven,
even in your bed. How disgusting.
Well, those crafty magicians of
Pharaoh’s did the same thing and brought frogs up onto the land of Egypt.
It didn’t take long for this to annoy Pharaoh a bit, and he called for Moses
and Aaron and said, Ask the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my
people and I’ll let the people go so they can do sacrifice to Him.
Moses was very happy about this and to
make sure that credit was given to God, he asked Pharaoh, When do you want
this to happen? Pharaoh answered, Tomorrow. Moses said, It will be as you
say so that you will know there is none like the Lord our God. The frogs
will leave you and your servants and your people, and remain in the river
Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh and Moses
prayed to the Lord with Pharaoh’s request. The Lord answered Moses’ prayer,
and the frogs died. They gathered them together in piles and the land stank
terribly. When Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart
again and didn’t keep his promise to let God’s people go.
So the Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron
to stretch out his staff and strike the dust of the land so that it becomes
lice throughout the land of Egypt. Aaron did what Moses said and the dust
of Egypt became lice on man and beast. You know, it makes a person itch
just thinking about it. It seems silly to want more lice, but Pharaoh’s
magicians tried to do the same thing with magic, but they couldn’t. They
told Pharaoh, This is the finger of God, meaning only God could do this.
But Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened and he would not listen.
Next, the Lord said to Moses, Get up
early in the morning and go to Pharaoh at the river again, and say to him,
God says, Let my people go, so they may serve me, and if you don’t, watch
tomorrow, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your
people and into your houses and all over the land. But I will protect
Goshen, where my people live, and no flies will be there.
The next day the Lord sent the flies
and the land of Egypt was filthy with them. Now a few dozen flies can ruin
just about anything, but swarms of them must have been horrendous. They
irritated Pharaoh enough to call for Moses and Aaron again and he said, Go
and sacrifice to your God here in this land.
Moses said, We will go three days’
journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he will
command us. Pharaoh relented, I’ll let you go, only ask for me, that you
don’t go very far away. Moses answered, I’ll ask the Lord to take the flies
away tomorrow, but don’t lie again and not let the people go. He left
Pharaoh’s presence and entreated the Lord, and the Lord removed the swarms
of flies so that not a single one remained. And you guessed it, Pharaoh
hardened his heart this time too, and would not let God’s people go.
Four plagues have been brought upon Pharaoh now and he acts like it’s a game
between him and God, but we all know that trying to deceive God will only
end in disaster.
Our last couple of chapters have been about the
plagues that God has brought on Pharaoh and Egypt because Pharaoh would not
free the children of Israel from slavery.
Moses, although his confidence was a
little shaky at first, has gained faith with God’s hand helping him. Egypt
has had their water turned to blood, frogs, lice and swarms of flies to deal
with, and Pharaoh still refused to let the people go.
The Lord told Moses, Go talk to
Pharaoh and tell him, The Lord God of the Hebrews says, Let my people go so
they can serve me. If you don’t let them go, tomorrow I will strike your
cattle, your horses, your mules, camels, oxen and sheep. There will be a
very terrible disease that kills them, but the cattle of my people will not
suffer. Not a one of their animals will die. Notice that God set appointed
times for the plagues so there was no doubt as to who was causing them.
The next day, all the cattle of Egypt
died, but of the cattle of the children of Israel, not a single one died.
Pharaoh still wouldn’t let them go.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Take
handfuls of ashes from the furnace and let Moses sprinkle it toward the
heaven so that Pharaoh can see you. It will become small dust in all the
land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out with blisters on man and
beast in all the land of Egypt.
When Moses did this, Pharaoh’s
magicians couldn’t even try their magic in front of Moses because they were
covered with boils. The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he didn’t listen,
just as He had said to Moses.
Let's talk about these magicians, shall we? These weren't magicians
like the ones at a child's birthday party, in fact, Paul likens them to men
with reprobate minds:
2 Timothy 3:8
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the
truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
When trying to apply how this story could possibly
affect us as Christians today, the End Times comes to mind, when the false
prophet deceives those still on earth.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from
heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
And deceiveth them that dwell on the
earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the
sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they
should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and
So don't be deceived by diviners or necromancers or fortune tellers or
anything of the sort!
Then the Lord said to Moses, Get up
early in the morning and go to Pharaoh and tell him, The Lord God of the
Hebrews says, Let my people go so that they may serve me. This time I will
send all my plagues on your heart and on your servants and on your people so
you will know that there is none like me in all the earth. This time I will
strike you and your people with plagues and you will be cut off from the
earth. This is the reason you are here, so that I can show my power and
that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. And you still think
you’re better than my people and won’t let them go? Tomorrow at about this
time I will make it rain a terrible hail, like Egypt has never seen from the
beginning until now.
Pharaoh’s people who feared the word
of the Lord brought their servants into their houses and whoever didn’t
regard the Lord’s warning left their servants in the fields.
The Lord told Moses to stretch out his
hand toward heaven to bring hail to all the land of Egypt. Moses stretched
out his staff toward heaven and the Lord sent thunder and hail and fire ran
along on the ground in the land of Egypt unlike Egypt had ever seen since it
became a nation. The hail was so heavy that the plants and trees were all
broken and the only thing that remained was the wheat and the rye that had
not grown up yet. Only in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel
were, there was no hail or fire.
This gave Pharaoh a little bit of a
scare and he called for Moses and Aaron and said, I have sinned this time.
The Lord is righteous and I and my people are wicked. Pray to the Lord that
there be no more thunder and hail and I’ll let you go. Well, Moses had
heard that song before and he said to Pharaoh, As soon as I’m outside the
city, I’ll open my hands to the Lord and the thunder and hail will stop so
that you’ll know that the earth belongs to God. But as for you and your
servants, I know you don’t fear the Lord yet. You can well imagine that
Moses wasn’t slow of speech when he said that!
When Pharaoh saw that the thunder and
hail and fire had stopped, he sinned even more and he and his people still
wouldn’t let God’s people go, just as the Lord had told Moses.
Pharaoh certainly is obstinate. Moses
has has his number though and is even bold enough to call him a liar to his
face. The plagues are getting worse with each one, and so far there have
been seven plagues on Pharaoh and Egypt. In our next chapter, we’ll find out
about more and we’ll see if Pharaoh changes his tune at all.
We’re about ¼ of the way through the book of
Exodus now and we’re learning about the plagues that God brought upon
Pharaoh and Egypt because he wouldn’t let the children of Israel out of
bondage. Moses and his brother Aaron are our key figures in the story as
they do God’s will and take His messages to Pharaoh.
The Lord told Moses, Go back to
Pharaoh and know that I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his
servants so I can show my signs to them. You’ll be able to tell your son
and your grandson the things I’ve done in Egypt, to show that I am the Lord.
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and
said, The Lord God of the Hebrews says, How long will you refuse to bow down
to me. Let my people go so they may serve me. If you don’t, tomorrow I’ll
bring locusts into your land and they’ll cover the face of the earth, so
many that you can’t see the ground and they’ll eat whatever survived the
hail. Your fathers and your grandfathers have never seen so many locusts to
tell about from the time they lived until today.
When Moses and Aaron had finished
telling Pharaoh about the plague of the locusts, they left and Pharaoh’s
servants said to him, How long will this man disrupt us? Let the people go
and serve the Lord their God. Haven’t you learned yet that Egypt is
Moses and Aaron were brought back to
Pharaoh and he said to them, Go, serve the Lord your God, but who exactly
will go? And Moses answered, We’ll go with our young and with our old, our
sons and daughters, our flocks and our herds. All of us will go, because we
must hold a feast to the Lord.
But, Pharaoh started playing games.
And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go,
and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Then he said, Not
so: go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for that ye did desire.
Pharaoh was suggesting that only the men go and not the children. And they
were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
course this was not acceptable as it was not God's will ... The Lord told
Moses to stretch out his hand over the land of Egypt so the locusts would
come to the land and eat everything growing in the land that the hail had
left. So Moses stretched out his staff over the Land of Egypt, and the Lord
brought an east wind that lasted all day and all night and when the morning
dawned, the east wind brought the locusts.
The locusts covered the land from
border to border. There have never been so many locusts anywhere and there
never will be again. There were so many that the land was darkened and they
ate every single thing that remained from the hail.
Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in
a hurry and said, I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you.
Forgive me I beg you, just this once and ask the Lord your God to take away
this grief only.
Moses left Pharaoh and prayed. The
Lord sent a strong west wind that took away the locusts into the Red sea.
Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. But the Lord
hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he wouldn’t let the children of Israel go.
The Lord told Moses, Stretch out your
hand toward Heaven, so that darkness falls over the land of Egypt, even
darkness which may be felt. Now that doesn’t sound like your usual
darkness. This was darkness that was darker than dark. And Moses stretched
out his hand toward Heaven and there was a thick darkness in all the land of
Egypt for three days. They couldn’t see one another or move for three days,
but all the children of Israel had light in their homes.
Pharaoh called for Moses and said, Go,
serve the Lord, only your flocks and your herds will stay. Let your little
ones go with you too. Moses said, You must give us sacrifices and burnt
offerings too so we may sacrifice them to the Lord our God. Our cattle will
go with us, and not a single hoof will be left behind. We must take
everything to serve the Lord because we don’t know what we’ll need to serve
Him with, until we get there.
But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart
still, and he wouldn’t let them go. And Pharaoh said to Moses, Go away,
mind your own business, and don’t let me see your face again, because the
day you see my face, you will die. And Moses answered to Pharaoh, You said
it well, I will never see your face again.
That’s nine plagues for Pharaoh now.
From what Moses just said, it looks like things will be coming to a
conclusion very soon for Pharaoh. You won’t want to miss what happens next!
It’s time in God’s plan to bring
everything to a memorable conclusion for Pharaoh. The Lord said to Moses,
I’m going to bring just one more plague to Pharaoh and Egypt and after that,
he’ll let you go. When he lets you go, he will throw you out altogether.
Go and tell the people to ask their
neighbors for jewels of silver and gold. And God gave his people approval
in the Egyptians eyes and Moses was very respected by Pharaoh’s servants and
Moses told the people, both the
Egyptians and the children of Israel, This is what the Lord says: About
midnight I will go out amidst Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of
Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on the throne to the
firstborn of the maidservant that works behind the mill and all the
firstborn of the beasts.
There will be a dreadful cry
throughout all the land of Egypt like there has never been before or will
ever be again. But of the children of Israel, none will be harmed so that
you’ll know how the Lord feels differently about the Egyptians and Israel.
And all of Pharaoh’s servants shall bow themselves to me and say, Get out
and all the people that follow you, and after that I will go out. Moses was
very angered when he left Pharaoh.
Then the Lord told Moses, Pharaoh will
not listen to you so that my wonders may grow in the land of Egypt. Moses
and Aaron did all these wonders in front of Pharaoh and the Lord hardened
Pharaoh’s heart so that he wouldn’t let the children of Israel go out of his
Let’s talk about Moses’ character for
a moment. It bears mentioning that Moses believes strongly in justice.
Don’t forget that forty years earlier, he killed an Egyptian that was
beating a Hebrew slave, and Moses, even though he was by blood a Hebrew, was
raised as an Egyptian. However, in the name of justice, he felt it
necessary to defend righteousness. It’s no wonder that by the time he
delivered the announcements of 10 plagues on Pharaoh and Egypt, that he
would become a little angry with Pharaoh. And it’s no wonder that God chose
Moses for the job of delivering His people out of bondage in Egypt.
In the next chapter, we’ll
find out more about this last plague on Pharaoh, and how the children of
Israel were protected from it. It’s called the Passover.
We’re studying the book of Exodus and when we left
off, Moses had just given Pharaoh the message from God that every firstborn
of both man and beast of the Egyptians will die if he doesn’t let the
children of Israel go. Pharaoh, although he has seen nine plagues from God,
one by one destroying his kingdom, still has a heart of stone and will not
let God’s people go.
The Lord talked to Moses and Aaron in
Egypt saying, This month will be the beginning of the year to you. Tell all
the children of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, every man will
take a lamb for his house, and if one lamb is too much for your family to
eat, you will share with your neighbor. The lamb should be without spot, a
male of the first year and you will separate it from the sheep and the goats
and keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole
congregation of Israel will kill it in the evening.
Take the blood of the lamb and put it
on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses where you
will eat it. Eat it that same night, roasted with fire, and unleavened
bread and with bitter herbs. Don’t eat it raw or boiled at all with water,
but roasted with fire, with his head and his legs and organs included.
Don’t leave any for the morning, and whatever is left over in the morning,
burn it with fire. Eat it fully dressed, with shoes on your feet and your
staff in your hand and you will eat it quickly, it is the Lord’s Passover.
I will pass through the land of Egypt that night and will kill all the
firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast and against all the gods
of Egypt, I will perform justice, I am the Lord.
The blood will be a sign on the houses
where you are and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague
will not destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day will be a
memorial for you and you will keep it a holy day to the Lord throughout all
your generations for ever.
For seven days you
will eat unleavened bread. The first day you will take all leaven out
of your houses and whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the
seventh day, that person will be cut off from Israel.
On the first day and on the seventh
day you will hold a holy ceremony. No manner of work will be done on those
days except for cooking what you will eat. That is the only work that may
And you will celebrate the feast of
unleavened bread because on that day I have brought your crowds of people
out of the land of Egypt, so you will keep this day holy in your generations
by a law for ever.
In the first month on the fourteenth
day of the month, at evening, you will eat unleavened bread until the twenty
first day of the month at evening. For seven days, no leaven will be in
your houses because whoever eats what is leavened, that person will be cut
off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or born in the
land. You will eat nothing leavened, in all your homes you will eat
Did you ever notice that the children
of Israel were
saved by the blood of the
and we as Christians are saved by the blood of the Lamb of God? It is not a
coincidence that Jesus died for us at Passover, and that He, like the
sheep in the Passover was unblemished.
The Lord’s Passover was a shadow of
things to come and to show you how important that is, God even told them
that it was a law to observe this holy day and whoever didn’t, that soul
would be cut off from the children of Israel. That’s a pretty serious
continue with our next chapter,
we’ll find out more about the Passover as Moses guides the children of
Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Moses gathered all the elders of
Israel together and told them, Everyone take a lamb for your family and kill
the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, (a plant used by the Hebrews for
sprinkling blood when purifying things) dip it in the blood of the lamb and
strike the side posts and the upper door post of your houses. Don’t go out
of your house until morning. The Lord will pass through to kill the
Egyptians and when He sees the blood on your doorposts, He’ll pass over the
door and won’t let the destroyer come in to your houses to kill you.
You must remember this thing and
observe this holy day. You must pass it on to the generations after you for
ever. When you get to the land that the Lord will give you as He promised,
you must celebrate this holy day and when your children ask you what it
means you will tell them, It is to remember the Lord’s Passover, when He
passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he killed
the Egyptians and saved our families.
The people bowed their heads and
thanked God and they went to their homes and did what the Lord commanded
Moses and Aaron.
That night at midnight the Lord killed
all the firstborn of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on the
throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon and all the firstborn
of the cattle. And Pharaoh woke in the night, he and all his servants and
all the Egyptians and there was a great cry in Egypt. There wasn’t one
single house where there wasn’t one dead.
Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron
immediately and said, Get out from among my people, both you and the
children of Israel. Go serve the Lord as you asked. Take your flocks and
your herds and go, and bless me also.
The Egyptians insisted to send God’s
people away in a hurry because they feared for their lives. So the children
of Israel took their bowls of unleavened dough and wrapped them up in
clothes on their shoulders and they borrowed jewels of gold and silver and
clothing from the Egyptians just as Moses told them to do.
The Egyptians were supportive of God’s
people and they lent them everything they asked for and the children of
Israel plundered the Egyptians. They traveled from Rameses in the land of
Goshen to Succoth, about 30 miles. There were about 600,000 on foot that
were men, beside children. Their flocks and their herds and all their
cattle were with them too.
Now here’s a little unleavened Daily
Bread crumb for you. The Lord knew that His people would be hurried out of
Egypt and that is why He said that they should have unleavened bread in
their houses. They baked their unleavened cakes of dough and they didn’t
have any other food prepared.
The very day that the children of
Israel were in Egypt for 430 years, all the hosts (multitudes) of the Lord
went out of the land of Egypt. It is a night of watching, and for the
children of Israel to honor the Lord for ever, for bringing them out of
bondage in Egypt.
God gave Moses and Aaron the laws of
the Passover celebration. No stranger should eat the Passover. For an
owned servant to eat it, he must first follow the Hebrew customs.
Foreigners and hired servants may not eat it. It will be eaten in one
house, not carried out of the house or any bones of it broken. (Not one of
Jesus bones were broken either.) All the congregation of Israel will honor
the holy day. When a stranger stays with you and wants to celebrate the
Passover, all the males of his house must follow the Hebrew customs and
become as one that is born in the land. The same one law applies to both
the home born and the stranger that stays with you.
All the children of Israel followed
what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. And the very same day, the Lord
brought His children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
They were called armies because army means a great multitude and each of the
twelve tribes stayed together in groups. God referred to them as His
When we come back next time, we’ll
talk more about Israel’s exodus from Egypt and Pharaoh’s reaction after they
left. Remember first he refused to let them go, then he said you can
sacrifice to God here in Egypt. Then he said, go, but not far. Then, only
the men can go. Then, you and your little ones can go, but your flocks and
herds stay. Each time, Pharaoh changed his mind and wouldn’t let them go at
all. Is the death of his firstborn enough to make him honest this time and
soften his heart?
We learned about the unleavened bread
and a little bit about the Passover celebration that God told the Hebrews to
observe each year, and now it’s time for a little trivia!
When God told
Moses how He wanted Passover to be celebrated each year by the Hebrews, He
said, This month will be the first month of the year to you (Exodus 12:2).
Now that wasn’t in January. In Hebrew, it’s called Abib. The Hebrew
calendar has 360 days in the year. Over the centuries mankind (not God) has
found it necessary to create a calendar for their own convenience and have
disregarded the plan that the creator of time had in mind. The “new and
improved” calendar has even been changed a number of times and it seems that
because nobody knows the exact calculations of when one calendar was
retired and another implemented, it makes it very difficult to figure some
things out concerning dates.
This much, we
do know … the current calendar that we use has 365 days in a year. Over a
period of 6000 years (which is an approximation of how long it’s been since
the creation of man, you can understand why adding 5 days per year to God’s
time clock of 360 days/year would cause the seasons to be out of place.
Now many say
that it was necessary to “adjust” God’s calendar because of the moon or some
such reason. Do you think “Father Time” didn’t consider those things when
He created the world? Does He not know everything? He does. This is just
an example of how man can never, no matter how smart he thinks he is,
improve what God has done (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Now, back to
our story. The Lord said to Moses, Sanctify unto me all the firstborn,
among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. What
does that mean … sanctify? Sanctify means to set apart for a sacred
purpose. It also means to free from sin or to purify. Moses will explain
this better in just a moment.
Moses spoke to
the people and told them again about keeping the service of the Passover and
the unleavened bread. He told them to pass this on to their children and
when their children ask why, to tell them it’s because of the greatness of
the Lord when He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Moses' way of
relating to the Hebrews, what God said, was just so awesome. Here is an
example of that, concerning Passover. “And it shall be for a sign unto thee
upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law
may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out
of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in His season from year
explained in detail about sanctifying the firstborn. God saved the
firstborn of the Israelites during the Passover, so every firstborn belongs
to Him. Of every firstborn that comes from a beast, the males are the
Lord’s. They must be sacrificed to God. Every firstborn mule should be
substituted with a lamb to sacrifice, and if they didn’t, the mule’s neck
must be broken. Of course, God didn’t want them to kill the children as a
sacrifice to him, as the lambs are but for every firstborn child a sacrifice
must be made. Leviticus 12:6-8 explains that a firstling lamb and a young
pigeon or turtledove was redeemed for the child and offered to God, but if a
lamb couldn’t be given, then two turtledoves or two pigeons would be
Pharaoh let the people go, God didn’t lead them through the land of the
Philistines even though it was the shortest route. God thought that if the
Hebrews saw war there they would regret and return to Egypt. Instead, God
led the people through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea and they
went out of the land of Egypt armed.
this. This shows the integrity that the man of Moses possessed. When he
left Egypt, Moses took the bones of Joseph (Jacob's son) with him
because before Joseph died, he made an oath with his children saying that
God would surely come to visit (help) them and “ye shall carry up my bones
from hence.” (Genesis 50:25) You may remember that, and think, “That is so
considerate of him,” but when you think of the responsibility that Moses had
on his shoulders and to do all that it involved to exhume and transport a
man’s bones who died over 400 years past, is truly admirable.
Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. The Lord led the
way in front of them in a pillar of a cloud and by night in a pillar of fire
so they could travel day and night.
it. You are with 600,000 of your relatives and people. You’ve just been
freed from slavery that your family and people have endured for 430 years.
You have taken the Egyptians riches with you and you’re on your way to the
Promised Land with the Lord leading the way in front of you in a cloud by
day and fire by night. You have no food except unleavened bread. You’re
about to follow an 80 year old man who is going to take you (on foot) about
600 miles. It’s quite a scenario.
If you hadn’t
seen the wonders that God performed in Egypt with your own eyes, you might
be thinking about finding a new travel agent, but with bricks and no straw
on the one hand, and a land flowing with milk and honey on the other,
traveling with God looks like the definite choice to make.
Let’s continue following Moses and the children of Israel as they travel
through the wilderness in our next chapter.
Welcome to the wilderness of Egypt.
We're following Moses and the children of Israel as they make their
exodus from Egypt. We have the Lord leading in a pillar of a cloud by day
and a pillar of fire by night.
The Lord told Moses to take the
children of Israel to camp by the sea and Pharaoh will think that they’re
trapped and the wilderness has shut them in. Pharaoh’s heart and all of his
servants was turned against God’s people AGAIN and they said, Why did we do
this? Why did we let Israel go free from serving us? You didn’t really
think Pharaoh’s heart would ever soften, did you? Neither did God. (Wink)
Pharaoh got his chariot and took his
people with him with all the chariots of Egypt and captains over each one
and they followed the children of Israel. They caught up with them camped
by the sea and when God’s people saw that the Egyptians chased them, they
were very afraid and they cried out to the Lord.
They said to Moses, Did you bring us
to die in the wilderness because there were no graves in Egypt? Why have
you done this to us? Didn’t we tell you in Egypt to leave us be and let us
serve the Egyptians? It would have been better to serve the Egyptians than
to die in the wilderness. Surely they were afraid that Egypt would capture
them and they would be put through worse turmoil than being beaten for not
making enough bricks without straw.
Moses however had seen the Lord work
His wonders against Pharaoh and Egypt ten times now and his faith was firm.
He answered the people, Don’t be afraid, stand still and watch the salvation
of the Lord that He will show you today. The Egyptians that you’ve seen
today, you’ll never see again for ever. The Lord will fight for you and
you’ll keep your freedom.
The Lord said to Moses, Talk to my
people, tell them to go forward. Lift up your staff and stretch out your
hand over the sea and divide it, and my people will walk on dry ground
through the middle of the sea. I’ll harden the hearts of the Egyptians and
they’ll follow them and I’ll get my revenge on Pharaoh and all his people,
his chariots and his horsemen, and after that, they’ll know that I am the
The angel of God that was in front of
the camp of Israel in the pillar of the cloud, went and stood behind them
between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. It was a cloud of
darkness to the Egyptians but it gave light to Israel so that the Egyptians
couldn’t reach God’s people all the night long.
Moses stretched out his hand over the
sea and the Lord caused the sea to go back with a strong east wind all that
night and made the sea dry land. The waters were divided and God’s people
went into the middle of the sea on dry ground. The waters were like walls
to their right and to their left.
Pharaoh and the Egyptians, his horses
and his chariots and his horsemen all pursed after them into the middle of
the sea. At dawn, the Lord looked at the Egyptians through the pillar of
fire and of the cloud and troubled them by taking off their chariot wheels.
The Egyptians said, We’d better run from Israel, the Lord is fighting for
When the Israelites had reached the
other side, the Lord told Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea so the
water will close on the Egyptians, their chariots and their horsemen. So
Moses did, and the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen
and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not a single
one of them lived. God’s people saw the Egyptians dead on the sea shore and
Israel feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses.
It must have been so amazing. There is no strength like God’s
strength. There is no one as clever. His humor is incomparable
and His grace is the most astounding of all. His people doubted Him so
many times, as you’ve seen several times and will see still more, and yet He
stretched out His hands to them over and over again.