Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 14 2011 - E100.19b – Exodus 12:29-42, Egypt defeated; Israel liberated

When God met with Moses at the burning bush, he told him, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son'" (Exodus 4:21-23).

Israel is God's firstborn, the heir to all the good things he has to give. If Pharaoh will not let God's firstborn go free, then God will destroy his firstborn and all the firstborn of Egypt. Moses had known that this was how the battle would be played out. Now it has reached its final crisis.

"At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead" (Exodus 12:31-32).

Pharaoh summoned Moses – even though he had said that if he saw Moses again he would have him executed. He tells Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt along with all their livestock and everything they possess. The Lord their God must love them greatly if he will go to such lengths to bring them to himself. Just for a moment, Pharaoh wishes he could have a part in the blessing this God has promised his people; his final plea to Moses is, "And also bless me."

The Israelites – getting on for two million of them – leave Egypt, hastened on by the Egyptians who gave them gold, silver and clothing. They leave a life of slavery to walk into the desert with nothing but the promise that the God of Abraham is with them.

God sacrificed the firstborn of Egypt that he might rescue the Israelites and bring them to himself. But in the Lord Jesus he has done something far more wonderful to secure our redemption; God sacrificed his own firstborn Son for us. And in him we also have been made heirs of God; co-heirs with Christ to all the riches of his kingdom.

God of the covenant, you have freed me from slavery and have called me to yourself. As with Abraham and with Israel, you call me to walk into the unknown with nothing but your promise before me and your presence alongside me. Help me to remember that you have given your Son for me and promise with him to freely give me all things. In the company of your people, help me to follow you in a spirit of joyful expectation.

Peter Misselbrook