Last week we blazed through five chapters, seeing God speaking through Moses to let His people go, Pharaoh refusing, and judgment coming. There have been nine judgments so far:
Water turned to blood
Swarms of frogs
Swarms of gnats
Swarms of insects
Pestilence on the livestock
Boils and sores on man and beast
Storm of hail and fire
Swarms of locusts
Darkness on the land
But Pharaoh still has not allowed the people to go. His heart has been hardened to the command of God. He tells Moses,
Exod. 10:28-29 ..."Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!" And Moses said, "You are right; I shall never see your face again!"
While Moses is standing there, the Lord speaks to him, telling him what to say before he leaves Pharaoh's presence.
God has promised Moses that the people would be let go. Moses had a faltering of faith early on. When he had asked the first time, and Pharaoh rejected him, Moses said,
Exod. 5:23 "Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he has done harm to this people; and Thou hast not delivered Thy people at all."
But now God gives him the time frame: one more plague. Notice the word God uses here. Pharaoh isn't just going to LET the people go. He is going to DRIVE them out completely. That is much more than Moses could have ever accomplished by himself. This has been God's deliverance.
11:2 Ask From His Neighbor
The Lord reminds Moses of something that He told him back in chapter three:
Exod. 3:21-22 "And I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians."
The word "ask" here is the Hebrew word "shah-AL." The King James renders it "borrow," but it is more accurately translated "ask, require, or demand."
Was this theft? Extortion? Blackmail? No - they were just collecting a little bit of back pay. The Bible tells us,
Luke 10:7 ...The laborer is worthy of his wages."
Remember that the Israelites have been slaves in Egypt for the last 400 years. By their blood, sweat, and tears, they've built the great Egyptian cities and monuments. They've never been paid. Surely, they were owed much more than this.
So it did come about just as the Lord had told him in Pharaoh's presence - that they plundered the Egyptians in this way. Notice that it doesn't say, "and the people realized they owed the Israelites money," or "the people saw what nice folks the Hebrews were." No, it says that the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. This was a miraculous event.
The Lord is not powerless over people. When He wants a situation to develop in a certain way, He causes things to happen. He has the ability to affect circumstances, and people's decisions. As the proverb says,
Prov. 21:1 The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Remember that Caesar Augustus got it into his head to issue a decree that a census would be taken of all the inhabited earth. Was that his idea? No, the Lord directed his heart towards that decision, so that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and thus prophecy would be fulfilled.
The Lord is able to intervene in your circumstances too. Today, people might be looking at you as a slave. But tomorrow God can supernaturally give you favor in their eyes. Today, you might be in a wrong place, but God can and will supernaturally accomplish His will for you by affecting circumstances and hearts.
Before he leaves, Moses tells Pharaoh what God has just revealed to him. All the first-born will die. From Pharaoh's first-born to a cow's first-born.
But this will not happen to the Israelites. God has made a distinction between Egypt and Israel. And we're not going to ask to leave. Your servants will BEG us to go - just as God said that we will be driven out.
Then Moses leaves Pharaoh's presence in anger. Amazing that Pharaoh has let things get to this point. That after all nine plagues, he still refuses to acknowledge the Lord as God.
The Lord marks this new beginning for Israel by rearranging the calendar. The month of Abib (ah-BEEB) becomes the beginning of their year. Today, it is known by the Jews as the month of Nisan (NEE-sahn). The name change took place during the Babylonian captivity, because the Babylonians called the month "Nissanu."
God is giving them instruction for an observance that should take place every year.
* They are to keep a lamb among them for three and a half days. It must be an unblemished male.
* It is to be killed at twilight on the fourteenth of Nisan.
* They were to pour the blood into the basin built into the threshold of your doors, then take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the upper doorpost, the lintel, of their houses.
* Then they were to roast the lamb's flesh in fire and eat the flesh of that lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
* When they ate it, they were to be ready to move - with their loins girded, sandals on, staff in hand. To eat it in haste.
* When God saw the blood on their house, He would pass over it, and this judgment would not destroy them.
* Then from the 14th day until the 21st day, they were to eat unleavened bread. There should not be any leaven found in their houses at all.
* This is the holiday that the Jews were to practice yearly - the passover beginning the seven days of eating Unleavened Bread.
* During this celebration, they should eat the unleavened bread with bitter herbs.
This may all seem like just a bit of Jewish history, until you read in 1Corinthians chapter 5 that Paul calls Jesus "Christ our Passover."
1Cor. 5:7-8 Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
In every detail, the Passover looked back to the time that God's judgment passed over the houses with the lamb's blood on them, and looked forward to the the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ.
* The Lamb was to be kept among them for 3 1/2 days. Jesus walked among us for 3 1/2 years.
* The Lamb was to be an unblemished male. So too, Jesus was unblemished by sin.
* The Lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth of Nisan. Jesus Christ was killed on that same day.
* The blood of the Lamb was to be applied in four places - the top, sides, and bottom of the door - forming the points of the cross, and showing where Jesus' blood would stain the wood - from his head, hands, and feet.
* Once the Lamb was dead, it was to be roasted in fire. Jesus endured the fire of God's judgment, taking the punishment for the world's sin upon Himself, and descending into hell itself.
* The blood on the household caused God's judgment to pass over that place. So too, when we apply the blood of Jesus to our lives, God's judgment passes over us.
* They had to eat the Lamb. We too, must appropriate and internalize Jesus Christ. We do this at the Communion table.
* They had be girded to go. We too, should live in expectancy of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
* Once the Lamb was killed, no leaven was to be eaten or even found in the house. Leaven in the Bible is always a picture of sin, and the same to us. Once we have applied the blood of Jesus Christ to our lives, we must not continue in sin.
* This was to be a celebratory holiday, yet they were also to eat bitter herbs. Why would you celebrate a holiday that puts a bitter taste in your mouth? Because we should joyfully celebrate the salvation that Jesus provided for us, yet constantly be reminded that it was our sin that put Him on the cross. That He suffered and died to provide this salvation for us.
So the judgment did come - in force. All the first-born died that night. Every home not covered by the blood of the lamb experienced the judgment.
And just as God had said, the Israelites were driven from the land.
600,000 Israelite men, plus women and children began the journey out of Egypt. The total has been estimated at about 2 to 3 million people.
Notice that a "mixed multitude" also went with them. This mixed multitude were non-Israelites. They were people that followed the children of God out into the wilderness. They are going to bring the people down. In numbers 11, we read:
Num. 11:4-6 And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna."
Unregenerate people in the midst of the congregation bring down the congregation. Their complaining and lack of faith - their leaven - leavens the whole lump.
God was in control the whole time. He knew the exact day in which the Israelites would be delivered. God knows the day of your deliverance as well.