Loving Lord, Your love never lets me down and never lets me go. I praise You for the assurance and confidence that gives me
Read EXODUS 11
The Plague on the Firstborn
11 Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. 2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)
4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
9 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up … How great your faithfulness!’1
This short chapter functions like a hinge – swinging back to God’s promises in earlier chapters and forward to the fulfillment that will follow.
Seven times God (through Moses) had told Pharaoh: ‘Let my people go’. Finally, even his own officials echo this command: ‘Let the people go’.2 Nine plagues later, Pharaoh remains unmoved. God, however, is not taken by surprise. Swing back to God’s promise: ‘I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him.
So I will … strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.’3 The impasse will not last forever. There will be ‘one more plague’ (v 1) and then Pharaoh – who began with blunt refusals and then moved to bullying, bargaining and lies – will bend to God’s will. Not only will he ‘let’ the people go, he will ‘drive [them] out completely’ (v 1). Swing forward to the next chapter and this prediction is fulfilled.4 But at what a painful price. Because Pharaoh had refused to release God’s ‘firstborn son’ Israel, now, in a terrible turning of tables, every firstborn son of Egypt would die (v 5). This, too, had been told to Moses.5
God not only engineered the Exodus, He also made sure His people did not leave empty-handed. They were ‘to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold’ (v 2) and were guaranteed a favorable response (v 3). This, too, swings back to an earlier promise and anticipates yet another fulfilment.6 This silver and gold will later be used in the tabernacle, the portable sanctuary where Israel would worship God in the wilderness,7 for God had made it clear that the reason underlying his command to ‘Let my people go’ was so that ‘they may worship Me in the wilderness.’8
Meditate on a promise of God that has helped you in navigating a difficult present or an uncertain future.
Loving King of my life, forgive me of my sins. Forgive me for being a traitor to Your goodness.
1 Lam 3:22,23, The Message 2 Exod 10:7 3 Exod 3:19,20 4 Exod 12:31,32 5 Exod 4:22,23 6 Exod 3:21,22; 12:35,36 7 Exod 25:1–3; 35:20–24 8 Exod 7:16
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