God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February 2 - Exodus 10-12: God Kills the Firstborn of Egypt

Today’s Reading: Exodus 10-12

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

(Repeat of yesterday's thought)
God is proving his power and ability to Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

To show His power, God brought locusts. Pharaoh did not change.
God brought darkness. Pharaoh did not change.
God would bring a final plague to distinguish the Israelites as His Chosen People: kill the firstborn of every Egyptian family.
God told Israel to take a yearling lamb, slaughter it, eat it completely in one night (share if necessary), and place blood on their doorposts. He would kill all Egyptian firstborn.
After God killed the firstborn, Pharaoh changed.
God told the people to remember that day as Passover. All people who celebrated Passover should be circumcised and treated as native Israelite.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God's show of power is explicit: to show the Egyptians that He is God.

(Repeat of yesterday's comment)
All of the plagues come for one reason. God will show the Egyptians that He is the Creator of the universe and that He will be respected. Every time Pharaoh stubbornly refuses to obey, God punishes the Egyptian people more. Remember, whether Pharaoh is to blame for this or not is not the purpose of the text. Showing God's power is the purpose of the text. God's punishment is to convince others to respect Him, not to destroy a nation or people.

God is preparing the Israelites for 40 years of living with no income.

This idea comes from what would happen later when Jesus was born. God knows that the Israelites would be in the wilderness for a long time without having an income. To help them prepare for this he had the Egyptian people give them gold and silver. It seems like remuneration for lost wages during their time in slavery until you realize where the Israelites are headed.
Also lost in the magnificence of this dense passage is the little nugget that the Egyptian people liked the Israelites. Most people in any given culture are not evil/bad and any attempts to portray them as such should be punished. However, this did not spare the Egyptian people from the plagues.

The Egyptian people were punished alongside Pharaoh.

Why would God punish a group of people who liked and were willing to give to His Chosen People? This is very difficult to swallow. But, I believe the reason is simple. The common people are rewarded or punished by the righteousness or lack thereof of their leaders. This is why choosing leaders who respect God is essential. The nation will only go as far as their leaders can take them.

The Passover could only be observed by those initiated into the community.

Slaves could participate only if they were circumcised (the defining feature of Israelite men). Foreigners and travelers were only allowed to eat if they were circumcised (joined the community). However, all who observed were treated as equals. God shows no partiality. If someone wishes to be part of the Chosen People, they must join the Chosen People. All people inside the community enjoy the privileges of being Chosen. (Note: to me, Chosen ≠ Saved) This will be seen again and again when Moses gives the Israelites the Law.

What did you see reading this passage? Questions? Comments? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.

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