One last plague was coming, the final straw that would finally make Pharaoh give up his slaves.
Moses leaned in to hear what God was planning. The words took Moses’s breath away. “Every firstborn son in the land of Egypt will die.” Death. God had to kill the firstborn sons for Pharaoh to free God’s people. Moses’s heart began to beat quickly. God had said death was going to come to all the firstborn sons living in the land of Egypt, but that’s where all of God’s people lived, too. Still, Moses remembered all the other plagues and thought, God protected us from the gnats that swarmed and the boils that festered and the darkness that overwhelmed. Surely He will keep us safe from the death that is coming. We are His people.
Moses was right. God had a plan to protect His people if the Israelites obeyed exactly as He told them. Every family had to paint the blood from a perfect lamb across the top and sides of the door of their house. When God sent His angel to kill the firstborn sons in Egypt, the angel would see the blood and pass over these houses. The lambs’ deaths would take the place of the firstborn sons of Israel, but the Egyptians did not cover their doors with the blood of lambs. In the houses of the Egyptians, great cries arose in the night as they found their firstborn sons dead, even Pharaoh’s firstborn. He called for Moses and yelled in his face, “Go! Take all your people and all your animals and all your things and leave!” God’s people were free to go and worship Him.
The cost to be paid for the freedom of God’s people was the death of the firstborn sons. God wanted us to see what all it would take for a harsh master to release his slaves. God tells us that we are born as slaves to the harshest of all masters, sin. Sin had us. We belonged to it, as much as the Israelites belonged to Pharaoh. We couldn’t escape its hold on our hearts. God always knew what it would cost for Him to set us free. He knew He was going to send His anger down against us for our sin and that there was only one way He could protect us from Himself. For us to be safe, God put His Son, Jesus, to death and painted His blood over us. He gave us His best and perfect Lamb to make us safe and happily free from sin, our horrible and evil master. He set us free from sin so that we might come and worship Him forever.
God has given us the gospel. He says if we confess that we disobey Him and trust that Jesus died on the cross for all our sins and then rose from the dead, we will be saved from all the punishment of God that is coming for sin (Romans 10:9).
We can hope that God will keep helping us to say no to sin and not let it rule over us anymore. Whenever we listen to the lies of sin in our hearts that tell us not to trust God or worship Him, we are like the Israelites, just going back to work for Pharaoh like nothing had changed.
* Corresponding Jesus Storybook Bible story: "God to The Rescue!"