ISRAELITES – GOD’S PEOPLE
God’s actions may seem very extreme in this story. Remember, though, that Pharaoh was subjecting the Israelites to terrible slavery, and demanding an impossible amount of work from them. The Israelites – God’s chosen people – were being beaten and abused when they could not complete the work. God had given Pharaoh nine warnings, complete with plagues, before this final “passing over.” But Pharaoh refused, and only treated the Israelites more harshly.
Do you remember the beginning of Moses’ story? Why did Moses’ mom place him in a basket in the river? (Pharaoh was having every Hebrew boy baby killed at birth.) So God’s actions were merciful. Killing only the first born Egyptian male protected many, many Israelite babies – far more than were killed among the Egyptians. God wanted to protect his people, and to free them from slavery.
This story of the Passover sets the stage for something that would happen thousands of years later, when another “first born son” would be sacrificed to free God’s people from slavery. Do you know what that might be? God sacrificed his own son so that all people could be freed from slavery. But, the slavery that Christ frees us from is slavery to sin – being tied to our own wants and desires, like being unkind to others, thinking only of ourselves and not about pleasing God by helping those around us. God didn’t ask anything of the Egyptians that he wasn’t willing to give himself – the sacrifice of his only Son.
So, when we think of the story of the Passover, let us be thankful to God, for freeing his people from slavery in Egypt, and for giving us his own son so that we can be freed from our sins, and have the rewards of eternal life with Jesus in heaven.
Let us pray: Merciful Father, thank you for giving us your only Son, Jesus, so that we can be freed from our sins and have eternal life with you in Heaven.