And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. (Exodus 12:29-30)
A Night Of Death
The nation of Egypt had been rocked by nine plagues that crippled the economy, devasted the land, and destroyed the spirit of the people. Few realized the frogs, lice, and flies filled their homes because of a stubborn leader. They watched their cattle die. Boils covered the bodies of the innocent. Hail rained down from heaven, followed by a plague of locusts stripping the land of foliage, greenery, and fruit. Pharoah stubbornly refused to acknowledge the one true God, and the people suffered the consequences. Then came the night of thick darkness for three days. The darkness could be felt. Gloom and despair filled the hearts of the people. And then it was gone.
What the people did not know was that as terrible as things had been with nine devastating and destructive pandemics, one final plague would reach every home in Egypt. Pharoah hardened his heart with each plague, refusing to submit to the Lord God Almighty. There was a final plague that would change the heart of Pharoah but only for a short time. The people of Egypt tried to find a way to piece their lives back together. Reeling from the devastation of the nine plagues, the people could not imagine anything worse. They went to bed one night, hoping the rising sun would bring relief from the epidemics that plagued their lives. Little did they know that something more terrible would come upon them at midnight.
The hour of midnight came. At first, it was a slight tremor of sound. A neighbor discovers their firstborn has died, and a wail of grief fills the home. And then another neighbor and another and another, rising into a crescendo of unparalleled horror as home after home is filled with death. Animals are dying unexpectantly. Children suddenly die. Husbands and wives fall over dead. The Egyptian landscape is filled with a great cry, and there was not a house where there was not one dead. In the stately palace of Pharaoh, the firstborn dies. Prisons filled with enslaved subjects find death on every hand. Throughout the land of Egypt, animals fall over dead for no reason. The night of death is darkness filled with the grieving hearts of families finding their loved ones dead.
God warned Pharoah of the consequences of rebellion, but the Egyptian leader rebelled. The judgment against Egypt would be its final blow. After the tenth plague, Pharoah agreed to let the Hebrews leave. He faced a nation brought to its knees by the God of Moses and Aaron. There was nothing he could do, and now he faced a nation overcome with an incredible number of dead sons and daughters and so many, many animals. The Hebrews leave and make their journey toward the Red Sea. When the king of Egypt heard the Hebrews had fled, he assembled his army of six hundred choice chariots and all the chariots of Egypt with their horsemen to attack the Hebrews. Pursuing the Hebrews into the Red Sea, which had parted by the hand of God, allowing the people to walk across on dry land, the mighty Egyptian army tried to overtake their slaves. God took off their chariot wheels and then told Moses to release the waters of the Red Sea to its banks. Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Everyone died. The waters filled with the dead bodies of the Egyptian army.
The night of death was the destruction of human pride and wisdom. There is nothing man can do when he tries to stand against God. While God destroyed the Egyptians, He saved the Hebrews. The wrath of God destroyed idolatry and, by the same power, delivered the people from bondage. In Christ, the night of death came when the Son of God was nailed to a cross. The darkness of the day Jesus died is the judgment against all unrighteousness and the deliverance of all those in sin. There is nothing man can do to save himself. Only through the power of God can one find salvation. The Hebrews obeyed the word of the Lord as the destroyer passed over the blood placed on the doorpost and lintel. God said when He saw the blood, He would pass over. In Jesus Christ, when God sees the blood found in the waters of baptism, He will pass over. If He does not see the blood, a night of death begins. There are two kinds of people in the world: those saved in the blood and those still in darkness. Where are you?