Exodus 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.
The tenth and final plague would break Pharaoh’s will. Every Israelite family was to slaughter a lamb and apply the blood to the doorframe of their home (Exodus 12:7). When God came to kill every firstborn male, he would see the blood and pass over them. This became known as Passover.
Exodus 12:29-30 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
Pharaoh’s will was finally broken, and Israel was free to go. Passover has been a Jewish holiday ever since, but it is also important for Christians. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7), wrote Paul. Jesus was crucified during the Passover holiday (John 18:39) to fulfill the imagery of the Passover lamb. He does so in other ways as well.
The Passover lamb was to be without defect (Exodus 12:5), and Jesus was without moral defect. The Passover lamb was to be a young male (Exodus 12:5), and Jesus was a young male. Not a bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken (Exodus 12:46), and when the soldiers came to break Jesus’ legs, they saw he was already dead, so none of his bones were broken (John 19:32-33).
The blood of the Passover lamb had to be applied to the door frames of their homes (Exodus 12:33) or it would not save them, and the death of Christ must be personally believed in, or it will not save us. In this, and other ways, the Old Testament looks forward to Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill it (Luke 24:44).
Exodus 14:10 [T]he Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them.
This was a terrifying development for God’s chosen people. After the last plague, Pharaoh gave them permission to leave Egypt, and they assumed the battle was over. Egypt was devastated, Pharaoh’s will was broken, and God’s people were free to begin their journey to the Promised Land. But as Pharaoh watched his labor supply march out of Egypt, he changed his mind. He marshaled his troops and pursued the people of God until they were against the sea. Pharaoh was behind them, the sea was before them, and there was no place to go.
Exodus 14:10b They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.
In their desperation, God’s people cried out to him in prayer. No one had to tell them to pray; they prayed instinctively. Trouble drives people to prayer, and prayer is the plea of people in trouble. The trouble may be our fault, someone else’s fault, or no one’s fault. But it can always be used by God as a way to reveal himself as the one who answers prayer. [C]all on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me (Psalm 50:15).
It even appears that God has ordered our lives to be a series of problems and answered prayers. It is in the tension—between our problems and God’s answers—that we experience God most keenly and learn to pray. If not for our problems, we would pray less often, less earnestly, and experience less of God.
Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
God’s people would not have to fight the Egyptian army because God was going to fight for them. All they had to do was be still and wait for God. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but not always. Sometimes the proper action is to wait. [God] acts on behalf of those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4), wrote Isaiah. And, Wait for your God always (Hosea 12:6), wrote Hosea. When God’s people were desperate, and did not know what to do, God told them to be still.
Exodus 14:21-22 The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
Apart from the act of creation, this is the most spectacular miracle in the Bible. Moses held out his staff, and God sent a powerful wind that blew a path right through the Red Sea. There was a wall of water on the right and on the left, and the bottom became dry ground.
The number of Israelite men who crossed the sea was about six hundred thousand (Exodus 12:37). This means the total number of Israelites was over two million people. Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, teens and toddlers walked between the towering walls of water to the other side of the sea. God Almighty was their God, and they were his chosen people.
This was a tremendous miracle that is still believed by many today. It was written down by Moses, and seen by over two million people. It is hard to deny a miracle, witnessed by so many people, even centuries later. In fact, the parting of the Red Sea is the most important miracle for the people of God in the Old Testament.
The most important miracle for the people of God in the New Testament is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is supported by eyewitness testimony from credible people who were willing to suffer and die for what they saw. That is powerful evidence in any court of law, and none of the apostles ever changed their minds.
In contrast, four swimmers from the United States claimed they were robbed at the 2016 Olympics. They withdrew their story within a week, however, because it could not withstand examination. Not so the apostles. They never recanted their story, and were even willing to die for it. Either they were crazy, or they were simply telling the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Reflection and Review
How is Jesus like the Passover lamb?
Why is it important to wait for God?
How do we know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?