We saw last time that Pharoah still had delusions of deity. He still thought he was at least equal with God and could barter with God. We even saw that in his arrogance, he thought he could threaten God’s messenger, Moses with death.
Exodus 10:28–29 (ESV)
28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” 29 Moses said, “As you say! I will not see your face again.”
After 9 plagues, Pharoah still pretended that he was god and that he had control over Egypt, his people, life and death. His arrogance would prove to be his undoing.
1. The Final Plague and Its Effects Announced
11 The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. 2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.” 3 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
Through the nine other plagues, God had shown the Egyptians that their god’s were really nothing. Perhaps either imagined or demonic but in either case no match for God. Pharoah and Egypt’s gods have been completely beaten on every front. This is God’s plan coming to completion.
It was never God’s plan for Pharoah to agree with Him about allowing His people to leave Egypt. All along Moses’ request was to go without Pharoah’s obedience. At every step of Pharoah’s disobedience God would destroy a little bit more of Egypt. Let My people go or this will happen and Pharaoh would not and so God would hit them with another plague. This is a difficult concept to wrap your mind around. God’s sovereignty is mystery.
All that was for the first nine plagues. Now comes number 10. Number 10 is going to be different. After it is over Pharoah will not only let them leave but he will drive them out of the land.
Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely.
No more bargaining with God. No more well just the men can go…Pharoah will drive them all out together and Egypt will be devastated and in ruin.
Something that is briefly mentioned here is that there seems to be some of a distance or differing views between Pharoah and the Egyptian people. They must have been thinking that anyone with half a brain can see that Yahweh is truly God and that we nor our gods are a match for Him. Yet, there goes Pharaoh again causing more damage to our nation.
While God was busy hardening Pharaoh’s heart, He was also causing the Egyptians to view the Hebrews with some benevolence. The Egyptians would actually give the Hebrews their wealth. This is a very strange dynamic.
2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.” 3 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.
Not only this but the Egyptians actually were beginning to like Moses. One the one hand Pharaoh told Moses if I see you again, I will kill you and the Egyptians, on the other hand saw Moses as someone great.
the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
2. Moses Announces the Final Plague to Pharoah
4 So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, 5 and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. 7 But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ 8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you.’ And after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.
So far with the various plagues, God created the frogs, the insects etc and unleashed them on Egypt and they did the work. The locusts, for example, went throughout the land bringing destruction. Here, in this last plague, Moses continues serving as God’s prophet and tells Pharaoh that God says He will go throughout the land. Make no mistake this is God at work.
Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt
Let’s make sure we get this straight. What is God telling Pharoah?
5 and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle.
Many have asked very puzzled about God’s actions here. There have been some possible explanations offered but at the end of the day, this is God’s work and He can do whatever He desires with His creation.
We may ask, if it is Pharaoh whose being defiant here why didn’t God just put him to death? The answer that takes us a little way in explaining this is that God was out to destroy Egypt’s gods and, it seems, all who worshipped them. While the Egyptians seemed not as bad as Pharaoh, they were still worshippers of demons. Then what about their firstborn young children? God just told Pharaoh He was going to destroy them as well and the firstborn of the cattle.
It’s at this point we must simply be content with saying, God, everything You do is right and I cannot understand all Your ways.
God is right in all He does.
6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.
Just as with some of the other plagues where Moses declared that the certain plague was the worst Egypt had ever seen.
Exodus 10:14 (ESV)
14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again.
Here with this devastating last plague, Moses tells us that the cries throughout Egypt is the worst Egypt has seen or ever will see. This is truly a swift and mighty blow to the Egyptians and to Pharaoh.
We also see here that while this plague is to completely bring Egypt to here knees, none of it will come upon the Israelites. There will be such a contrast between the two,
7 But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’
Not even one dog will bark at the Hebrews as they leave Egypt.
Also, by the way, Pharoah as we leave all your people who are so quick to bow to you, will bow to me as I represent the true God. While they are bowing, they will also be pleading with me that we leave in haste.
8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you.’ And after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.
Notice, their request is not just the men go or you go but leave your cattle, NO their request was please leave now, all of you!!
When Moses left Pharoah’s presence, he was angry, very angry…in hot anger. We are to see here that in this discourse Moses’ words were what God wanted said and Moses’ anger was God’s anger shown toward an unrepentant leader who has just doomed his people to just judgement.
3. A Review of the Purpose of the Plagues
9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.
We now are reminded to look back and realize that God’s purpose behind all the plagues is being accomplished just as God has said.
Exodus 4:21–23 (ESV)
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”
As predicted, God would show His sovereign power to the world. He made a fool of Pharoah who continued to resist the obvious conclusion which was obvious to everyone but himself.
Through the plagues we are tempted to make a ruling about God. Whether or not God is right in this massive judgement. We are also brought into a setting where we must ask ourselves, do I really know God? How shall we know God? How shall we know what God is like and how we are to think about him? When I ask myself this question, one response comes crashing into my mind with overwhelming certitude: human opinion counts for nothing. What you feel about the way God should be and what I feel about the way God should be counts for nothing. If someone rises up and makes a pronouncement about what they can believe and can’t believe about God, then they are sealing their own fate.
The true God who is revealed to us in the Bible is nothing like us.
I remember once teaching through the Book of Romans and when we arrived at Chapters 8-9 a man jumped up from his seat and shouted “That’s not the God I serve” and stormed out of the auditorium. After a moment, I thought, well he’s probably right. The God of the Bible is evidently not the God he serves.
What was also very telling about this man’s actions and how he seemed angry and disturbed was…I had not even began to teach…I was simply reading the passage!!
Romans 9:14–26 (ESV)
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”