Exodus Devotional | Your Darkest Hour, His Greatest Glory - The Plagues: Part 1, Day 5
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Exodus The Plagues, Part 1, Day 5
“21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. 29 At midnight the Lord struck down 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 the livestock. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. 31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!” - (Exodus 12:21-32)
I want you to hear this, believe this, and live according to it. I don’t write it, simply, as a pastor. I’m not uttering this as one sitting above you or distant from you, intellectually and disconnected. I’m writing this devotional to myself as much as I’m writing it to you. So, here goes:
God uses the darkest of circumstances to demonstrate his greatest glories and goodness.
The Lord rescues Abraham and Lot as an entire city dives head-first into depravity, while fire and brimstone storms boil on the horizon. Noah and his family huddle close together in the vessel God gave them--waves and thunder crash around them as the entire world drowns. The Israelite kingdom stands on the precipice of destruction at the hands of the Philistine hordes, just in time for an adolescent shepherd to stride out with nothing but a sling in hand, challenging their champion-giant. Gideon and a paltry three hundred men stood on the darkened hills of their homeland--each man’s warrior kit was a torch and a trumpet. That night, the Lord decimates their enemies by the thousands.
Imagine the evening of Exodus 12. Everyone’s seen the devastation of the Lord’s judgment--and they say the worst is yet to come. The Hebrews are doing some mysterious, foolish-looking ritual with lambs’ blood and feasting on strange breads. The Israelites are deathly quiet after sun-down, not a single one has been seen. Even they seemed to feel the oppressive weight of fear at what their own God might do.
It’s on this night--the night of nights, dark and eerie--that the Spirit of the Lord made his way through all of Egypt . . . the entire nation . . . and took his toll of judgment on the firstborn of Egypt. Silently. Immediately. Like a thief in the night.
On this, the darkest of dark nights that God fulfills his glorious promises to his people--and fear, darkness, and death serve his promises. Though God’s judgment is terrible, it’s against this backdrop that grace and freedom are seen.
I want to remind you of what God promised Moses he would do...all those months and months ago, there on a lonely mountain top in Midian:
I will deliver you out of affliction
I will make the Israelites listen to you
I will make sure Pharaoh won’t obey my commands
I will strike Egypt with many wonders
I will break Pharaoh’s will so that he finally relents
I will make sure the Egyptians show favor on you as you go
I will make sure that the Egyptians celebrate at your liberation
I want you to carve out and protect enough time today, and during this weekend, to read Exodus 11 and 12. Take your time and really pay attention. Every one of God’s promises have been fulfilled. Every. Single. One.
And he accomplished them in the darkest of times--when his people were at the greatest disadvantage and had every good reason to live in fear. The glory of God’s might, flexed over Egypt and on behalf of his people is so amazing that we blithely turn these opening chapters into cartooned stories in children’s Bibles. Make no mistake, our God is fearsome and terrible and all of his enemies have been or will be crushed. We, his people fear his might with trembling and respect.
. . . and we must quietly, reflectively, and fearfully hope in this truth: God uses the darkest of circumstances to demonstrate his greatest glories and goodness.
I urge you to engage in some sort of spiritual discipline this weekend--fasting, lengthened times of solitude and prayer, waking up in the middle of the night to read the Bible and pray . . . something, perhaps along those lines. I urge you to recall that darkness that has threatened God’s people, time and time again--and the glory that he’s birthed out of that darkness.
What are you afraid will happen? I probably share your fear. Let’s openly admit our fear and take it to another Christian and to the Lord. Let’s ask for prayer and encouragement, counsel and friendship, reminding one another of the trustworthiness of our Lord.
Remember the gospel: that on the darkest day the world has ever known, the only righteous and good Prince was murdered in the place of sinners...and out of his darkened, gloomy tomb erupted the Risen Lord, establishing his Kingdom . . . with us!