The Egyptians worshipped the Nile River. Its life-giving waters flowed from deep in the interior of Africa and turned the lifeless dessert into lovely shades of green. But when Moses came to town with his torturous plagues, the Nile turned blood red. The stench of death was awful as rotting fish floated belly-up and bloating.
Moses called on God who sent an infestation of frogs and gnats and flies. Which was worse: finding frogs in the flour bin and under your pillow, or being harassed constantly by buzzing, biting insects? Donkeys and oxen died. Locusts devoured what hail had not already destroyed. A pandemic of boils made life unbearable. Then, for three days, utter darkness covered the region like a heavy blanket.
The tenth plague, the crescendo of God’s judgment upon the Egyptians, was the death of the first-born son. God warned the Jews: “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ families, one animal per family... You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them” (Exodus 12:3-7).
It happened just as God foretold. “At midnight the Lord struck every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon... During the night Pharaoh got up, he along with all his officials and all the Egyptians, and there was a loud wailing throughout Egypt because there wasn’t a house without someone dead” (Exodus 12:29–30).
Blood-curdling shrieks could be heard throughout the land... except in the Hebrew neighborhoods and villages. God’s promise was true. “When the Lord passes through to strike Egypt and sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, he will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you” (Exodus 12:23).
The Hebrew slaves trusted God. The blood was the sign of God’s covenant-promise. Written on the doorposts of their homes, their emancipation proclamation was signed with the blood of an innocent lamb.
The Hebrew word for doorpost is “mezuzah.” Faithful Jewish families hang a “mezuzah” in the entry to their home as a constant reminder of God’s saving grace. Written on parchment scroll, tucked inside the decorative mezuzah are the words of the “Shema.” “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart ... You shall write them on the doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:4–9, NKJV).
Is your life marked with the blood of the Innocent Lamb? Has God’s covenant-promise been written on your heart and on your doorposts?
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.