Aaaand They’re Off!
The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn1
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 prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, “Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!”
The Exodus: From Rameses to Succoth
The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, “We shall all be dead.” So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing, and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds. They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.
Being Subject to Authorities
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
You may have heard the famous quote, “God doesn’t close one door without opening another.” It is not a scriptural quote, but it is one we often pass around during times of frustration. Once those doors appear though, we usually stop talking about them and begin to get anxious about what to do once we walk through them.
There comes a point for each of us, when the open door stands before us, and we have to go through it or miss it altogether. A large part of the anxiety we face is that we do not know what is on the other side of that door. We probably have some ideas and expectations, but the whole point of doors is that they act as exits from one place and an entry into another place. The rules may change. The comforts we have grown accustomed to may not be able to cross over with us. But the day will come when we may feel as if we no longer have a choice… we are being pushed through.
The Hebrew people had been jockeyed back and forth over days and weeks. Are we going or are we staying? Will Pharaoh and Moses ever make up their minds? The early Christians in Rome must have had similar thoughts about Jesus coming back in the midst of the persecution they were facing from the “Pharaoh” of their day.
God does push sometimes. Or at least He allows the situations to push for Him. Whether it is the moment of our birth, our first day of school, or one of those moments in life where we are learning to slow down and take care of the small details… there is usually a nudge directing us through a door. God does more than push from one side though. He sets up guides, guards, rails, and fences to pave the way ahead. The specific rules may change, but the fact that God will be there on the other side of the door will never change.
That’s what walking by faith means. You can choose a door with wisdom, but only faith will get you through it.
What open doors do you have before you today?
How can you seek God for the faith required to step through them?
- (Ex 11:1–10)↩