In Exodus there was a cosmic battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Pharaoh chose the supernatural forces of evil and rejected Jahweh, the one true and living God, despite being clearly shown His mighty power. The plagues were God’s holy acts of judgment on evil, and proved His kingdom was greater than Satan’s.
In each plague God had protected His own people and their land and animals from all kinds of destruction. Eventually the final and dreadful judgment was to be the death of the first born sons in every family.
In this final plague all God’s people were asked to take action to ensure their family’s protection from the angel of death. What they were asked to do wasn’t beyond their power or too difficult for them, but considerable effort had to be made. There was no place for passivity.
Each head of the family had to take a lamb without blemish, a male a year old, which had been kept for the fourteen days, then kill the lamb at twilight. They had to take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of their house. They were to eat the meat that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remained they had to burn. (Exodus 12:5-11). The act of doing this was to clearly make a sign that their household belonged to the Lord.
‘The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:13). The presence of the blood meant that a substitute had already died in the place of the first born son. The first born sons had been redeemed. The price had been paid.
Later on God reminded His people of their deliverance from the Egyptians and why He had saved them. ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles` wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’ (Exodus 19:4-6).
The covenant God made with His people had to be constantly renewed. Blood from a sacrificed animal was to cleanse them and atone for their sins. In Exodus 24 we read that half of the blood is put on the altar and half of it on the people. ‘And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words”’ (Exodus 24:8).
The blood always symbolises the covenant between God and His people, a covenant in which God promises to bring His blessing of life and health. As He celebrated Passover with His followers Jesus said “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24).
Prayer: Loving, heavenly Father, we thank You for the blood of Jesus, which is all sufficient as a sacrifice for sins, and which seals the covenant You made with Your people. We receive it as the sign that we’re redeemed and saved from death and destruction to live for You. Amen.