Pedigree’s are what the Ag industry runs on. If you ever want to burn an hour, ask a horse person about their futurity prospect. They will tell you what breeding their 2-year old has on top and bottom, what discipline their bred for, and how they expect them to perform. But what if breeding didn’t matter?
Regionally ties run deep in the cowboy world. The way things are done in Montana is quite different from the cowboys of the Southeast. We here in the Flint Hills have our own traditions, working cows, grazing patterns, and ways of fencing. But what if region didn’t matter?
These were the questions that God answered as he performed a difinitive act of judgement upon the gods of Egypt. Up to this point the plagues effected regions and peoples. God would differentiate the land of Goshen, home of the Hebrews, from the land of Egypt, home of the Egyptians. His plague would strike the land surrounding the Nile but be held back around the land of the Delta (Goshen). They effected some people and not others, based solely upon their lineage. Those that could trace their heritage back to Joseph were spared and those who couldn’t suffered.
But not the final one…
God gave his final plague instruction to Moses without deference to lineage or acreage.
On that same night I will pass through Egpt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I wil pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strke Egypt.”
In other plagues it was “I will spare the land of Goshen” or “I will not strike the Hebrews”; but here it is “when I see the blood”. Those that will be spared will have the blood on their doorposts.
Instead it was:
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
No blood…no salvation. The Lord didn’t pick and choose, didn’t show the hebrews any favor or the land of Goshen. It was blood and blood alone that protected the inhabitants. After reading the beginning of Exodus, the Hebrews weren’t exactly taking God at his word. The Israelites complained to Moses: “May the Lord look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Ex.5.23) Translation: “Moses, this salvation thing isn’t working out!” I would hope that they would do better listening to these final plague instructions…but part of me wonders if there were some that didn’t. Could the Lord have taken Hebrew life that night? Deep down, it is likely that some Israelites didn’t believe that God would really kill their firstborn.
I wonder how many Isrealites marched through the Reed Sea down a family member? How many rejoiced in their deliverance but mourned for their disobedience?
Paul tackled the same question in Philippians 3:
“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” (Phil 3.7ff)
Paul had every reason for his confidence…the right people, the right father, the right status, but it was Jesus and his work on the cross that gave him life. It is far to often that we place our trust in our attendance, in our proximity to other’s faith, or our works to bring about salvation. Without bloody door posts, however, we have no hope! Without the blood of Christ covering our lives, there is no Passover, no do-over, no life.