Take a step back and see how the pharaoh represents every heart at one time or another. We look at a story that can be read quickly and don’t understand such stubbornness and hardness of heart. This part of God’s word represents so many things to us as believers. We are fortunate enough to look back at the transgressions of many and learn from them if we are willing. We are no better than Pharaoh when we turn away from the light God shines for us in Jesus, to guide us to His path for us. I see a pharaoh that sees his error and starts to move toward God, then stubbornly turns away the way we do when we forget that ‘our way’ leads us to worldly satisfaction and not heavenly sanctification. God will use trials (plagues) in our lives to bring us closer to Him, into reliance on Him. He will takes away our provision for ourselves (Plagues 1,3,4,5,7,8) and show us that He is the only provision we need. He will cast out and destroy idols (Plague 2) that we place above Him and refuse to separate ourselves from. God is a jealous God who wants our eyes set on Him. God will take away our health (Plague 6) to bring us to desperation, as we cannot fix it on our own. He will let us lead ourselves into darkness and sin (Plague 9) so that we come to realize that we need His light to illuminate our path. Finally He will send upon us more than we can bear without Him (Plague 10). In this moment we can only exist with His power and not our own. It’s in this realization that we accept His sacrificial lamb (Jesus Christ) to be our sin, and to wash us clean with His blood so that the final judgment of God, on this condemned world, will ‘Passover’ those who are saved. We should learn to rely on God unlike the Egyptians whose hardened hearts left them decimated and without hope. Know that you have the chance to know and be a child of the true God who triumphed over the false power of Egypt’s gods.
Death of the First Born
This final plague attacks Pharaoh directly. He is the ultimate power over Egypt and now God defies him as He has the other deities of Egypt. Unlike the other plagues the Israelites will not escape it based solely on their identity. They must sacrifice a lamb and be saved by its blood which is smeared around the doorways of their homes. The lamb must also be eaten which represents communion when the body the sacrificial lamb (Jesus) is consumed as we are saved with His blood. As the firstborn of Egypt are killed for their transgression the firstborn of God will also be killed for the transgressions of all who accept His sacrifice by believing in Him. This is the act that finally sets the Israelites free from bondage.
The sun god of Egypt was Re (Ra) and was represented by Pharaoh himself. He was held in high esteem as he represented the sun. The darkness showed how powerless even the mightiest of their gods was compared to the God of the Israelites. Three days of darkness would have disrupted the ability to function in much the same way that the plagues of animals had before. Again we see that God’s people had light where they lived. They were set apart in more substantial fashion with each plague.
The locusts are meant to destroy all of the plants left after the hail. This includes the wheat and emmer described in verse 31. This is a complete decimation of plant life. It’s at this point that Pharaoh’s servants start to question why Pharaoh will not give in to God. Verse 2 indicates that God has not only sent these plagues to decimate the Egyptians who hold His people in captivity, but also to show His people that He is Lord, so that they can share with future generations what they had seen. It is amazing that even after the signs God provides the people, they still will one day grumble about returning to this captivity.
Egyptians worshipped a frog goddess, represented by a frog. It was illegal to kill frogs do to the worship of this goddess. The plague of frogs could be viewed as using Egypt’s idols against them. The frogs covered the ground and all of the people’s belongings. They could not kill them so it must have been difficult to tip toe between all of them just trying to walk around. Then, after Pharaoh asked that the frogs be taken away and agrees to the demands of Moses, the frogs don’t disappear. God kills them in their place so that the Egyptians must now see how powerless the goddess is. First they overwhelm them and they die in front of them.