Showdown in Egypt
White hat, in this story, is Moses. Black Hat is Pharaoh. God sent Moses, a nobody, to go have a little talk with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. God wants you to let the Israelites go, White Hat says to Black Hat. You gotta’ be kidding! responds the mighty Pharaoh. Who do you think is going to build my pyramids and my great cities?
Moses was eighty years old at the time and God allowed him to take older brother Aaron with him. In a display of the power of God Aaron threw down his rod, they used to carry rods in those days, and the rod turns into a serpent. I’m sure Moses is thinking, This is really going to impress this guy. But what does Pharaoh do? He calls in his magicians, they each throw down their rods, yes, magicians had rods too, and their rods likewise turned into serpents! Now Moses wasn’t expecting anything like this, and he was probably quite relieved to see his serpent swallow up their serpents.
We know where Moses got his power, but what about the magicians? The magicians got their power from the world of darkness. Let’s look at Ephesians 6:12: We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
There is a chain of command in the kingdom of darkness, much like an army, satan at the top ruling “spiritual hosts of wickedness” through powerful intermediates. This army managed to make inroads into the Egyptian nation over the centuries, perhaps more than any other people in world’s history. There was ongoing communication between demons and humans through sorcerers and magicians and, to varying degrees, the general population of Egypt. One might say there was an attachment or agreement between Egypt and the world of darkness, strengthened by worship and human sacrifices. The Egyptians worshiped almost everything that breathed and everything that didn’t. At the head of this mighty nation, whose architectural feats are still a tourist attraction today, was Pharaoh, revered as a god but in reality a mere pawn of darkness.
Not far away from Pharaoh’s palace lived the children of Israel, the children of God, about six million people by some estimates. They long ago became slaves of the Egyptians, labor for their ambitious building projects. They got into that mess because of disobedience, losing God’s protection. God heard their prayers and chose Moses as the man to set them free from their bondage.
Pharaoh was a real obstinate fellow and refused to release the Israelite nation. So the next morning Moses is back with his brother standing before the big guy. Aaron lifts his rod and smacks the water in the river, and the river turns into blood, not only the river but all the water in the land. Now you and I would have said, Okay, okay! Take your people and get out of my sight! But not stubborn and mean and dumb Black Hat. Pharaoh refuses to release his free labor and orders wells to be dug so they can have water.
The showdown continues. Pharaoh sees Aaron stretch his rod over the waters of Egypt, frogs, zillions of frogs, came up out of the water and covered the land, Black Hat says, Get those frogs out of here and I’ll let your people go, Moses asks God to remove the frogs, God obliges and….. Pharaoh changes his mind, just like that. My free labor isn’t going nowhere. So up goes the rod and dust turns into lice “on man and beasts.” Black Hat doesn’t budge. Next, God sends thick swarms of flies. Flies, flies flies everywhere, driving the Egyptians nuts. Pharaoh relents, God removes the flies, and….. Pharaoh changes his mind again. Next, God sends “a very severe pestilence” killing much of the livestock. Then Moses and Aaron threw ashes in the wind causing an outbreak of boils “that break out on sores on man and beast.” And then up goes the rod and down comes “hail, and fire mingled with the hail” destroying much of the crops. The rod goes up again bringing thick clouds of locusts into every building and house and field, destroying whatever crops survived the hail. The magicians told the boss, Can’t you see Egypt is being ruined? Tell White Hat and his people to pack up and go! But no, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.
Now get this: The Israelites, living in the same vicinity, were unharmed by all those plagues – no frogs or flies or boils, no pestilence or hail or locusts. Black Hat must have thought, How does he (He) do that? Pharaoh hadn’t yet learned, God can do anything. He still refused to bow to God’s demand, so Moses stretched out his rod and thick, and I mean thick, darkness covered the land for three days. “But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
God tells Moses of the final plague: “All the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the maidservant.” Moses instructed the head of every Israelite family to kill an unblemished lamb and splatter the blood of the lamb upon the lintel and doorposts of their dwellings. Around midnight the Lord moved over the land killing the firstborn of every woman and beast, but spared the households having the blood of the lamb around their door. His son and heir to his throne dead, Pharaoh had enough, sent for Moses in the night, telling him to get his people out of the country immediately. But the showdown wasn’t over yet.
A week or so passes, Black Hat gives his head a shake and says to himself, What have I done? My laborers are gone! Gotta’ get them back! It wasn’t hard for him and his horsemen and chariots to catch up to the tribe of Israelites traveling on foot with their kids and livestock. They would have taken them that night if it wasn’t for the cloud. A huge cloud reaching to the ground made it dark for the Egyptians but the other side of the cloud illuminated the way for the Israelites. So into the Red Sea they go, a wide path opens before them, walls of water on both sides, the ground at their feet dry from a mighty wind. In the morning Pharaoh is amazed and perplexed to see that the Red Sea had opened up for the evacuees. Well if they can do it so can we! Charge, boys! Don’t let them get away!
And you know what happened. Maybe Black Hat saw White Hat way off in the distance on the other side of the Red Sea lift his *#*#*#*#* rod again, and he knew by now when that happened something bad happens. And so it did. Pharaoh and his entire army got slurped up as the walls of water crashed in on them. Black Hat goes down, end of the showdown.
But let’s back up a bit to the slain lambs and the blood on the doorposts. This was done to prefigure the Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” God commanded that every year they were to slay a lamb as a memorial to this great day. The feast day is called the Passover because the angel of death passed over the children of God because of the blood. As the Israelites were protected by the blood of the lamb, so every born-again Christian is protected by the blood of The Lamb. That is why Jesus is called “our Passover.”