It was the final blow. The last standoff.
Not the river of blood or the frogs, or the lice, or the flies.
Not the killing of the livestock, or the boils, or the thunder, or the locusts.
It wasn’t even the darkness so dark it could be felt.
“Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.”
The Lord killed the sons of Egypt and that was a grief so dark there were no words but “Go. Away from here.” Go worship your God and get out of here.”
Blood. Blood of children. This world is not feeling like a very happy place. What does all of this mean?
Well, blood is life. Without it one dies. It moves, circling our body, giving breath to all our thoughts, giving strength to our movements. But the circle only lasts so long. When the blood stops, so does the life.
The Lord went out over Egypt and stopped life. (If this troubles you, we will read a poem afterwards. Remember that God is good.)
The plagues had come to all of Egypt...the Israelites faced them alongside the Egyptians. But when this final plague came, The final loss...
“...Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “[w]Go and take for yourselves [x]lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. 22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you.”
A heaviness must have been over Israel that night. Rejoicing mixed with fear. Fear of the Lord and his ways. Fear of the darkness, Fear of the greatness of the Light. But they were saved from slavery and saved from death. Saved by...blood. Not their blood, but the blood of a Lamb. An innocent, pure lamb had saved them.
Are you starting to see the themes? Fathers and Sons. Light and Darkness. Blood and Salvation.
My child, if you listen to nothing else, listen to this: God it good. He is pure Light. We are evil. We have darkness stained in our hearts. Light and darkness can not mix. When the blood in our heart stops, we go into eternal darkness because we, with darkened hearts, cannot go to God. The angel of Death will pass over and the pain and agony will be worse than the kiss of a Dementor. My child it is worse.
Unless we are marked. Marked with the Blood of the Lamb.
If you feel your darkness, if you feel your sin...if you believe that only He can save you, all you have to do is say "yes." Be washed by the Blood of the Lamb and be saved. And then make that blood visible as the Israelites marked the doors. Tell us. Tell everyone. And walk from slavery to freedom.
“ Do you Think God made you so sick?” She drew Her breath, and swallowed hard. “I know You’d like to think that there’s a foe That hurts and God that heals. And that Would not be wrong; but I have sat And pondered months in pain to see If that is true – if misery Is Satan’s work, and happiness Is God’s. Jemimah, we must bless The Lord for all that’s good and bad.” But, Papa, God’s not mean or mad. He’s not our enemy. He’s kind And gentle, isn’t he?”
“ Your mind Is right, Jemimah, but it’s small. He’s gentle, kind, but that’s not all. I have some friends who thought they knew The mind of God, and that their view Of tenderness exhausted God’s, And that severity and rods Could only be explained with blame, To vindicate his holy name.”
“ So you think it was God who made You sick?”
“ I think God never laid Aside the reins that lie against The neck of Satan, nor unfenced His pen to run at liberty, But only by the Lord’s decree.”
“ So you think God was kind to make You sick,” Jemimah asked, “and take Away your health and all your sons And friends, and daughters – all the ones You loved?”
“ Jemimah, what I think Is this: The Lord has made me drink The cup of his severity That he might kindly show to me What I would be when only he Remains in my calamity. Unkindly he has kindly shown That he was not my hope alone.”
“ O, Papa, do you mean your friends Were right?”
“ No, no, my child, to cleanse An upright heart of toxic stains With searing irons is not like chains Laid on the soul in penalty For guile and crimes no one can see. No, they were wrong. And kindly has The Lord rebuked good Eliphaz, And I have prayed for him, and all Is well. You see, their minds were small, And they could not see painful times Apart from dark and hidden crimes. Beware, Jemimah, God is kind, In ways that will not fit your mind. It’s getting late, Jemimah, come, I think I hear the bedtime drum. My little theologian deep, It’s time to say good night and sleep.”
Behold the mercy of our King,
Who takes from death its bitter sting,
And by his blood, and often ours,
Brings triumph out of hostile pow’rs,
And paints, with crimson, earth and soul
Until the bloody work is whole.
What we have lost God will restore –
That, and himself, forevermore,
When he is finished with his art:
The quiet worship of our heart.
When God creates a humble hush,
And makes Leviathan his brush,
It won’t be long before the rod
Becomes the tender kiss of God.