We continue in Exodus with this week’s Portion, Bo (“Go!”). In these chapters, God finished executing the Plagues upon Egypt … culminating in Pharaoh not just releasing the Children of Israel, but in driving them out (with “back pay”), just as prophesied in Exodus 3:20-22. God demonstrated His Power through these 10 Plagues: the first three affected just the peoples’ comfort; the next three involved the destruction of their property, and the final four involved death.
In the first seven plagues that we saw last week, Pharaoh harden his own heart – he become more stubborn – to resist God. In these final three Plagues in this week’s Portion, God takes control of Pharaoh’s heart to insure that he will endure to the end. After all…God’s purpose here is not just to free Israel from their Egyptian bondage; it is to show Pharaoh who He is; to show the Egyptians who He is and, just as importantly, to show Israel who He is!
The final Plague introduced the Passover – when the Blood of the slain Lamb was applied to the doorpost. Those who did that invited the LORD to pass over their threshold and enter into their home; and only then would the Angel of Death pass by that house and spare the life of all the firstborn inside. This Passover event did not happen just because you were “Jewish”, it happened because you were obedient! The Portion concludes with the eating of the lamb & unleavened bread, the basis for today’s Passover Seder observance, which led to the release of the Children of Israel and the start of their long journey to freedom.