At long last, the tenth plague comes. Now, God will finish pouring out his wrath on this genocidal nation. Although each of the nine plagues decimated and humiliated specific Egyptian gods, this last plague was against all of the gods. This is how God explains it:
For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am Yahweh.
I love how he ends this with “I am Yahweh.” In other words, Egypt has it’s gods, but I am Yahweh and they are completely impotent to protect what is most precious to you, your firstborn sons. This is God’s last act of war against Egypt and it will guarantee that they let his people go. Even so, he will guard his own people so that not even “a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Exodus 11.7). Even so, God is not going to make his protection automatic. He wants his people to exercise faith by performing certain ceremonial actions. He instructs them to kill an unblemished lamb and paint the blood on the door frame, roast it, and eat it that night. These simple acts will prevent the destroyer from entering into the house to kill the firstborn.
Those who followed this command marked themselves out as the true people of God and those who ignored it suffered the consequences. At midnight God struck down all the firstborn in Egypt from Pharaoh’s house to the firstborn captive in the dungeon as well as all the firstborn of the livestock (Exodus 12.29). A great cry arose in Egypt because every house had someone dead in it. Pharaoh summoned Moses and told him to take his people and his herds and go to serve Yahweh. The Egyptians urgently sent the Hebrews out of the land saying, “We shall all be dead” (Exodus 12.33). This one moment gets celebrated year after year, decade after decade, century after century, and millennium after millennium by Israel in their Passover dinner. The question for you today is whether you have marked yourself out by the blood of the lamb so that you will be saved on judgment day?