Charles Stanley - A Night to Remember
It's not hard to understand why God would send plagues on the Egyptians. Because they had incarcerated, made slaves out of God's chosen people. And it had been going on for a long time. And on nine separate occasions, God sent a plague into Egypt and each time the message was, "Let My people go". And of course, Pharaoh just ignored it. His heart was hardened. He promised to let them go over and over again, but he reneged on his promise. So, now he's facing the last plague.
So, I want us to title this message "A Night to Remember" because indeed it was and it's the twelfth chapter of Exodus, and I won't read that chapter for time's sake, but first of all I want to talk about what was the purpose that God had in mind in sending all these plagues. And you'll remember as we went through each one of them, all the way to the final one which was the death of the firstborn throughout all of Egypt. And so, His first purpose was to judge Egypt and their gods. That was His first purpose - to send divine judgment upon them, because they had kept God's people for several hundred years.
And remember they started out as a blessing as a result of saving Egypt from destruction, from famine. And now when the Scripture says this Pharaoh came along who did not know Joseph, he put them in bondage. And so, first of all was judgment upon Egypt and their gods. Secondly, to liberate Israel from Egyptian bondage was a vital part of His purpose. And, the third purpose was to do what? It was preparation for the coming of the Messiah. So, think about this, they started out, a family of seventy, down to Egypt, the Pharaoh at that time loved Joseph because he saved Egypt from starving to death. And now, pharaoh after pharaoh and finally this last pharaoh who'd mistreated them so badly, put them all into slavery.
God was ready to rescue them. So, you would think after nine horrible plagues that Pharaoh would finally have said all right. That's what he said two or three times, only to change his mind. But now came the last and final plague and that is the one that we probably most remember above all the rest. And that is the night when the death angel came through. So, having gone through all those plagues, having denied, in fact, even Pharaoh's finest generals and everyone who was around him were pleading let them go, let them go, let them go but he would not.
And so, God said to the nation of Israel get ready. And if you'll notice the fourth verse of this twelfth chapter: "Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight". Everything very specifically designated. "Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat of it".
So, this is what we probably remember most of all. God had given them clear instruction. He said tonight's the night. Finally, Pharaoh is going to have to give in. And so, in order to save the Nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery, He said here's what we're going to do. You're to take a lamb to eat part, take the blood, put it on the doorposts and across the lintel because the death angel's coming. And when the death angel passes through the cities, the towns, every household in which there is no blood on the doorpost, the firstborn will die. Imagine hearing that. In your family, no blood on the doorpost; no blood on the lintel; absolute death - that's the Word of God.
Now, I'm sure that many of those Jews, that many of those Hebrews, they didn't believe that. All of them didn't believe in Jehovah God. They had been converted to some of the gods of the Egyptians; and so, He made it very, very clear. Told them exactly what to have, what kind of food to have, what they were to do with every single part of it. And He said, "You shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded". That is, if you have an apron on, you'd pull the apron up, get ready to go.
He says, "Your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand, you shall eat it in haste - it is the Lord's Passover". He said, "This is the night the death angel is going to pass all through the whole nation of Egypt. I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt".
Imagine this. I wonder how many of us would have believed that. Well, they'd watched all of these other plagues and so far, Pharaoh had not let them go. And the night before was this terrible darkness that they couldn't explain and could not escape. This was the final plague. God gave them opportunity after opportunity, but God knew in the beginning they weren't going to yield to it because what is He doing? He's making a statement that would never be forgotten.
And this is why Jews today, Hebrew people today, they still practicing the Passover. And that's been hundreds and hundreds of years ago. And so, God knew that all the plagues that He'd sent that would have sent most of us just reeling in subjection, what happened? Pharaoh wouldn't let them go. So, what was this all about?
What this was all about was God making a statement. He knew he wasn't going to let them go. This was God making a statement to the world. Not only to the world of his day, but to the world of our day. These are My people. I am establishing a nation. This nation will be beyond all other nations because through this nation will come the Savior of the world, the Messiah. They didn't understand all of that, but God was getting them ready because God knew that one day you and I would understand it. And after all those years through what nation did the Messiah come? The same nation that was down in Egyptian bondage.
So, at some point, can you imagine being at home, you, you wives, for example, and notice, notice what He told them to do. He said now, you are to prepare all these things. And He tells them later on, He says you're to, put it on your shoulder; be ready to travel because tonight the death angel's coming. So, you can imagine what was going on by the time it got a little dark. What would you have done? It's getting dark; tonight, the death angel's coming.
Well, what time is He coming? I don't know. Well, what are we supposed to do? Just be quiet. Stand ready to go. Ready to leave. Ready to be liberated. And many of them would not have believed it. Did all of those Hebrews paint their doorpost? Not all of them because you've always got unbelievers who think they know better than God. That night, the death angel came through all of Egypt and the firstborn died in every household in which there was no blood on the doorpost and the lintel of the house.
So, God liberated them and the interesting thing when you look at all the things they had to go through in getting ready. And I'm sure some of those parents had to convince their children of what was going to happen. But it's interesting how specific, how specific Moses was. He told them to have the food prepared in a certain way. They were to stand with a staff in hand, ready to go, ready to move. They were to be freed overnight. Now where were they going? That's what I would have said.
Now Moses, where are we going? You know what he would have said? Follow me. And so, He couldn't give them a lot of instructions they'd like to have had. What are we going to eat? How long are we going to be gone? How, how do we know where we're going? What's going to happen when we get there? They had a lot of questions and so, more than likely some of those Hebrews decided I'm not going where I don't need to be. And probably some of them had sort of become mixed up in the Egyptians, and so they didn't even believe anyway. These were, for those who believed God's servant, and believed that God had a purpose for Israel that was far beyond anything they could comprehend.
So, through the streets and the alleyways and the walkways of Egypt, the death angel passed. And in one night, struck dead every single firstborn where there was no blood on the doorpost. And I wonder how many of them said put blood on, outside the house? Well, how is that going to protect me? Watch this carefully. Human reason and faith often are in conflict. You have to decide whether you will believe the truth of the Word of God or you'll go by your feelings.
It makes no sense, no sense to believe that putting blood outside your house on the doorpost and across the lintel, that some, some angel was going to come through. And if you didn't have it up there, your firstborn was going to die. That didn't make any sense. Nor did it make any sense to have your family ready to go - to go where? And I say that again and again: where are we going? How long are we going to be gone? What about all this stuff we're going to leave? I'm saying it was a troublesome time.
And think about, think about saying to your wife, "This is it, we're leaving it all. Don't try to carry anything, but just what, whatever Moses said, that's what we're going to do. We're going to walk out of here with whatever we have plundered from the Egyptians, gold and silver. We're leaving, where we go, we're going to trust Moses, we're going to trust God to guide us". That was an awesome night, an unbelievable night because listen, the whole night was focused on one thing: my faith in the Word of the Living God which came through one servant, through Moses. Do we believe him or do we not?
Now watch this. When we say, "Jesus said, 'I am the way the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.'" There are many people who do not believe that. Most people don't believe that. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Most people don't believe that. Here's what I want you to see. This is still the truth of the Word of God: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me". No one will be saved without the blood. And the truth is that's the same story. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.
You ask someone tomorrow when you go to work, "Do you believe the Bible"? Why I believe parts of it. Well, do you believe that part that says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin"? I don't even know what that means. Do you believe that part that says, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"? "Well, I don't know whether I believe that or not". You may be shocked at the people you work around, live around, who do not believe the truth of the Word of God.
There are two choices: believe Him, obey Him, be ready, or ignore Him and die. Do you believe that? Do you believe that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God? Do you believe that there's no other name under heaven whereby you might be saved? Many people don't believe that. There are many people who sit in church week after week after week (some church, I hope not this one, in some church somewhere), they don't believe that, because they're convinced and persuaded that if you live a pretty good life, never killed anybody. You don't steal, lie, and cheat; don't run around on your wife or your husband; you're... well, why wouldn't God take you to heaven? Because your heart is still carnal.
Think about this. Is there anything that God required of us that's sort of uncertain and maybe? How uncertain is this? "The soul that sinneth, it shall die". "The wages of sin is death". "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God". "Ye must be born again". None of these things are uncertain... very, very clear, because God intends for it to be clear. Watch this. God hasn't changed His mind. So, the issue is this. Here's an awesome story, all of which is true. And when you look at it, and you think about, listen to what God said four times in Exodus thirteen: "With a powerful hand, the Lord brought you out of Egypt from the house of slavery".
Watch this, this may look like a tragedy but the reason you have your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life, today, the reason you're safe now is that God brought from those Hebrews the Son of God, the Savior who went to the cross and who said, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," these thousands of years later. It looked like a tragedy, it wasn't a tragedy. What was tragic about it is that Pharaoh and his crowd would not believe in the one true God in spite of nine tragic things that God allowed to happen and still they didn't believe.
Today, it's the same way. You could hear "In Touch" all over the world but, do you think everybody believes it? No. You think everybody believes the Gospel today? No, because they look around and say, "I'm not doing too bad, I don't need Jesus". And listen, you don't have to go somewhere else to find people to tell you that. It may be that your neighbor or somebody else can tell you that. No, I don't need Jesus. I don't need to go to church. I don't need God, I'm doing fine. That's just, that's just your belief.
And how many of those Egyptians must have said to their Hebrew neighbors, "Oh, that's for you all, that's not for us". The death angel did not miss a single household. The death angel came and saw or killed, one of the two. Where there was no blood, God had said through Moses this is what is going to happen. And what is God saying today? "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God".
Well, what about all of those folks who've never heard? God can handle that. You do not have to wonder about people who have heard, who have not heard. You'd better be concerned about the fact that you have heard. You know the truth and the people that you know. You don't have to worry about God making any mistakes about who's going to Heaven.
And so, it was a tragedy upon tragedy upon tragedies that the death angel came and so many people lost their lives. And what happened? God told them exactly what to do. Now He says, "The next morning, we're leaving". I'm sure they had lots of questions. And the Scriptures, the Scripture says that, "now, the Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, 'We'll all be dead.' So, the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in their cloths on their shoulders. Now the sons of Israel had done according to what the Word of God said and had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold and clothing".
That's what God told me. He said, "You are to plunder the Egyptians". Does that sound like God? Yes, because for all those hundreds of years, the Egyptians had misused the people of God. And now, He has the Egyptians under such conviction, scared to death. They are saying, "Take my silver, take my gold". In other words, they had been slaves for all those years. And now, God was rewarding them for their suffering and they were on their way.
They must have asked many times, "Well, Moses, where are we going, where we're headed"? But they were going somewhere and at that point they didn't know where they were going. And they didn't know how long it was going to take. They were just trusting the word of the prophet, Moses. So, when somebody says to you, "Well, if you could explain to me this Heaven business and how to get there and all that. Well, if you can answer some of my questions, I might believe".
Here's the written, inspired, inerrant Word of the living God. This Book's not antiquated; it's a warning, because nowhere do we find God changing His mind or changing His ways. And now one of these days, those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ and the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sins are going to heaven, and people who have not, will not, refuse, will not go. It's not popular. Tell your friends that, they don't believe it. And yet, here's what the Bible says: "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment".
You see, if you don't believe what He says about salvation, you won't believe what He says about judgment. So, where are you? You don't believe what He says about sin? The Bible says all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death. When you put those two together, where does that leave you? "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. The soul that sinneth, it shall die". Where does that leave us? Only at the mercy of Almighty God, trusting Jesus Christ as our Savior. We either believe Him, or we don't believe Him.
Think about this, God spared that group of Israelites and He kept His Word. Through all those years, through all the trials and heartaches and burdens and Scriptures, all the way through the rest of the Bible. Listen, from Genesis, Exodus all the way through to the Gospels. And finally, there's a crucifixion, finally there's the shedding of blood once more. The only difference is this, it doesn't have to be in every household, but it does have to be in every life. The blood of the lambs, the blood of the goats saved them thousands of years ago. The blood of Jesus saves us today.
Listen, Moses could've said this. Without the shedding of blood, there will be no forgiveness. There will be no salvation without the shedding of blood. It's still true. That was a symbol, Jesus was the blood. You know how blessed you are that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life and it was not anything that you did. It's something that He did and you simply responded to it. "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God". "Without the shedding of blood there's no remission of sin". "But, if we confess our sin, He's faithful, just".
That means He has a right, has the privilege and the power to forgive us. Why? Because the blood of Jesus Christ atones for, pays for every single solitary sin, with the blood of Jesus. That's the power of the Son of God. What a wonderful, not story, but what a wonderful account in the Word of God. Salvation promised by Almighty God, all the way back to Adam shedding of blood, and what is our responsibility?
Think about this, our responsibility is just one thing: faith, trust Him, believe Him. And if you do, listen, if you believe the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you will surrender your life. Somebody says, "Oh, I don't believe but". No, no, no, no. If you believe, you will surrender your life to Christ. Surrender your life to Christ, you are eternally secure by the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen?
Father, thank You, praise You, bless Your Holy Name for giving us this account of the truth of these awesome events of the past. We bless Your Holy Name, we praise You. We applaud You, oh Lord God for being patient, loving, and kind with us and forgiving us continually. I pray that every person who hears this message will believe in his and her heart, the truth that makes the difference between where we spend eternity. We praise You, we bless You, we honor You, we glorify Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.[center][/center]