From: Heaven on Earth
When Moses confronts Pharaoh for the first time, the tyrant defiantly responds, “Who is the Lord, that I should heed him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go,” (Exodus 5:2). He soon discovers the answer to his own question. God sends ten plagues, proving himself to be far more powerful than Egypt’s maniacal monarch or its gods. In the Exodus story, God’s people escape from Egypt and are formed into an independent nation under God’s rule. Israel will become God’s Kingdom.
To protect the Hebrews from the tenth plague and to prepare them for their liberation, God instructs each family to kill a lamb, smear its blood on the doorpost of their house, and prepare and eat a Passover meal. After passing over the Jewish homes where the blood is applied, the angel of death moves on to the unprotected Egyptian homes and takes the lives of all Egyptian firstborn, both humans and beasts. This horrid plague motivates Pharaoh to finally let God’s people go free.
Thus, salvation is once again political. As the throngs of liberated slaves cross the Red Sea and reach a place of safety, they sing in unison the Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18), which concludes with the words, “The Lord will reign forever and ever.” In singing this canticle by the sea, Israel acknowledges Yahweh to be the true King, whose dominion is everlasting and far superior to the world’s most powerful Pharaoh. The women join in “with tambourines and with dancing” as Miriam directs them, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea,” (vv. 20-21). The people sing jubilantly, and their dance and actions portray their new political, economic, and social position as free people.