In Lockdown With Pharaoh


I’m sure you remember the story when God’s people were slaves in Egypt and despite God sending plague after plague, Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go.

In Exodus 12 we read about the preparations which were to be made for the last plague, which was the death of the firstborn child and animal. Moses was instructed to tell the Israelites, that each family should take a lamb and bring it into their home.

They were told to slaughter the lamb and take some of its blood and smear it on the two doorposts and the lintel of their home. God, Himself says that He will go through the land of Egypt and kill every firstborn child and animal.

‘The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you-no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.’ Exodus 12:12-13

‘Moses assembled all the elders of Israel. He said, select a lamb for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the bowl of blood and smear it on the lintel and on the two doorposts. No one is to leave the house until morning.’ Exodus 12:21-22

Notice that they were to ‘stay in their house until morning’.

‘Come, my people, go home and shut yourselves in. Go into seclusion for a while until the punishing wrath is past.’ Isaiah 26:20

Here Isaiah uses Israel’s deliverance from Egypt as a metaphor. Basically, he says that God’s people will eventually be delivered from the wickedness and bondage of this world in order to be restored to peace within God’s presence.

Notice again that they were told to ‘go home and shut themselves in’.

Over the past few months, the whole world has become accustomed to the word ‘lockdown’, in reference to the coronavirus.

Our freedom of movement was taken away from us, there are many social distancing regulations still in place.

We couldn’t go for a coffee, have a meal in a restaurant or have our hair cut, and we certainly couldn’t get together for fellowship or meet in our places of worship.

All these measures were in place and some continue to be in place for our own safety and to stop, or at least slow down the spread of the virus.

In Exodus 12 we see a ‘lockdown’ being enforced by God Himself.

Discussion Questions

Why did God enforce this lockdown? Exodus 3:7.

Although lockdown is easing up a bit, most of the world has been in lockdown for months. What do you think would be going through the minds of God’s people as they were instructed to stay indoors for only one night?

What do you think they would have spent the night doing?

How difficult would it have been if a household had young children?

What would you do if the children or you wanted to pop out to the bathroom?

How would you explain what was going on to your children? Exodus 12:25-27

When you wake up in the mourning and you heard all the wailing from those who had lost their firstborn child, Exodus 12:30, what would you say to those parents who lost their child?

I’m sure that some people would have comforted their friends and maybe others would be thinking to themselves, ‘why didn’t they just stay at home? If they did stay at home, their child would still be alive!’

Although this was a time of great rejoicing for Israel and the other nations, it was also a time of deep sorrow as thousands of families would have lost their firstborn child because they refused to listen to God’s instructions.

I can imagine all those other nations that were slaves to the Egyptians hearing what the God of Israel was going to do. The Bible tells us that they too, including some Egyptians, must have followed Moses’ instructions because they too were delivered from slavery, Exodus 12:38.

I received a letter from our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as did everyone who lives in the UK. In the letter he urged us to ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’. That order has now been changed to ‘Stay alert, control the virus, save lives’.

‘Be a good citizen. All governments me under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen.’ Romans 13:l-2

Discussion Question

Should we obey our Prime Minister’s instruction to ‘Stay alert, control the virus, save lives’?

According to what Paul writes to the Romans, if we don’t obey our government, we’re actually disobeying God.

I’m sure during the Passover there would have been people who thought to themselves, ‘I’ll just pop outside for a bit, what harm can it do! It’s not going to hurt anyone else.’ I’m sure some people would have thought to themselves, ‘I’m an Israelite, God won’t take my firstborn son!’

And I’m sure that some people even today are thinking to themselves, ‘I won’t catch this virus, that won’t happen to me, this virus isn’t all that bad, if I go out and ignore the regulations, it’s not going to hurt anyone else!’

Discussion Question

What do you think those who have lost ones would say to that attitude?

At the time of writing this study, there have been 44,391 deaths here in the UK. That’s a huge number of people, each of those numbers represents someone’s mum, dad, grandparent, cousin, aunt, uncle, son and daughter.

Do you think all those who have suffered loss because of this virus take the virus seriously?

Most of the world has been ‘isolating’ for months now, and so, while we’re stuck in our homes, what should we be doing?

‘But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.’ Matthew 6:6

What does Jesus teach we should do behind closed doors?

During our time of ‘isolation’, it’s the perfect time to build our prayer life and pray not only for ourselves but for everyone in the world.

During the time of writing this study over half a million people have now died of Covid-19 and that number is only going to increase.

Yes, we should be praying for all the frontline workers, carers and volunteers.

Yes, we should be praying that people will now stop and think about their eternal salvation.

But we shouldn’t forget to pray for all those families who have lost their children, their mums and dads, their aunties and uncles, their grandparents, their brothers and sisters, their cousins and their friends.

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Discussion Question

According to the Apostle Paul, why do we receive comfort from God?

Has anything good come out of this pandemic?

Has your relationship with God changed for the good during lockdown?

God will see us through this pandemic, as He saw His people through the Passover. I we obey our government, we will save the lives of countless others.

May God bless us all during this challenging time.