Our last story told us a little about Moses and his life. Now he goes on to talk with Pharaoh, Egypt’s leader.
You’ll never guess what happens next…
Moses and his brother Aaron met with Pharaoh and pleaded with him, “Let the Israelites leave Egypt for just three days to worship God. If you choose not to do this, God will punish the Egyptians severely.”
Pharaoh was stubborn and would not listen. He said, “Who is this God that I should listen to Him? I don’t know your God, and I am not letting you leave. You are just trying to create a distraction. Now, get back to work!”
After their meeting with Pharaoh things got worse for the Israelites. Pharaoh forced them to work faster and longer hours. Cruel slave masters pushed them to work harder and harder as they made bricks from mud and straw and worked in the fields.
God sent a series of horrible plagues on the Egyptians and their land, but these plagues did not have any effect on the Israelites. The first plague turned the Nile River into blood. All of the fish died, and the water smelled terrible and was undrinkable.
The second plague brought a mob of frogs that covered the entire country. These frogs were everywhere—in their bedrooms, their kitchens, and even their pots and pans!
The third and fourth plagues brought gnats and flies. They covered all of the people and animals. Pharaoh’s magicians tried to copy each of these plagues but couldn’t create gnats. They cried to Pharaoh, “God must be doing this to us!”
After each of these plagues Moses returned to Pharaoh and asked him to let the Israelites go so they could worship God. But Pharaoh was stubborn and would not listen.
The fifth plague brought severe disease to Egypt’s livestock, but none of the Israelites’ cattle became sick!
The sixth plague caused the Egyptians to break out with horrible sores all over their bodies—so bad they couldn’t sit or lay down!
As each of the plagues hit, Pharaoh would say, “Enough! If you stop the plagues, I will let you leave.” But after God stopped the plagues, Pharaoh still would not let them go. God had made Pharaoh even more stubborn, and he refused to listen.
The seventh and eighth plagues brought hail and locusts that destroyed every tree and plant in the land. The locusts swept down and ate everything that wasn’t wiped out by the hail.
The ninth plague brought complete darkness over the land for three days. No one could see anything except for the Israelites, who still had light in their homes.
Despite all of these horrific events, Pharaoh still would not let the Israelites leave! God told Moses, “Pharaoh’s stubbornness will give me the opportunity to do even greater miracles in Egypt.”
So God would send one final plague…
Moses warned Pharaoh about this final plague, saying, “This is what God says: ‘About midnight I will pass through Egypt. Every firstborn son will die—rich or poor—from Pharaoh’s son on down. The Egyptians will weep loudly, but the Israelites will not be touched. Then you will beg the people of Israel to leave.’”
Moses left his meeting with Pharaoh burning with anger. In spite of this warning, Pharaoh still refused to let them go.
Then Moses and Aaron gave the Israelites instructions from God on how they could be saved from this plague. They told the people, “Each family is to select a sacrifice: a year-old male lamb or goat that is pure and without any defects (problems). Be careful not to break any of its bones. Then take the blood from this sacrifice and put it on the door frames of your home. This will be a sign from God to pass over your home and spare your firstborn.”
So the people of Israel did exactly what God told them to do. At midnight God came through Egypt and took the life of every firstborn son, but He passed over the homes that had blood on their door frames.
All of Egypt woke during the night because of the loud weeping. Someone had died in nearly every Egyptian home, including Pharaoh’s own son. The Egyptians begged the Israelites to leave right away.
That night the Israelites, now numbering more than two million, set out to return to their Promised Land of Canaan. God guided them through the wilderness with a pillar made of clouds during the day and a pillar of fire at night.
Meanwhile Pharaoh changed his mind again and sent his armies after the Israelites to catch them. As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel saw them in the distance and began to panic because the Red Sea was in front of them. They turned against Moses, complaining, “Our slavery back in Egypt was better than dying out here in the wilderness!”
Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. God will rescue you today. He will fight for you!”
Then God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea. As he did this, God brought a huge wind that opened up a dry path for them to walk across! Pharaoh and his armies began to follow behind the Israelites. God told Moses to stretch out his hand again. This brought another huge wind that blew the sea back over Pharaoh and his armies, completely destroying them!
The people of Israel were in awe of God’s amazing power. They put their trust in God and also in His servant Moses. They sang songs, danced, and celebrated how God had saved them!