Then you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn, so I said to you, Let My son go that he may serve Me; but you have refused to let him go, Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”
These verses are difficult to read. Pharaoh is recalcitrant and defiant. His heart is hard and it will become increasingly harder as the narrative progresses. Pharaoh opposes God until a final act of judgment, the death of all the first-born in Egypt. The idea of judgment is not in favor these days, but what is more problematic is a God without judgment. What kind of world would that produce? And who would want to believe in that sort of God?
There is no way around it; there is judgment in view of sin. However, what makes these verses ironic and full of wonder is that this judgment is ultimately direct towards God’s own son, and the eternal son willing embraces this judgment on the cross. Isaiah 53: 10-11 writes:
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The story of redemption ends on a note of worshipful wonder, the wonder of grace.Tags: beloved son, Exodus 5:22-23, Theology