The children of Israel had been in bondage and slavery in ancient Egypt for many, many years when God called Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go. That first encounter between the two men, one an all powerful king and the other a slave, set the stage for the stunning events of the first Passover.
In Exodus 5:1&2, Moses, representing the children of Israel, shows his faith in the Lord by literally risking his life to tell Pharaoh what God told him to say, “Let My people go.” Conversely, Pharaoh, representing the Egyptians, shows his lack of faith saying, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”
So in Exodus 11, when He announces the tenth and final plague, the plague of death, God says the Egyptians will be struck, but not the Hebrews. In fact He says not even a dog will bark against the children of Israel.
Then, finishing verse 7, He proclaims, “ . . . that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” It’s not that God hates Egyptians, or any Arabs for that matter. The issue is faith vs no faith - that’s what makes a difference to God.
Now this is really amazing. After promising Israel would be spared from the plague of death, God then laid out requirements for that to happen. As outlined in Chapter 12 of Exodus, Moses instructed the Hebrew slaves to take a lamb without blemish. He told them to keep that lamb for four days, then kill it, applying some of its blood to the doorposts of their houses. That alone required an act of faith. Certainly there had never been such a requirement before, and this one sounded pretty bizarre. Add to that the potential fear factor - that the Egyptian guards might react violently to this activity.
But, according to Exodus 12:28, “Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.”
Here is how God’s plan worked. He sent the plague of death into Egypt to kill all the first born in the land. But the mark of the blood on the door was a sign for the plague to pass over that house (there’s where we get the name Passover) and not cause any harm. Now remember, God had already promised the children of Israel nothing would happen to them, yet He required an act of faith, applying the blood, to save them from the plague.
What if some of the Egyptians followed the same requirement, faithfully applying the blood to their doorposts. Then they were spared as well because God said in Exodus 12:13, “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” He didn’t say the blood had to be on a Hebrew’s door.
As He said, the Lord did make a difference, and it was a difference between life and death, between those who applied the blood, and those who didn’t.
So it is to this day. God still makes a life and death difference for eternity, based on who applies the blood. (See accompanying article, How can this not be Jesus.)