A Distinguishing Mark

Okay, I don’t know why the CSB translators break ranks with every other translation, but they do. And for me this morning, as I read in Exodus, it pops because it connects two important dots.

Dot number one? The LORD makes a distinction.

There will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before or ever will be again.  But against all the Israelites, whether people or animals, not even a dog will snarl, so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.

(Exodus 11:6-7 CSB)

Nine plagues down, one to go. Through Moses, God has repeatedly commanded Pharaoh to let His people go and Pharaoh has repeatedly refused. Time for talking is done. Time for deliverance draws nigh. The final display of the LORD God’s might? The Giver of Life will take the lives of the firstborn. And when He does, all of Egypt will wail as no nation has ever wailed before. And yet, next door, in the land occupied by the Israelites, not a peep. Not a whimper. How come? Not a death. So that all would know that the Lord makes a distinction.

But on what basis? Nationality? Ethnicity? Geography? Nope. Cue dot number two.

“I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both people and animals. I am the Lord; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

(Exodus 12:12-13 CSB)

The blood. That’s dot two. The Israelites were to, by faith, trust the lives of their firstborn to a self-applied ritual. Take a lamb, a year-old male without blemish, slaughter it at twilight, apply its blood to the doorposts and the lintel of the house, roast it and eat it, and then stay put under the protection of that blood-covered home. Because, as every other translation puts it, the blood on the house would be a sign. Because, as the CSB renders it, the blood would be a distinguishing mark.

The applied blood of a spotless lamb, the distinguishing mark upon which the Lord makes a distinction between His people and the world. Not their nationality. Not their ethnicity. Not their geography. Not even their piety. But only the blood of a lamb on their house.

I sit here this morning confident in my eternal future. Not because of who I am or where I live or what I’ve done, but because I too am under a distinguishing mark. Because I am covered by the blood of the Lamb — Jesus, the perfect Son of God, without spot or fault, who came to take away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29) and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). My sins atoned for, I fear not judgment. My Savior risen, I know death’s bondage has been broken.

I sit here confident this morning because I have, by faith, personally applied the blood. The blood of the Lamb being the sole distinguishing mark assuring my deliverance. The blood of the Lamb the only basis upon which the Lord makes a distinction.

And that, only by His grace. And that, only for His glory.

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