This concept of unselfish love, that costs us something in the giving up of some of ourselves in deference to others, could not be more starkly contrasted in the callous and uncaring attitude of the Egyptians towards the Israelites.
The Israelites were not supposed to be slaves. This was not their destiny as intended by God. They were the future nation of Israel…the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8)…a blessing to all of the nations (Genesis 18:18). But the Egyptians couldn’t care less about the Israelites or their future potential as individuals or as a nation. The Egyptians only cared about themselves.
The Egyptians were all about other people serving them. They were the epitome of cold-hearted, worldly self-advancement at the expense of others. Their self-centered attitudes and actions were the direct opposite of perfect love. They were the diametric opposite of the unselfish and pure love expressed within the Trinity, which God was about to attempt to bring into the realm of human experience on a larger scale through the creation of the nation of Israel.
No amount of clear reasoning, or logical appeal, or supernatural signs through catastrophic plagues could break through the worldly self-centeredness of the Egyptians. They cared only about keeping the Hebrews in bondage as slaves under their control. God judged this destructively hate-filled character trait of Lucifer’s approach to the use of power, demonstrated in action through the blindly self-centered attitude of the Egyptians towards the Israelites, with powerful finality at the parting of the Red Sea.
At some point in time during the previous ten plagues brought upon the land of Egypt leading up to the release of the Israelites, the Egyptians became stubbornly hardened beyond reach. The Egyptian chariot army, poised to attack the Israelites camped on the shoreline of the Red Sea, were well beyond the sympathetic and loving outreach of God. If the nation of Egypt at that time could not be reasoned with through the obvious hand of God evidenced through the supernatural ten plagues upon their land, then they were beyond the reach of self-evaluation, repentance, and redemption (Exodus 1:8-14; 7:3-5).
Pride and self-centeredness pushed out the capacity for repentance. The Egyptians could no longer empathize or feel compassion for the Israelites. They had lost the ability to care about others. The Egyptians had no fear, no respect, and no reverence for the word of God. This is our lost-in-sin condition at its worst. The Egyptians were in a total state of unbelief…polarized in spiritual blindness beyond salvage. God knows that following Lucifer leads to oblivion. God tried but could not break through to the Egyptian nation, even using powerful signs and plagues. Sadly, the only recourse for God to do with the incurable threat of the Egyptian army was to drown it in final judgment in the Red Sea. Otherwise, the Egyptian chariot army might have merely driven north around the Red Sea, and attacked the Israelites on the other side.
This may be a preview of the last days. For some people the twenty-one scroll, trumpet, and bowl judgment plagues of Revelation, like the ten plagues in Egypt, will have no effect (Revelation 9:20-21; 16:9).
The pivotal question for all Christians to consider as they study the end-times biblical prophecies is can this massive final confrontation between good and evil occur with all of its force and impact without the main Christian church on the earth for at least some portion of the seven-year tribulation? Can God perfectly choreograph the events of the end-times tribulation period, separating good from evil, demonstrating His redemptive love, and exposing the need for final judgment, without the modern-day equivalent of the “Egyptians” and the “Israelites” both being present in full strength along the banks of the Red Sea at the same time?
Would the start of the parting of the Red Sea a day or two earlier, facilitating the easier escape of the Israelites without the pressure of their impending doom in the visible presence of the nearby Egyptian army, have diluted and thereby spoiled this classic encounter between good and evil, mediated so decisively by the supernatural deliverance of God in opening up the Red Sea? Can the hatred that is generated against Christians (Matthew 24:9), the debate that occurs between the little horn of Daniel and the saints of the Most High (Daniel 7:20-21), the final and glorious deliverance of the church through the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Matthew 24:40-41), and the scroll, trumpet, and final bowl judgments of Revelation all occur without God bringing them all perfectly together in close proximity in time and space? Do all of the antagonists have to be fully in place on earth for the final conflict to have lasting impact and resolution?