The following speech is meant for those with a belief in the Christian or Jewish God. If this is not you, then you probably will not like what you read.
The Jewish nation finally had their prophet, Moses, the one who would deliver them from the slavery they faced in Egypt. Egypt at times in the past had been very good to them, and their survival was due to the kindness of Pharoah in the past, but times have changed. Egypt was becoming abusive of the people who they were afraid of increasing in number and outnumbering the Egyptians themselves someday. An inhumane order of killing their children was sent out years earlier, Moses himself was spared the fate of death by the Pharaoh's own daughter. But now the children of Israel were forced to be slaves and suffer the abuse of Egyptian overseers. Many of the children of Israel would long to be back in the slavery of the Egyptians than to wander in the desert for 40 years following their new prophet.
Why did God lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? Was it to ease their burdens and give them a life of comfort? No. Though God heard their prayers, it was not for simply making their lives easier. God loved Israel and had great plans for them. He made covenants with their ancestors that THEY would be HIS people. Because of this, God had to lead them out of the land of Egypt to drive the Egyptian out of them.
God has his own culture, make no mistake about that. In God's culture, stealing is not tolerated, murdering is not tolerated, adultery is not tolerated, coveting is not tolerated, fathers and mothers should be honored, idols to false Gods should not be engraved, people should not be offered to them as a sacrifice, his own name should not be taken in vain and one day of week should be spent in his worship. God wanted them as one of his own, but they would never be one of his whiles in the land of the Egyptians. God is not multicultural.
God is not multicultural, but he is not a racist. God did not hate the Egyptians, but they were not a people who were capable of being part of his culture. He had no desire to harm the Egyptians, so he sent them warnings. Warning that their lives would be spared. Warnings and miracles that they should listen and let his people go free into the wilderness and join the culture of God. The Egyptians were not to be in his culture, but he wished no ill will on them. But the Egyptians did not believe the signs and miracles. God gave them easy signs at first, that did no harm to the Egyptians, but they ignored them and refused to let the children leave Egypt. Even when the Egyptians agreed to let the Children of Israel leave, they changed their mind. But Israel did not belong to Egypt they belonged to God. So God gave them more miracles, with increasing hardships. All they had to do was let them go but they would not. Locusts, frogs, lice, the turning of water to blood, the killing of their livestock, but still an unwillingness to let their slaves part. It wasn't until God killed their firstborn that they would finally listen and let them depart.
The killing of their firstborn seems harsh, it seems unjust. But by the Egyptians own standard it was justifiable. The Egyptians felt it was justified for their diety on earth to kill the newborn children of Israel to maintain the control of them, now the God of heaven and earth would kill the firstborn of the Egyptians to free his people from them. Through the death of the Isreals newborn they were meant to be kept in bondage, and now through the death of the firstborn Egyptians, they would be made free.
The children of Isreal were now free, they were now being prepared for the promised land. God had chosen them as his own and he was now with Moses, preparing the laws that would govern their cultural. It was the night before the marriage, Isreal was the bride and God was the Groom. Of all the nations of the earth, of all the people we could have chosen, he chose Isreal to marry and be his own. But the children of Israel had cheating hearts, they missed their old captors the Egyptian and their ways, they wanted to go back. They missed their old culture and were unwilling to leave it in the past. So on the very night before the wedding, they commit adultery through idolatry. Just as the Egyptians had littered their cities with engraved images of Gods that did not exist, the children of Israel built an idol of a golden calf and worshiped this dumb idol instead of their God who had delivered them.
Was this so wrong? Can the children not have the best of both worlds. What about tolerance, what about acceptance, what about equality? What about the heritage and traditions of their fathers they learned while in Egypt, why should they not be able to bring those customs and traditions or even display and fly Egyptian flag for that matter. Would not this melting pot of cultures be a strength of Israel? No.
When Moses, the best man for the wedding returned he was horrified at the image he saw. He caught Israel, Gods very own bride committing adultery with an unknown God. What best man and loyal friend of the groom would not be incensed at the site of walking into a room and finding his best friends bride sleeping with another the night before the wedding? What a tramp, after all my best friend had done for you, after all the sacrifices he made for you, after all the possible brides he could have chosen he chose you. Israel how could you. But it was clear; they weren't prepared to be partakers in God's culture. They weren't prepared to join him. He took them out of Egypt, but Egypt was still in them.
The marriage was off, at least for now. This mix of cultures was unacceptable to God. They had to abandon their marriage and be fully committed to the marriage to God. But God still wanted the marriage, of all the people on the earth, these were the people he had chosen. So, Moses leads the people of Isreal in the wilderness for 40 years. Giving them a chance through hardship to become a worthy bride. Those who still in love with Egypt or not fully committed to Gods ways and culture would die off and a new generation, one that was not tainted or defiled by the Egyptians would take the place of those who were. Only one soul of all the people who were brought out of Egypt was found pure and able to adopt God's culture, all the rest died in the wilderness. Led by this one, this new generation who accepted God's way and not the way of man would now enter the land of milk and honey and enjoy the greatest culture in the world. After 40 years of refining, the wedding ceremony could now occur.