No, seriously. The Judge doesn't judge.
Okay, at least get one paragraph in before you write me off just based on the title of this post. What do I mean by God doesn’t judge? Check out these verses from Exodus 12: "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn — both men and animals — and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt." (vs 12-13)
There is a little bit of irony in these verses. First, God says "I will bring judgment," but I believe this passage also demonstrates that God doesn’t judge... in the usual way we think of God’s judgment. Usually, our typical ideas of God’s judgment involve some sort of pronouncement on His part, right? We stand before Him, and He declares us to either be "righteous" or "wicked." Or, in this particular case, we could easily assume that God’s "judgment" would take the form of smiting the Egyptians and sparing the Israelites.
But that’s not true. The text simply says that the angel would pass over the homes where there was blood on the doorpost. So, theoretically, if an Egyptian heard what was going on and — in a fit of superstition — decided to follow along with what the Israelites were doing, their household would have still had a living firstborn child the next day. Conversely, if an Israelite household had scoffed at the idea — What could smeared blood on a doorpost have to do with anything?! — they would have been -1 child when the sun came up.
The Passover was not punishment for the Egyptians and favoritism toward the Israelites. God is no respecter of persons. Everyone had the opportunity to put the blood on the doorposts. (And, it’s quite possible that some Egyptians did, as Exodus goes on to mention that there were a good number of "foreigners" who left Egypt with the Israelites.)
So... what about that part that says God will bring judgment upon the Egyptian gods? This is precisely what God’s judgment means. It’s not God standing over us, pronouncing some sort of sentence. It’s His revealing what is reality. Only God can read the secret heart, but through tangible actions, we can make our hearts known. Those who smeared the blood on the doorposts had — for some reason or another — heard the word of the Lord and decided to act upon it. But those who relied on their belief that the firstborn were gods in Egypt and, therefore, couldn’t be touched by God realized quickly that their beliefs weren’t right. In the Passover, their beliefs (and their gods) were "judged" as false — that is, revealed to be wrong.
Don’t I wish this was a message we could get into mainstream Christianity! God’s judgment is always about revelation, not condemnation!