Thursday, February 28, 2008

Exodus 11 & 12 - The Passover

READING: Exodus 11-12

Here comes the climax of the plagues -- the death of the firstborn of every family. And finally, because of this death, Pharaoh let the Israelites leave Egypt, taking with them ALL of the people from the oldest to the youngest, as well as all the livestock, just like Moses requested in the first place. And to top it off, they also took many riches from Egypt that the Egyptian people gave to them. We will see later that many Egyptians joined them on this journey as well.

God had dramatically demonstrated His power and authority through the plagues and had preserved the lives of the Israelites while destroying the life and property of the Egyptians (not to mention the validity of the Egyptian gods). Imagine the excitement Moses must have felt as about two million people followed him out of Egypt! God was doing just what He had told Moses He would do! They had an appointment to keep with God at Mt. Sinai (aka Horeb), where God had appeared to Moses in the burning bush back in chapter three. And now they were on their way!

BACKGROUND NOTES:
11:3 - Moses was greatly esteemed in Egypt. Although Pharaoh's heart was hardened, the hearts of many others were not. They saw that Moses had a more powerful God they theirs. They respected Moses. And the LORD softened the hearts of the Egyptians toward the Hebrew people.

11:7 - a dog shall not even bark - A proverbial saying meaning that no one would offer the least resistance when Israel left Egypt (Ryrie).

12:2 ff - Passover is such a significant event that it will define the beginning of the Hebrew year from now on. It is an event that is to be celebrated every year among the people of Israel.

12:15 ff - The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven day commemoration that begins the evening of Passover and is also to be celebrated annually. Leaven is a symbol of sin and is to be cleared completely from all homes on the first day of this feast and kept out until the feast week is over. Likewise, after we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are to walk in holiness. (See 1 Cor 5:7.)

Scarlet Thread of Redemption - Passover is a tremendous celebration for the children of Israel and a beautiful illustration of the redemption Christ accomplished at Calvary.

  • At Passover, Israel celebrates liberation from slavery in Egypt, just as Jesus provided liberation from slavery to sin. Romans 6:6 says, ". . . our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." Jesus said that He came to "give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45), in other words, he came to purchase many from slavery.
  • The lamb had to be without blemish, as Jesus was without sin. John (the baptizer) announced Jesus' arrival in John 1:29 with "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" and Hebrews 9:14 says Christ "offered Himself without blemish to God."
  • The lamb had to be killed, just as Jesus was sacrificed. In John 12, Jesus explained that He had to be "lifted up," that is crucified, in order to draw men to Himself.
  • No bones of the lamb were to be broken, just as Jesus' bones would not be broken on the cross (John 19:31-36).
  • The lamb's blood was applied to the doorway in order to preserve life, just as Jesus' blood is applied for our forgiveness and thus our preservation. Since "all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb 9:22).
REFLECTION:
Reflect today on the spotless Passover Lamb and how His blood was shed so that God's wrath could "pass over" you and preserve you, and so you would be forgiven of your sin and set free from its power over you.

POSSIBLE APPLICATION:
Has the blood of Jesus been applied to your life, cleansing you and allowing God's wrath to pass over you? If so, are you progressing toward holiness? "Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor 5:7-8)

PRAYER:
You are worthy, Jesus, for You were slain and did purchase for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (from Rev. 5:9, 10, 12, 13)
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