The Lord’s Passover

Exodus 12:1-13

Here’s one of those calendar “adjustments” mentioned last week. Revisited Moses’ audience with Pharaoh, now back up a few days and get much fuller report of God’s instructions to Moses and Aaron. God gave highly detailed play-by-play description of what was to be annual time of worship for Jewish people from that time forward. Little room for Hebrew children to get creative – expected them to follow his instruction exactly. Especially on this first Passover, woe be to family who took liberties.

The moment God’s people desired rapidly approaching – the very day God had appointed had arrived (Ex. 12:41) and this gracious God-who-is provided everything necessary for his people to be prepared. Not only prepared for final plague, properly ready for imminent deliverance from slavery in Egypt. True, much to celebrate as 430 years of distance from land promised to them come to end. Also night of mourning, not just for Egyptians. Blood sacrifice one of those two-sided pictures: shows promise of life, at same time bringing death.

Here again see how seriously God takes whole issue of redemption. Not cheap, not easily achieved, must be purchased at very high cost. Not even talking about redemption from sin, just deliverance from human slavery. Celebrate freedom from tyranny, guarantees of nation’s Bill of Rights, and so we should. Must treasure and celebrate freedom from tyranny of sin and Satan. Hebrew children’s experience in Egypt is a picture of redemption from sin… but only a picture… not the real thing. That would come centuries later… at profoundly higher cost, which Son of God purchased on our behalf. Is much in Passover worship that speaks of our true Passover Sacrifice. God gives introduction, followed by instruction and illumination.

A. introduction v.1-2

God speaks – he makes first move

God doesn’t wait for his people – would never make the move if up to us! – another way God asserts rightful authority

don’t have to wonder who is in charge, who sets the standard, who leads / follows – is God who does so in all areas of life

in Egypt – where his people are

was not something Moses/Aaron knew all along – they had to exercise faith in God along with all the people – knew some of big story, had to trust God for details

showing (later in greater measure) how God comes down to man – primary difference between Christianity, other religions

the rest have man in some way working his way out of circumstances and up to God in some way – man makes it up to be with God, or man makes it to be God

popular to say “all roads lead to heaven / God” – no, they don’t! only one, the one God hmself came down to us

continues demonstrating his authority over times of his people – this month

perhaps prior to this Hebrew children used whatever calendar neighbors used – now would all change, which day began the year, how some of days during year would be used

not a new thing, God had made similar declaration to close out week of Creation – “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” (Gen. 2:3) almost certainly used words so Adam / Eve knew what to do

comes up again in Exodus chapter 20 – God established length of week, first day and last day, made clear expectations of how days were to be used

now month and year – this month beginning of months – established order of months and beginning of year, regardless of where it came on Egyptian calendar

would begin their year with time of worship remembering / celebrating deliverance from slavery – we are blessed to begin each week that way!

B. instruction v.3-11

on this first Passover, people preparing for more than open gates to leave Egypt – were to prepare for presence of God among his people

since Pharaoh refused to let people worship God, he was coming to visit people… in Egypt… and basically stay for a while

take a lamb

v. 5 continues description, here just specifies “one of a flock”, to be taken on tenth day of the month by head of household

would need to leave Egypt before could engage in corporate worship – yet God gives instruction to “congregation of Israel” for family worship while still in foreign pagan culture

Passover to be family / community act of worship – if family too small for lamb portion, invite your neighbor

no conditions given for smallness – no children, single parent, single individual – whatever the reason, God made provision for everyone to have a family to worship with

this kind of lamb

perfect one of the flock, a male, one year old, a sheep or goat – no outward visible blemish, an accurate representative of sheep or goat

God expects the best for sacrifice, those who love God should want to bring the best… because is what perfect holy God deserves when his people come in worship

important note: when we prepare for worship, should purposefully intentionally prepare and bring our best to give to God – best devotion, attention, sacrifice of praise

keep the lamb

watch the lamb, care for the lamb from tenth until evening of fourteenth day – care for it, tend it, feed it, treat it as member of family

is to be some kind of identity, relationship between family and sacrifice – to be their animal, not their purchase, nothing at arm’s length here but close personal identity between sinner and sacrifice

important that lamb was not taken from flock and sacrificed – was taken from home, by the family to be sacrificed as act of corporate worship – the whole assembly/congregation

kill the lamb

God gave them detailed instruction how this lamb was to be complete sacrifice, maintaining connection with family throughout

was to be done carefully, no haphazard affair done any which way – was particular order to events: God’s demands satisfied first, then family needs met

just opposite of contemporary mind-set: family comes first, God gets left-overs… if there are any… after work and play

prepare and eat the lamb

blood from lamb put on doorposts, lintel, not of place of worship but place where family lived – whole nother lesson in that

to be roasted and eaten by family, including neighbors – whoever there in that home to be nourished by animal who had given its life for them

eat it this way

eat the flesh, roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs – will have a little time (roasted) but not a lot (unleavened)

time to prepare the meal but not time for bread to rise – unleavened bread keeps and travels better, important for tomorrow

looking forward – not relaxed… dressed to travel, eat in haste, at same time remembering why this was such a good thing

once redeemed, delivered, bitterness of slavery in past but not ever to be forgotten – forget where you were, take for granted where you are

the LORD’S passover

instituted by God, regulated by God, reminder of YHWH’s might act done solely by him on behalf of his people – had no helper to deliver Hebrew children

no ordinary meal, taken all together shows Lord of hosts defending and delivering, passing over and preserving Isa. 31.5

no surprise God would be so particular about Passover given 1 Cor. 5.7 – “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” – lamb eaten every Passover in anticipation of “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

C. illumination v.12-13

important distinction of words here in v.12 & 13 – this terrifying God of judgment would pass through land of Egypt, same delivering God would pass over those he intended to preserve

I will pass through

I will strike – unpalatable as it is to many, was God himself who came to Egypt “personally” to strike blow for justice

I will execute Judgment – doesn’t work through agent, circumstances, judicial system – is God himself bringing judgment on his enemies who are also enemies of his people

we’re caught on horns of dilemma – we want God to defend his people from harm, we don’t want God to do that in his way

we prefer God to love people over to his side – many times he does, is how we ended up there; but, not always way God chooses to work: God is love, God is also holy and just

I will pass over

the plague will not be on you – wonder if Hebrew children were really convinced of that, standing there eating supper, questioning if would really leave town that night… alive or dead

just as certainly as God had brought each plague, as surely as God had ended each plague, could be counted on for this one

God doesn’t say: check to make sure they followed instructions, then go deal with Egypt – does say would “pass over”

Hebrew children just as guilty of sin before God as Egyptians, deserved God’s wrath – only one thing could avert it… blood

must be blood applied, not merely shed

not blood of animal sacrificed God saw, was blood of sacrifice applied to doorposts and lintel of their home, where they lived

same is true for what that blood represented… blood of Christ – must be applied to each sinner individually

all this is true

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Rom. 5:6, 8 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

but is it true for you? Jesus’ sacrifice has no value for you until it is applied to you by grace through faith in Christ

God makes this plain in His Word: “God sovereignly and freely choose (Eph 1:4-5) to save you; God gives you faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus (Eph 2:8-10); on the basis of your faith in Jesus’ righteousness and not your own, God declare you righteous (Rom 3:26); God give you His Spirit (Rom 5:51 John 3:23; 4:13) Who will make His presence known in you (Rom 8:16) and through you (Gal 5:22-23); God does this for His own glory (Isa 43:7; Eph 3:20-21).”

 

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