Wednesday, January 27, 2016

'Passover and Exodus' (Exodus 12-14).

God promised Abraham multiple descendants and a homeland to bless the world (Gen.12:1-3).  Abraham’s descendants, Jacob and his twelve sons, end up in Egypt where they multiplied but they became enslaved. They cry out and God remembers His covenant (Exodus 1:6-12, 2:16-25) and called Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. The Lord sent a variety of plagues to show His superiority over the gods of Egypt but the Pharaoh stubbornly resisted the Lord’s request to let the Israelites go. Yet, the Lord orchestrated the plagues to multiply His mighty acts and reveal Himself to both the Israelites and the Egyptians (6:6-7, 7:3-5). This takes us to the last plague so watch the video about the ‘Passover and the Exodus’ and read the comments below. 
 The Israelite households were to slaughter a year-old male lamb and put the blood on their doorframes. They were to roast the meat and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Then the Lord would bring judgment upon the ‘gods of Egypt’ by striking down every firstborn in Egypt. When the Israelites entered their ‘Promised Land’ they were to observe the ‘Passover’ throughout the generations and they were to teach their children that in ‘Lord’s Passover’ the Lord spared the Israelites when He struck down the Egyptians. When this happened there was loud wailing throughout Egypt because the Lord took the life of the firstborn in every Egyptian household from the house of Pharaoh to that of the prisoner. Pharaoh told Moses and the Israelites to take their flocks and herds and go worship the Lord. The Egyptians urged the Israelites to hurry and leave Egypt so they left before they could add yeast to their bread dough. The Lord caused the Egyptians to give the Israelites articles of silver and gold and so the Israelites plundered Egypt.  

After 430 years, the Israelites left Egypt with their families, their possessions and with many other people who accompanied them. The Lord led them on the longer route through the desert because the Lord knew that if they went directly through Philistine territory and faced war they may return to Egypt. Moses took Joseph’s bones with them as the Israelites had promised Joseph they would. The Lord led them out of Egypt by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Then the Lord challenged the Israelites by having the Israelites camp by the Red Sea and hardening Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would pursue them. Yet, the Lord would overthrow Pharaoh and his army to display His glory and to reveal Himself to the Egyptians. Pharaoh realized that their slave labor was gone so he sent his troops with their chariots to pursue the Israelites. Apparently he had forgotten the connection of the plagues to Israel and how the various plagues had left Egypt in ruins.

When the Israelites saw the Egyptians they cried out in terror and they questioned why Moses had led them out into the desert only to die at the hands of the Egyptians. They showed that they doubted God’s good intention towards them by telling Moses they were better off as slaves than corpses in the desert. Moses told the Israelites to stand firm and they would see the Lord deliverance. God through Moses told the Israelites that the Egyptians who they feared they would never see again. They only needed to be still and the Lord would fight for them, but they were not to sit immobilized in fear. The angel of the Lord, leading Israel, went behind them and the cloud went between Israel and Egypt bringing darkness on the Egyptians and light to the Israelites. Moses stretched out his staff over the sea and a strong east wind divided the sea. Then the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Pharaoh’s army followed the Israelites into the sea. But the Lord jammed the wheels of their chariots and threw them into confusion. Again Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and the Lord swept Pharaoh’s army into the sea. None of the Egyptians survived and the Israelites saw their dead bodies washed up on the shore. The Israelites saw the Lord’s power in the destruction of their enemies and they trusted in the Lord and in the Lord’s servant Moses.

The Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt until God manifested Himself in the plagues. In the final plague the Lord spared His people and brought judgment upon their oppressors. When the Israelites covered the doorframes of their houses with the ‘blood of the lamb’ the Lord passed them over when He struck down the firstborn of Egypt. So the Lord brought judgment on the ‘gods of Egypt’ and led His people by the pillar of cloud and fire. Yet, when they ended up pinned in by the Red Sea they were full of fear and they complained against Moses. Moses exhorted them to be still and he assured them that the Lord would deliver them. The Lord parted the ‘Red Sea’ so the Israelites could pass through on dry ground. Then when the Egyptians followed them into the sea the Lord fought for Israel (Ex. 14:14) and drowned their enemies in the sea. God is perfectly capable of overcoming any obstacle and delivering His people from any trouble. However, this doesn’t mean that the Lord promised to rescue us from every difficult situation. In this story God displayed his power when the way out was humanly impossible. God intervened and when the Israelites saw the power of the Lord they put their trust in the Lord and in the Lord’s servant Moses. In the same way, when we see the demonstration of the Lord’s power particularly in the death and resurrection of Jesus we are to put our trust in God and His servant the Lord Jesus (John 1:29, 1 Cor.5:7, Eph.1:19-21). 

No comments: