The Passover Lamb

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 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.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.

17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.” Exodus 12:1-20

The Lord gave Moses detailed instructions about what would happen when the Spirit passed over the Israelites. The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Breat are two rituals that Jews celebrate to this day.

Obviously this plague was a serious matter because of all the human deaths that would occur. When they got the word, the Hebrews would be leaving Egypt in a hurry, which is the whole point of eating unleavened bread. It was such a serious ordeal that someone could be cut off from the Israelite community just by eating anything with yeast in it during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

The most significant part, however, was applying the blood from the animals sacrificed on the door posts. First, it was an act of obedience because in other plagues, the Lord passed over the Israelites. Of course it was more than an act of obedience because if the blood was not applied to their door posts, there might have been a death in that family.

All of this was a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. It was through the sacrificial male lamb without defects, Jesus Christ, and His resurrection that we were declared righteous before God. When we accept what He did for us, we are then able to commune with Him.

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And So It Begins

11 Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. 2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

9 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country. Exodus 11:1-10

This plague was the most serious because it was the taking of human life, the lives of Egypt’s firstborns. The Lord was setting up the scenario for Moses and Aaron. After they informed Pharaoh of what would happen, they left in anger. Up to this point, Pharaoh had no idea what this plague of death would be like even though he was told.

I have known people who said they were going to die. When they actually leave this earth, it’s a jolt to the system. I knew they were dying; they knew they were dying (and told me so), but until it actually occurred, it was only words.

Many reading this need to phone or visit one of these people you know who may not have very much time left. Their time on earth is limited, and you need to make the best use of that time but just talking with them, about family, about eternity, about life, about everything.

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To the End of Themselves

21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”

25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.”

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”

29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.” Exodus 10:21-29

For the Egyptians, there was no visible source of light during this plague: no sun, moon, stars, nothing. It was pitch black. With no source of light they could not go anywhere or do anything.

It’s rare that we find ourselves in situations where this is the case. Often after we turn out the lights, we cannot see anything until our eyes adjust to the glimmer of light. But in Egypt it was completely dark. Of course Pharaoh wanted to restore the light by any means possible, but he did it again. He tried to seek a way out on his terms. And it worked, but it was merely a temporary fix.

When darkness is total, you’ll do or say anything to get it back. Most people do not see the darkness they are in. There’s enough light for them to find safe haven in. Their darkness is not so bad.

We’ve seen many instances, however, when the darkness around people is so complete, the best option they have is to look up. They have other options, of course, but those are too dark to comtemplate. Unfortunately, sometimes people have to come to the end of themselves before they realize that they can’t do it on their own. When you see loved ones doing it, it’s painful and unbearable. But often it’s what God uses to draw them to Himself.

You probably know someone in this situation. Pray as if their life depends on it, because it may.

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Endless Cycle

13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.

16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”

18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 19 And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go. Exodus 10:13-18

Imagine going outside in the morning and the ground is covered with locusts. The inside of their homes were covered too. Pharaoh was not immune to these pests either. Nothing gets done. No one goes anywhere. No one can go anywhere. The locusts eat up all the vegetables growing. You just can’t get rid of them.

Pharaoh seems to be caught in an endless loop: the rules are laid out. Pharaoh refused to let them go. Consequences come. Pharaoh sort of repents. The Lord forgives, and the rules are yet again laid out.

We also see this cycle throughout Israel’s history. Fortunately, the cycle was broken when Christ came to earth. He was mankind’s ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Pharaoh only did what he did because he was a sinner in need of a Savior. He had plenty of opportunity to turn to the Lord God Almighty but it was always on his terms. When it wasn’t expedient for him, he returned to his old ways.

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Let’s Make a Deal

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 4 If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. 5 They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. 6 They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.'” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.

7 Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”

8 Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”

9 Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”

10 Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. 11 No! Have only the men go and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.

12 And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.” Exodus 10:1-12

At this point, I think Pharaoh knows he’s been defeated, but he’s in a state of denial about it. He wants to let the Hebrews go, but he wants to let them go on his terms. In this passage he wanted only the men to go.

If the hail didn’t destroy all living creatures and plants, for certain these locusts would. What is it, though, about pride that makes people refuse to admit they’ve done anything wrong? He was so close to being free from all the plagues, but he refused to give in to God’s demands.

We live life according to God’s terms. We can try to argue, persuade, cajole, and negotiate with God, but in the end we will lose.

We can’t go to God with conditions as if we’re that old game show host Monty Hall. We in effect say, “If you do this, then I’ll do that.” Well, we can certainly try, but it won’t do us any good.

When God says something’s wrong, it’s wrong no matter how we try to justify it. The Lord wanted Pharaoh to let His people go, all of them. It wasn’t a suggestion. Pharaoh tried to bargain. The Lord said what he’d do if Pharaoh didn’t give in.

Are you trying to bargain with God about something? Are you trying to get Him to do something in exchange for something you’d do for Him. When it’s put in those terms, it’s laughable, and yet we still try.

Give it all over to Him. No bargains, no negotiations, no cajoling.

Respect and honor Him for the God He is.

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