Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Loving Lord God, I now open my eyes, ears and heart–all of myself–to You today.
Read Exodus 12:31-42
 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”  The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!”  So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.  The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.  The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.  The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.  Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.  With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.  Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.  At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt.  Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow were the Israelites prepared for their journey?
The Israelites are told to “keep vigil” (42). The Hebrew word literally means to keep, to watch, to guard. It’s also translated as “commemorate” (14) and “celebrate” (17). You can understand why they needed to be on the alert on that first Passover night, with panicking Egyptians urging them to leave right away, unbaked bread to be dealt with, and working out how to carry the wealth being thrust into their hands. But what did they need to protect and guard, keep and watch out for in the generations to come (42)? You may have done the exercise where you work out what you’d save if a fire threatened your house. It’s supposed to reveal what’s most important to you: what you’d protect and guard. The Israelites and we, too, need to protect the precious memories of what God has done in our lives; it’s all too easy for our memories about even the most unforgettable events to fade away. How do we keep alive our recollections of God’s amazing work in our lives? That’s the function of rituals. As we celebrate, commemorate and keep vigil, we and the Israelites keep alive the memory of what God has done.
How do you celebrate what God has done in your life? Is there some ritual it would be good to start?
Lord, You’ve done a lot for me and are doing more each day. Help me never to forget Your goodness.