Mighty God, today help me to learn to be confident without being arrogant, sensitive without being overwhelmed, and faithful to You.
Read Exodus 12:31-51
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble … even as he said to our ancestors” (Luke 1:52,55).
What a difference one night of the Lord’s “vigil” made (42), a night when he kept his promises of release and protection and freedom and movement toward the land he had promised them. Yesterday the Israelites were slaves to Pharaoh in the city of Rameses (37; 1:11), today they are on the way to freedom, told by Pharaoh himself to “worship the Lord” (literally, “serve,” v. 31). Yesterday, they were powerless and poor; now, the Egyptians shower them with whatever they want (35,36; cf 3:21, 22; 11:3). Pharaoh himself could now see where it is that blessings come from and he asks the Lord’s people, “bless me” (32). Here is a foreshadowing of the reversal between Good Friday and Easter Day, the firstfruits of the coming “renewal of all things” (Matt 19:28-30; 1 Cor. 15:20-24).
At the very beginning of the departure we are alerted to the diversity of participants. The Israelites are organized as 600 groups of fighting men (37; cf v. 17; 13:18; “men on foot” is standard for “foot soldiers,” while “thousand” is a common military grouping), but along with the women, children and elderly, they are described as a “mixed crowd” (38, NRSV), a term used for people of foreign descent (e.g. Neh. 13:3; Jer. 25:20,24). Openness is to be celebrated in the annual Passover (43-49). Those who may be temporarily in the land (“foreigner,” “hired worker”) are excluded, but “slaves” and “resident aliens” who are willing to identify with the community through circumcision are welcomed equally (“The same law,” v. 49). Here is a foreshadowing of the wider inclusivity in Christ Jesus when barriers are broken down. Again, there is reversal; we are “no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people” (Eph. 2:19) who “have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God” (Rom. 6:22).
Give thanks to God for the freedom he gives you and welcome others to share in it this week.
Lord, I praise You for the Church, the Body of Christ. It is so amazing how You do extraordinary things through it.
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