Leaving and Remembering
Lord, help me to remember the salient mileposts in my walk with You.
Read Exodus 12:14–30
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.”
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Phil. 3:8). Is that true of me, Lord?
There’s a huge emphasis on unleavened bread in this chapter. Verse 39 explains this as the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt: there would not have been time for the yeast to work. Well, yes, but there must be more to it than this. After all, there had been time to roast and eat the lamb. Of various ideas put forth, perhaps a useful one is the idea of newness. They are starting afresh. They are making a complete break with the past, burning their boats, going on with God, not hankering after the past. Jesus said that anyone who, having put his hand to the plough, looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Is there something in your life that is acting like old leaven? Something you need to let go of to follow God’s leading trustingly?
Meanwhile, the Israelites are to act on instructions to brush the lintel and doorposts with the blood from the Passover lamb and to stay inside, within its protection (22). To leave would be to put themselves in grave danger. They are to remember this night, regularly celebrating it in order to remember how God had saved them (14,24–27). Remember, remember… (“commemorate,” 14). J. Alec Motyer notes that the verb “to remember” occurs well over 200 times in the Old Testament. Christians, like Israel, are called to remember the central features of our own salvation experience. Peter stresses this; even when facing death his chief concern was that his readers should “remember” what he has taught them about Jesus (2 Pet. 1:12–15). In our communion services we remember the cross on which the Passover Lamb himself died (Luke 22:19), and we must stay within the protection of his blood.
This Passover event was indeed a turning point in the history of Israel. God acted, Pharaoh reacted. The scene was set for departure and freedom.
It is too easy to take a communion service for granted and to forget the importance of what we commemorate. The next time you participate, make a conscious effort to “remember.”
Father, I am so grateful for the shedding of Your Son’s redemptive blood so that I could be indemnified against Your forthcoming judgment against the gods of Egypt.
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