Summary: Prepare, Don’t Wait, Keep Watch. These three elements of the Passover are commemorated in each of us as we continue to leave Egypt behind.
The way He has led (Deut. 8:2)
The blessings He has bestowed (Deut. 32:7-12).
The victories He has won (Deut. ll:2-7).
The encouragements He has given (Josh. 23:14).
When we face difficulties, we sometimes forget God’s past faithfulness. We see only the detours and the dangerous path. But look back and you will also see the joy of victory, the challenge of the climb, and the presence of your traveling Companion who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you.
Tonight we read of the greatest event in the history of the jewish faith. For 430 years the Israelites have lived as forgieners in Egypt. They have become enslaved by Pharoah, the king of Egypt. They have been mistreated and oppressed by forced and obsessive labor.
Their leader, Moses, has come to Pharoah time and time again to ask for their freedom and time and time again, the king has refused to set them free. Each time, something terrible has happened. Nine different times God has inflicted consequences upon the Egyptians for their failure to release the Israelites and the continued explotation of them. These consequences have come in the form of plagues in which every home of the Egyptians has been affected. Now, the tenth and final time has come. Moses will again ask the king to set the Israelites free, and again, the king will say no.
This time the plague will be the worst plague of all. This time the firstborn child of every Egyptian home would be killed from the firstborn of the prisoners in the dungeon to the first born the royal household. The Bible tells us that there was not one home in all of Egypt without someone dead.
Finally, because of this tremendous and costly event, Pharoah will set the Israelites free to worship and follow God.
To commemorate this loss of life that freed life, God gives to Moses and the Israelites the Passover. It is a service of worship and a festival. It is a time of remembering and a time of celebrating.
Moses instructed the Hebrew people in what to do in preparation for what God was about to do in the lives of both the Hebrew people and the Egyptians.
From this day forward, this month will be the beginning of their year, as this day is the beginning of their new life as children of the living God, free to worship and follow him.
Walter Brueggemann speaks of three elements of this new tradition God has given the Israelites.
First, the Israelites must prepare. Here before the first Passover the Israelites are to prepare for what is to come and from this day forward that preparation is to be commemorated, a celeberation, a festival in honor of what God has done.
It revolves around the importance of the lamb, its distribution and use. It is about the lamb in terms of sustenance. Each house is to prepare a lamb to eat with none of it left until morning and none of the lamb discarded, indicating a complete and total separation from the life of the past. No part of them shall be left behind. Nothing of what God offers is discarded and not needed.
Every member of the community is to have access to the lamb. No one is to be left out. If a lamb is too much for one household, then families are instructed to share with their neighbors so that no one within the fold is left out and cut away.