Summary: God led Israel straight into a trap and then watched their reaction. He does that to us sometimes as well - to let us know whether we trust Him and to show us His great power.
In a way, the final victory over Pharaoh was not the Passover. Yes, that’s what got him to relent and say the people could go - but as we’re going to see this time - Pharaoh once again changes his mind and goes out after the children of Israel. But what we’re going to see also is God purposefully placing His people in the line of fire so that He can totally destroy the forces of Pharaoh - there are lessons here for us in living our lives in obedience to God.
But first - God stakes His claim over the firstborn. Remember how Pharaoh had wanted all males killed among the Hebrews - God retaliated by killing every firstborn among the Egyptians - sparing the Israelites who applied the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels of their houses.
Even though God "passed over" them - He now claims ownership of them. Just as when death "passes over" us when we apply the blood of Jesus to our lives - God owns us as well. Right now the children of Israel are in Succoth, just a little southeast of Rameses - just outside of, but very close to Egypt.
Verses 1 - 2
We’ll find out later in the chapter that the Lord exempted females from this - so it is the firstborn male of animal and human that are "set apart" - which is what consecrate means. God takes ownership - "it is mine."
So now Moses gives the people instruction about a festival marking this day of escape - in conjunction with the consecration of the first born.
Verses 3 - 7
Do you remember the day God brought you out of the land of slavery to sin? I don’t remember the exact day, but it was in September of 1976 when I knelt by my bed and gave my heart to Jesus Christ. While it’s not important whether or not you know the exact day - it is important to remember that it did happen - it was an important point in time. Sometimes the trials of life can make our salvation seem far away and a long time ago - did it really happen at all? Remember it - it happened.
God also wants them to remember and celebrate because He is not going to repeat it - just as He is not going to repeat the cross - He did it, and now we have His Word on it. When we think we haven’t heard from God in a while we need to remember what He has already done for us.
For the Israelites they were to remember the day by not eating any leavened bread for 7 days - in fact to go around the find all the leaven in their houses and do away with it. The reminder is that they didn’t have time to raise their bread they left so fast.
Notice that God is already talking about "when" I bring you into the land - a land promised to you but inhabited by all these "ites." This becomes important as their journey progresses and they come to the edge of the land and get cold feet. They are to remember that God promised they would go in.
Verses 8 - 10
Passing on the faith is always very important. God has no grandchildren and every one must make a decision of whether to trust God or not on their own. But if they are not told, how can they make a decision - if they don’t see faith modeled by their parents and relatives, how will they see the importance of it?
We used to go on road trips when my family was younger. We’d get in the car and drive for many hours. I’ve always had this thing for geography, so as we’d go along I’d try to guess what this or that landmark or mountain was. I didn’t really think much about it until recently.
My daughter was driving back with a friend from California. She called and left a message - what she wanted to know was which mountain she happened to be driving by at the time. We talked about it for a while and realized it was Mount Shasta - a large volcano in Northern California. Without me even knowing it, she had picked up on this same interest in geography.
Is your faith and walk with the Lord something that interests you so much that you talk about it with your kids and relatives and friends? It doesn’t have to be a sit down lecture - but it is so much a part of you that it comes out of your pores. It’s amazing how much this will be picked up by others.