“Were there no graves in Egypt….?” At the prospect of pain, the Israelites blamed Moses for their plight. This is what slaves do; they blame. This the single most worthless activity in which any human being can engage. Blame and self-absolution from responsibility change nothing except it gives the illusory satisfaction that “at least I was right”.
Is it better to be right than successful?
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob longed for their children to be free to worship God and to fulfill their potential in the land that God had promised to them.
The Israelites were born to show the world a different possibility – a different way of living. Cleaving this authentic way of life away from that which men can do in ignorance of God was the war they were called to.
It is still the fight we are called to.
Will you fight? Will you resist the temptation to blame? Will you respond in faith and love and let that be your life’s testimony – your reason for being?
It’s the first mention that Israel will be required to fight in order to enter into the promised land. God knew they were not ready for war. They needed something. Liberty from slavery was not enough to prepare them to enter into the promise.
Though unaware, they needed the freedom that comes through a system of law and the knowledge of God. More specifically, they lacked the freedom to be present, to understand deeply, to value appropriately and to act decisively. As a result, they were extremely vulnerable.
My children are young. They chatter about the things their lives will bring. I love their dreams. But I don’t teach them how to dream – this is an integral part of the liberty they enjoy. Instead, I teach them how to work.
Prepare your people Lord.
I cannot make myself have love feelings for God. I cannot force myself into affection. This isn’t a failing. It’s not part of my power – it’s not how the will works.
So give that a rest.
God has this much confidence: should anyone really seek Him out and discover who He is and how He is, then they will fall in love with Him. We are made for this. It is our perfection.
Reflecting on the God narrative – that’s the thing. His faithfulness and kindness and mercy and wisdom born out in history. Jesus came to save you. He came to save us. He won the victory.
We give a ticker tape parade to express our affection for our national champions. Everyone goes home and the memory fades. Affection to nostalgia to Auld Lang Syne .
But God keeps on saving. Forever the champion, this story isn’t over. WWJD wristbands or phylacteries on the forehead can’t hold it. But reminders, however they function are worthy.
So remember His goodness. Reflect on the story. Cultivate this affection. No human who encounters Jesus Christ as He really is could help but love Him.
The Passover is for the sons of Israel and those willing to join with the sons of Israel through circumcision. It must be celebrated by all in the month of Abib. It must be celebrated in the land of promise.
You are purchased with a price if you are part of this covenant.
Circumcision is the price.
But the apostle says, “He is a Jew, who is one inwardly and circumcision is that made on the heart.”
Everyone is welcome, to the extent that each of us is willing to acknowledge and celebrate this fact.
Celebrate this fact. Celebrate it often.
The completion of a mighty work. The children of Israel did not win their own freedom. Crying about the injustice of their slavery did not change Pharaoh’s heart. They were powerless to save themselves. Though they represented the authentic, they could not separate from the artificial.
Exhausted slaves – nothing they could have ever done would release them from this plight. Destined for generations and perhaps millennia of slavery.
God alone saved them.
Even so, they had to participate in their saving. They could have been destroyed with their slave masters. They could have chosen the artificial over the authentic.
With the sprinkled blood of a lamb, they chose.
We talk about authenticity, but virtue only matters to the extent that it gives you the freedom to do God’s will.
Oh somber night filled with grief and desperate sadness. Who can be saved?
How could any nation withstand this blow? The sting of death is everywhere.
In despair the Egyptians rise in the night, fully aware of their utter powerlessness against this force. Reluctantly they acknowledge the one true God through their pain and heartbreak
A stubborn war has been lost. The vanquished consider not only their dead, but the futility of further resistance. They succumb and their singular hope is that the culling is finished.
This is the depth of the war between purpose and selfishness, between love and indifference, between promise and hopelessness. The transcendence of authentic community ripped from the clutches of synthetic social contract.
Put your faith in the Lord and never be disappointed.
It is unusual in my experience to enter into an event knowing that it is of such import that it should be commemorated in a particular way. It’s perhaps like a bride determining prior to the wedding the manner in which every anniversary should be celebrated.
Yet this is the way of Passover. It’s an anniversary celebration that has been determined prior to the event itself taking place.
What’s more common is the admonition, usually by someone more experienced in life, to savor deeply some event that is about to happen. Perhaps a day of competition, or the completion of some training, the conferring of a degree of accomplishment or the purchasing of a first home: we are reminded to remember.
“This too I get to experience”… an author once wrote. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the truth and the mistaken; they all combine to form the story, and even the meaning, of my life – if I remember
God has reset the clock. It’s a new beginning. And this is celebrated with a highly structured feast.
The right anticipation for the children of Israel is that everything will be new after the Passover of the Lord. The calendar will be reset. Their oppressors will be slain. Their liberation from slavery will begin. Everything will be changed.
Encountering God is like that. Liberation from slavery celebrated with a sober, reflective, yet joyous meal. The first step toward the true freedom of service to the community.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity”
The Egyptians are clearly out of sync with their leader. They gladly give to their Israelite neighbors. In awe, they esteem Moses and wonder at the power of their God.
But Pharaoh will have none of it. And so the first born of Egypt will be sacrificed for the cause of Pharaoh’s determination to prevail over Moses.
Thousands of years later, it is all so easy to see that we wonder at Pharaoh’s blindness.
How could he be so blind?
“For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” John 9:39
The negotiations are over. Pharaoh’s position has moved from intransigence to manipulation.
Always, he sees Moses. But God is becoming known to His chosen people as a person. A fearfully powerful person – but a person no less.
The world’s favor to want-to-be believers is that its powers cannot overcome this person, this God of creation.
Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar, skepticism, stoicism, Manicheism, the Enlightenment and even the Beatles, with clenched teeth and a raised fist have all indeliberately helped to show the enduring power of a personal God.
Praise and honor to you Lord Jesus Christ.