July 4 - Exodus 12:1-12

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 

Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.

Every time I read this story, I am struck by the incredible love God has for his people. Thousands and thousands of years ago, he rescued them from slavery. He asked them to do something very simple, kill a lamb or a kid, take some of the blood and put it on their doorframes, then roast the meat and eat it.  This was the sign of their belonging to the Lord. It was their protection from death.

That night, the Lord would pass over the homes of the Israelites and spare them the destruction that the Egyptians had brought upon themselves due to their trickery and lies. This ancient celebration of God’s grace continues to be celebrated today.

For the Israelites, it was to be the beginning of freedom and God told them to be prepared.  As soon as Pharaoh released them from the land, they were to be ready to run.

In the New Testament we read words of Jesus and Paul and even Peter that we are to be prepared for the Lord’s return.  While many have turned this moment into something to be feared and other Christians have turned it into a mockery of truth, what we need to remember is that when Christ does return, in whatever manner and time he chooses, we must be ready.

We won’t need blood on the doorframes of our homes, Christ’s sacrifice ensures that our hearts carry the sign that we belong to the Lord.  It is our protection from the finality of death and a promise the freedom begins.

Be prepared.