Gleanings of Wheat: A Blog dedicated to cooking, kids, and Christ

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Exodus 11-12 Reflections / Passover Thoughts

Yes, I realize that I'm roughly 3 months ahead of things on this one, but I can't help it. I've been thinking about the Exodus (reading the book of Exodus will do that to you), Jewish traditions in keeping the Passover, and just how amazingly Christ is shown in all of this. I am also acutely aware that someone out there has surely said what I'm thinking far more clearly, and far more eloquently than I ever could but bare with me anyway if you would.

Chapter 11 is the pronouncement of the final plague on Egypt - the death of the first born. I can't imagine how frightening this must have been for the Egyptians, they'd seen God preform great judgments before and some even cried out for Pharaoh to release the Israelites (10:7) and now the call comes that the first born of everything will die. Man, woman, child, animal. Those that would gain the family blessing & be heir, those that would be responsible for leading and carrying on tradition, the one that would next reign as god to the Egyptians...all dead.

I imagine it was frightening, though in a different way, for the Israelites. All that would keep them from sharing the same fate is their obedience in painting their doorways in a lamb's blood. Would it be enough blood, how thick to paint it on, is the blood really enough to cause God's judgment to pass them by? Indeed it was enough, their obedience and trust in God's faithfulness was enough for them to be spared.

That first Passover so many years ago foreshadowed Christ's own sacrifice. His death on the cross covered our sins (if we would be obedient and place our faith in His call just as the Israelites did that night) and allows God's eyes to pass over us and move His judgment onto the next unmarked doorway. Sometimes I wonder, is such little blood really enough to cover my very many sins? Of course I know the answer, yes. After all, Christ was not a lamb as had been sacrificed before, nor was He just a man - rather He was God in flesh, both Savior and human rolled into one package. And that package was slaughtered for my sins.

God tells the Israelites to be ready, shoes on foot, unleavened bread to eat, for the call to leave. So are we called. God regenerates us, and we are free from our Egypt, from our bondage, and we flee as quickly as we can to escape. We are called to hastily run, don't wait for the bread to rise, RUN - we are free indeed.

The Family Haggadah adds this, "But the Haggadah [the Telling] contains a second narrative of degradation and our escape from it: Originally our ancestors were idol worshipers, but now the Omnipresent has brought us near to His service...So the Exodus represented a two-fold liberation: from physical enslavement and from spiritual degradation. The nation as a whole was cleansed of both blemishes...The Seder is a celebration of history - the past and the future. Though we Jews always learn from our past, we simultaneously look ahead to a future of spiritual perfection." (pg 10-11, italic original)

So the Christian is redeemed. We learn from our past ever hoping for the return of the King. It is Christ's sacrifice and resurrection that brings us into the kingdom. We can do nothing to earn this privilege (just as the Israelites did nothing to earn the privilege of God calling them to the first covenant), and as surely as God has called us, so He shall keep us until that day when sin will reign no more.

And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof: But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth aught of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. (Exo 12:43-48)

Christ is our Passover lamb, and no unrepentant heart (uncircumcised person) can eat of this feast. We must be covered in His blood, and when we are so then we shall be as one who is "born in the land." Our past no longer dictates who we are in His eyes, but our righteousness that is purchased in His sacrifice causes us to become God's very own children and co-heirs. Simply amazing.