Have you ever been invited to a meal but sat there with your coat on as if you were not staying? I don’t expect you have. I have a feeling that you would not be so rude! However, this is what was about to happen in Exodus 12.
The Israelites were on the brink of breakthrough. They were about to be set free. God had instructed them to be ready with their cloaks tucked into their belts, their sandals on and their staff in their hand, but first they were to eat a meal together in haste.
The other instructions had been carried out over the days before hand. A lamb was to be cared for and then slaughtered. This lamb was to have no defect. The meat was calculated to feed exactly the number of people in the household and anyone who was sharing the lamb with them. It was to be just enough, not too little or too much, nothing was wasted.
The blood from the lamb was to be painted onto the door posts with hyssop. GOD was going to pass over the houses that had displayed the blood and they would be safe, everyone who failed to follow these instructions would have their firstborn die.
There is so much to read into this incredibly difficult story. It is spoken about all through scripture so we know that it was an important event for us too. Here are a few of the things that got me thinking …
- The lamb was to have no defect. Jesus is our Passover lamb. We escape death because of his blood that we shelter under.
- The blood was painted with hyssop. This plant was not only symbolic of, but was used for cleansing. The blood was painted with this plant because there is an action that we take part in. It is our choice to be cleansed. We can choose to paint the blood on the door posts of our lives. We can choose to be cleansed or not. GOD doesn’t force us into relationship.
- The blood went on the doorposts. These posts of wood remind us of the wooden members of the cross – the ultimate place of sacrifice. This Passover was a smaller picture of what was to come. Doors are also for walking through. When the Israelites walked out of their houses when they were finally set free it might have been with a backward glance that the blood stain had saved them from the judgement of the last plague. It makes me wonder about the door that GOD calls me to walk through and being confident that He has gone before me.
- The lamb sacrificed was enough. There would be no meat left over. Jesus’ sacrifice is enough. Every time we say that our sin is too great for GOD to forgive or we get locked into the belief that we are too bad, we are believing a lie. This is an insult to GOD and His incredible gift to us. Jesus is enough.
- The Israelites were to hide inside their blood protected houses until morning. Jesus shed his blood for us on the cross. It is right to trust in his sacrifice and hide behind the blood as there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. He brings a new day that we can walk into.
- The death of one innocent saved those that were guilty. Even though the people were GOD’s people, He still required them to trust in Him and to be obedient to His instructions. He had set them apart in all the plagues from the flies onward. This plague would cover all the land and this was something that they had to do in order to set themselves apart for Him. They were not saying they were better than Egypt because their fate would be the same as the Egyptians if they didn’t sacrifice the lamb and paint the blood. What they were saying was they needed and chose to be GOD’s people.
- The Israelites were ready for travel after the Passover. We should be ready to ‘journey’ after experiencing the freedom that the sacrifice of Jesus brings to us. We are GOD’s people and are made to thrive in freedom. He does not enslave us – it is other gods that do that. If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. John 8:36. If you are stuck in one place in your life, ask GOD about what should put on to get moving again.
- The Nile had been turned to blood as the very first plague. The Nile, as the god of life was made useless and repulsive, so much so that it produced death. Here the symbol of blood is redeemed as the final plague hits all of Egypt. It becomes the simple sign that protects and preserves life.
There are so many tasty morsels in this that it feels like a feast. But let’s not get comfy and put our feet up … grab your cloak, your staff and fasten those sandals … GOD wants us to walk out in freedom into the next part of our journey.