Personal study – Exodus 12:23-36

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Exodus 12:23-36

We left the Israelites making their preparations for Passover. God had given specific instructions about the selection of the lamb and what was to be done with the blood from the sacrifice and the sharing of the meal, even the fact that it had to be eaten standing up with shoes and belt on. We looked at how this corresponded with the life of Jesus.

Do not forget that the Israelites had been slaves for 400 years. Pharaoh had decided to kill all the sons of the Israelites because their population was increasing so much that Pharaoh felt threatened. God had warned Pharaoh that the plagues would occur, and Pharaoh chose to harden his heart and not allow the Israelites even three days in the wilderness to worship God. He chose so many times to harden his heart that God honored that. Much the same way that we too can choose to harden our hearts against God and His truths, and then one day God will honor that. God will not force us to love Him, for love to be love, it has to be freely chosen.

Now Moses shares God’s prophecy which was going to be fulfilled:

Exodus 12:23-27 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts (remember, that makes the shape of a cross) the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance, for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, “What do you mean by this service?” that you shall say, “It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.” So the people bowed their heads and worshipped.

One thing you might notice in this chapter is that the instructions of the Passover were repeated. God told Moses, Moses told the people. So often in the Old Testament the instructions were repeated. We will see this especially with the construction of the Temple and the various offerings. This is sort of like God sharing something in Bold Capital Letters. One thing we can see from this is that God is VERY SPECIFIC, and when He tells us to do something, He wants it done exactly as He said. There are reasons for this in the Old Testament – for these actions are pictures of Jesus, and God wants to make sure that the picture is an accurate portrait of what will come to pass. Moses will actually lose the chance to get into the Promised Land because of not following God’s commands exactly and adding something to God’s picture of Jesus.

What if one of the Israelites did not feel like putting the blood on the lintel and just put it on the two doorposts because he did not feel like raising his arm over his head? He would have been mourning the loss of a child. God is very specific, and He will do what He promises to do. We need to learn to listen carefully and follow exactly. He has our personal best interests in mind, and when we stray from His instructions it does bring us grief.

Notice that it mentions that when He sees the blood of the sacrifice, he will pass over the door and NOT ALLOW the DESTROYER to come into the house. God did not do the killing, He just removed His hand of protection from the houses of those not covered. God has no desire that any should be lost, but He cannot provide covering for those who do not honor His commands. When we disobey God, there are always consequences, and sadly, they are brought on by us through our disobedience. God would rather that we obey and gain His best for us.

How long were they to observe the ordinance? FOREVER.  Not just until Jesus came, but forever. We will be seeing in Revelation that the feasts are still being kept. And I love the part about WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ASK, isn’t that what we want, our children to observe what we do and ask why, so that we can tell them of the goodness of God not only with words, mandatory church, and rules, but with our whole lives.

And the people bowed their heads and worshipped. Notice, at this point they were worshipping in faith, because they had not yet been delivered, but they trusted that God would do what He said He would do. And isn’t it true that the thing that brings us to our knees is God’s goodness in our life. When I think of what God delivered me from, I cannot help but worship Him. 

Exodus 12:28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

I am so pleased that they obeyed God. Later they will test how far they have to obey God, but here they obeyed completely and listened to their spiritual leaders – Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 12:29-30 And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

My heart aches for those Egyptians because they suffered so much because of their Pharaoh’s hard heart. Pharaoh rose at night – without God in our lives our spirits are in darkness, for we do not have the light of truth. We need to remember that we do not sin in a vacuum, that what we do impacts others. Pharaoh’s hardened heart caused so much death and destruction. Here it is the death of lives, but there is also a spiritual death that comes from hardened hearts and rejecting God’s gift of salvation. One of my subscribers has two sons he loves very much, but he is teaching them a false doctrine that might cause them never to come to Christ. I keep praying that there will be those in his son’s lives who will show them the truth about God. Not only is he hurting himself and causing his spiritual death but he is sowing seeds of destruction into other lives. The things we do impact others. When we as Christians do not act in a godly manner, it does not give a good testimony of Christ. If we as Christians do not pay our bills, cheat, swear, tip poorly (one example is leaving a tract because salvation is very valuable, but not a financial tip), or act rudely, or drive a car with a million Christian bumper stickers and disobey traffic laws or cut people off, those who are not Christian will take notice. Our sins do affect others, and we need to spend time with God so that when we walk on this earth, we are walking in His footsteps, His way. God does not find pleasure in spiritual death of people, He really wanted that none should be lost.

Exodus 12:31-32 Then he (Pharaoh) called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go serve the LORD as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said and be gone; and bless me also.”

Pharaoh, pharaoh, pharaoh. He still has not learned, we will see that he has repented of his disobedience to God, but not wholeheartedly. He is like the person who apologizes for what they did when they got caught. They were not really repenting, meaning turning around their lives to walk in obedience to God, but rather sorry that they got caught. Pharaoh got caught, so he allows the Israelites to leave, but then he wants Moses to “bless me also.” Some Pharaoh, bless me, do this for me, do that for me, me, me, me. What about all the other people who lost children due to Pharaoh’s hardened heart? Does he not care about his people? And we will see that after a short time, when Pharaoh’s needs are not being taken care of by the Israelite slaves, he will decide to go and get back “his” slaves.

The Egyptian citizens realized what was going on.

Exodus 12:33-36 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

The gold, silver and clothing would be the equivalent of the wages that they did not receive as the slaves of the Egyptians. The people would wear these clothes for 40 years in the wilderness, and they would not wear out, not even holes in their sandals. God also had promised the Israelites that they would leave with great wealth. God promised that to Abram, Genesis 15:13-14 Then He said to Abram; “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Notice that the bread was not leavened. Jesus would warn his disciples about the leaven of the pharisees – leaven is a symbol for sin. We see that 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Not only did God show Pharaoh that He was stronger than Pharaoh, but it also showed the Israelites that God was stronger than the idols of the land, and that God would do what He promised, and in the time that He promised them. God literally purged the Israelites of leaven, for the sacrifice (symbol of Jesus) purged sin, and none of the leaven of the land of Egypt would travel with the Israelites. But God will take His people on a long journey, testing them so that they can see for themselves when they are in obedience and not, and forming them into a strong nation ready to move into the Promised Land.

God has freed us from our sins, and purged us from the leaven of our past. In our current walk with the Lord, He too is testing us through wilderness experiences and also through the good that He has done for us, so that we can become more and more like Him, growing stronger in the LORD.

Have a blessed day.



About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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