We have made it to the final plague; death of the firstborn. This plague is the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” in Egypt’s case. “GET OUT” cries the people from Pharaoh on down.
When reading our text I had a BIG question. I’m wondering if the format that God gives Moses is for the FIRST time, which includes their final boot, or if it is for the following year forward. I can easily go along with altering the calendar with this plague but did the prescribed preparation also occur this first time?
I went searching for this answer through Google. I came across a site I put a lot of stock in and they proposed that it happened as prescribed the first time also. Pharaoh wasn’t given a schedule for the whole process, but the children of Israel were. I’m still having trouble reconciling some of the comments later on with that position. I honestly don’t know where to fall on this issue.
Does one possibility over the other matter in the long run? I don’t know that either. My latest reading leads me to the first Passover requiring the four days period too. “Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did” (verse 28). This tells me that the instructions that were given to Moses and Aaron were not for some future time but for that day. As for the leaven and getting it out of the house, that may be for later, once they are settled in the Promised Land. Let’s get to our story and see where the Spirit takes us.
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Moses has left his place of proclamation. The place where he KNEW Pharaoh would hear, but didn’t have to have a face to face meeting. Word would spread through Egypt about this latest plague Moses predicted.
On his way back to Goshen he made several stops along the way. He left word for the people to gather after work. He had news from the Lord that he had to share with everyone. He wanted to make sure there were no mix-ups in the message or nothing withheld because one person didn’t believe what was being shared. EVERYONE needed this message.
Moses and Aaron had to be careful passing the message of the large assembly because it was unlawful for such meetings to take place. The Egyptians feared the Hebrews meeting together as it could indicate a plot to revolt. Egypt really wasn’t strong enough to subdue such a revolt it one were organized well. Messages were passed between workers at each site and Moses and Aaron sent runners or went themselves to each site where the Hebrews labored under the Egyptian whips.
After dispatching messages at each site, Moses went to his favorite tree in the yard behind Aaron’s home to spend time with the Lord. He felt certain the Lord had more to share with the Hebrews than had been shared with the Egyptians. He needed to wait on the Lord to get ALL the details right.
It was the eighth hour of the day when Moses slipped beneath his tree. “Lord, God of my fathers, I need Your words to give to Your people. This last plague You had me share with Pharaoh is enormous. We need YOU to share with us what to do. We need to know how to prepare for this plague. My heart burns within me telling me that there are requirements for Your people that will be important for the division between the two peoples.”
“Yes Moses. There are a great many things that My people need to do before I send this final plague. Be certain they understand My instructions well. You are to share my words with Aaron and the two of you will present My words to the people.”
“I understand Lord. I thank You once again for giving me Aaron to share Your words with Your people. I do not believe I could do this on my own.”
“Aaron has done well to follow the commands you have given him. And you have done well to follow and relay all that I have given you.”
There is a pause for a few moments as if the Lord were gathering His thoughts or preparing His presentation. Moses simply rested in His presence until He was ready to go on.
“Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.”
“There are several things that I need to address with you. I am going to lay them out in order. EACH portion is important and is meant to be a lasting standard for My people. This is NOT only for those in Egypt with you today but for My people from this day forward. This is a historic event that will forever be a part of our history together. What I am setting forth will be a reminder for them as well as for Me.”
“I will make certain they understand the importance of what You share Lord.”
“The first thing I am instituting this day is to set a new order of marking time for my people. No longer will you follow along with the Egyptian’s standard of marking the passage of the year. THIS month will be the FIRST month of the year for my people. The marking of the month with the beginning of the moon’s cycle will remain the same as well as the length and times of day. The major change will be the new beginning of marking time with Me.”
“That sounds wonderful! The start of our new life will be the start of our new year also.”
“The second thing I am instituting is a special and specific sacrifice. This sacrifice will be performed EVERY year in the SAME manner on the SAME day of the year. This is a lasting statute.”
“What kind of sacrifice are You calling for Lord?”
“Here are my directions:
- On the 10th day of this first month each year, every man is to take a lamb for his household. If the household is too small to use ALL the meat of the lamb he is to share one with his neighbor.
- The lamb is to be a one year old male.
- There is to be NO blemish on it whatsoever
- It may be either a goat or sheep
- You shall keep it separate and watch over it carefully until the 14th day of the month.
- On the 14th day, the WHOLE congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. They are to be prepared thus:
- Remove the blood and pour it into a bowl
- Roast the lamb on the fire. DO NOT eat any of it raw! DO NOT boil it in water.
- Roast it with it head, legs and inner parts in place
The next sets of instructions are for My people in Egypt today. This is how I want you to partake of this sacrifice:
- Here are the preparations for eating the lamb:
- You are to take a hyssop brush and dip it in the blood you collected earlier and apply it on the doorposts and top of the door in the house where you will be eating the lamb
- You are to be dressed for travel; including having your shoes on, your belt fastened and your staff in your hand. This is for ALL the members of the house.
- You are to eat FAST! No lingering over the meal.
- You are to eat ALL the flesh THAT NIGHT. NOTHING is to remain until morning. Anything that is left must be burned.
- You are also to eat this meal with UNLEAVENED bread and bitter herbs.
Be CERTAIN that the doorposts and door frames are marked!”
“I am going to send my angel of death throughout all the land of Egypt. ANYONE without this mark on their door frame will suffer the fate you shared with Pharaoh. The first born in every home will die. When I see the blood on your doorframe I will pass over you and no plague will strike you.”
“I will make CERTAIN to stress that point Lord!”
“You will hold a feast to Me each year to commemorate this day. You will perform the sacrifice I set forth but you will not need to be prepared for travel. You will celebrate My deliverance in another way.”
“What way is that Lord?”
“You will celebrate My deliverance for a full seven days. You will hold a Holy feast on the first day, which includes the Passover sacrifice, and another Holy feast on the seventh day. You will demonstrate you dedication to remaining a true people unto me by observing a different statute. This statute has to do with leaven. This is what I require:
- On the first day of the feast you shall remove ALL leaven from your homes
- You will not eat ANYTHING made with leaven for the full seven days
- ANYONE who eats leaven in any form during this time will be cut off from Israel! No matter if that person is a native or a visitor!
- From the 14th day of the first month until the 21st day of that same month you will have NO leaven in your homes and eat unleavened bread.
There is also no work to be done on either of the days of the Holy feasts. The preparation of the meal is the ONLY work allowed.
These are the statutes I have set down for My people to follow. These are lasting statutes and they have lasting consequences if not followed.”
“I will be certain to share everything You have commanded with Your people Lord. Nothing will be left untold.”
Two hours have passed since Moses first sat under his tree. His time with the Lord has been exciting but also heavy. He is determined that NOTHING be left out in delivering the Lord’s word to Aaron and then to the people.
Moses quickly finds Aaron waiting in the house. Aaron has learned to stay near whenever Moses meets with the Lord. He feels honored to be a part of Moses’ work for the Lord. He eagerly waits each time Moses meets with the Lord for any messages he will need to attend to. This night Aaron is even more eager to hear what the Lord has to share. After witnessing Moses’ proclamation in the square he KNOWS something special is about to happen!
Aaron quickly writes down everything Moses shares with him. He doesn’t want to miss even the smallest detail. This is an historic moment for the Hebrew people. After this they WILL be FREE!
Moses and Aaron don’t take time to stop for the evening meal, instead they nibble on whatever Miriam has available. They need to be prepared for the meeting tonight.
The hour has come. Everyone has assembled in the field closest to Aaron’s home. It is a well sheltered field so there is little chance of them being observed by any Egyptians. Everyone is gathered by tribes. Moses had requested that arrangement with his message for assembly.
Aaron stood before the people and told them in exacting detail the words Moses had received from the Lord. He allowed time for everyone who had questions on procedures to ask them. He did NOT allow any discussion raising doubts about the Lord’s words. ANY comments moving in that direction were shut down immediately with stern reminders of what the Lord had already done and promises of being treated just as the Egyptians will be for ANY who refuse to follow the Lord’s instructions TO THE LETTER.
As this night was the beginning of the 9th day of the month, everyone began making preparations for selecting the appropriate lamb for their household. The people were ready when the 10th of the month began so they could begin the task given to them by the Lord.
Lambs were selected on the 10th and brought to each home. There they would remain under careful watch to ensure there was no disease or blemish on them in preparation for the sacrifice.
On the morning of the 14th Moses called the elders of Israel together. “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. NONE of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you” (verses 21-23).
As the elders were rising to do as Moses commanded he made one more comment. “Make CERTAIN to tell your children of this statute of the Lord and what it means. Make CERTAIN that they pass this on too. This story is to live on forever. The Lord’s Passover is to be celebrated in Israel for all time!”
At these final words the elders stopped, bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord. This was their LAST night in Egypt! Their LAST day as slaves. The BEGINNING of a new life and a new nation! Glory to God!!!
After giving the Lord the praise He so rightly deserved they all rushed off to begin the preparations for this historic night. There was MUCH to do before they shut their doors that evening.
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Father God, I can just feel the excitement of the people. Finally! After all this time as slaves they were going to be free! They had seen You hand so clearly during all the plagues, it was ALMOST impossible NOT to believe. Were there any who still held onto Egypt? Were there some who didn’t do as they were instructed? In today’s world I bet there would be more than a few!
You told the Hebrews exactly what the cost would be if they “opted out” of Your plan. Those who did that night got an IMMEDIATE response to their disobedience. Today, because disobedience and punishment are often times separated by long time spans people are not as quick to recognize and repent of their actions. Justice moves very slowly in this country. Also, because of Your grace and mercy, we don’t see our “final destination” right away. We are given opportunities to repent. And I for one am TOTALLY GRATEFUL for Your forgiveness!
Something I am wondering about though God is the unleavened bread observation statute. I recognize from Jesus’ teaching that leaven represents sin, but why for a full week is it restricted? Did it have anything to do with how long it took for the initial crossing of the Red Sea? I know Pharaoh had to have waited a little while to go after the Israelites. Was it nearly a full week before he caught up with them? Did their crossing and the Egyptians drowning conclude that week? I can’t find that in any research but it sure seems possible to me. I guess that’s another bench question to add to my list. Thank You for creating me with a curious mind.
I still don’t know for certain if You had the original group out of Egypt observe the four days prep time or not. I pray I don’t offend You by my putting it in this story. The MOST IMPORTANT part of the story is Your work on Israel’s behalf, not which day they did what. I trust You to bring to the front the things YOU want shared and leave out, or to the imagination, the things that are not critical in Your stories.