The children of Israel are finally free from Egypt. God sets a new standard for them regarding separation and redemption.
Even under Egyptian rule the children of Israel continued the practice of circumcision. Moses had neglected to circumcise at least one of his sons, but this was remedied by his wife when his life was in danger by an angel. All those coming out of Egypt were circumcised. But this was a “mixed multitude” who followed Moses out. I don’t know the state of every male that accompanied them, but I suspect those that aligned with Israel also followed their practices; even those who were of mixed blood.
The instructions the Lord is giving Moses today regarding the Passover feast are for future generations. This generation had already partaken of the Passover meal. These instructions would actually not be applicable until Israel founded their new home in the Promised Land. While in the wilderness they lived on manna from Heaven and none of the children were circumcised until after crossing the Jordan. His final instructions for today though are for this people and all those from then on; the firstborn belong to Him.
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Moses and Aaron are enjoying the meal of unleavened bread with the rest of the children of Israel. He feels a Spiritual tap on his shoulder and turns to Aaron. “I need to step away for a private talk with the Lord. I’m going over to those boulders. See to it that no one follows me. I will fill you in on what the Lord shares with me when I return.”
Aaron nods his head and watches as Moses walk away. A few people notice Moses retreat and make ready as if to follow him. “Please stay where you are” Aaron directs. “The Lord has need of Moses.”
Those who were readying to follow him settle back into their places but their eyes follow Moses instead. They wonder what the Lord is planning on sharing now. They are also praying that it is good news instead of bad.
Moses reaches a cleft in a group of boulders and settles in to wait for the Lord to speak. He has learned not to rush Him. His patience is quickly rewarded.
“Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.”
“I am going to set some boundaries for the Passover feasts you and the children of Israel will be observing from now on.”
“Are these the same ones You gave me earlier about the sacrifice and the leaven?”
“No. Those are specifically for the preparation and order of the meal. These new statutes govern who may participate in this celebration of remembrance.”
“What do You mean Lord? We were always taught to be hospitable to all people. Are you changing this custom?”
“No. You are to continue to show hospitality to the travelers and those around you. But this remembrance is for those that are MY children; those who have made a commitment to me. NO ONE will be allowed to eat of this meal unless they follow the rules I set out for Abraham regarding circumcision. No foreigners or hired workers may eat it. If you have a slave that was purchased he may eat if AFTER he is circumcised. If a stranger wants to join in your community, a sojourner, they may eat also AFTER all males in his party are circumcised. Those bearing the mark of circumcision to ME will all be treated the same. There will be ONE law for the native AND the stranger who is a sojourner with you.”
“I understand Lord.”
“There is one more area regarding the sacrifice itself I want to address.”
“I’m listening Lord and will obey.”
“This final area concerns it IN the house; you are not to take any of the flesh outside the house. You are also not to break any of its bones to get more easily get to the meat. It is to be treated with respect, as it gave its life and blood for your protection. Honor its gift by showing it respect.”
“Yes Lord. I will make sure Your children know these statutes and will keep them myself all my days.”
“One thing I want to impress upon you is that this meal is a remembrance celebration TO ME. DO NOT turn the sacrificial animal into an idol. As you take part in this celebration, reflect on what I did to redeem My children for My own.”
Moses sat still and thought about what the Lord had said. He wanted to take the Lord’s words deep into his soul. The Lord’s words gave this sacrifice even more meaning to him than on the night it was first performed. He also didn’t feel a release in his spirit. This indicated that the Lord had more He wanted to share with him, so he patiently waited. Soon, the Lord spoke again.
“Yes Lord. Your servant is still waiting.”
“Israel is my firstborn. He is special to me. I want Israel to respect that special position by consecrating all the firstborn to me. ‘Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast is mine’ (verse 2).”
Moses and the Lord talk for a while longer to make sure that Moses knows ALL the requirements set forth. When the Lord is satisfied that Moses fully understands, He releases Moses to rejoin the people. Moses then shares with first all that the Lord has shared with him. Now it is time to pass ALL of the words of the Lord onto the people. This is a very important time for the people and their redemption is fresh in their minds and hearts. THIS is the time to share with them the rest of the story.
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Father God, it is amazing how You take me through things that I don’t really grasp until I’m on the other side of it. I see Your hand in action but don’t realize the gravity of the miracle You performed until all the pieces are finally in place. My move to Portland was one of those miracles. The fact that You brought the ability for me to afford housing WITHOUT the large chunk of finances I had been holding. When that money was given to another and never returned, YOU still cared for me! You brought me back to reliance on YOU instead of myself. As I sit here today thinking about it I see even more how it was Your hand in action.
How I wish I could have learned that reliance on You lesson better in those days. I wish it was deeper even now. THANK YOU for watching over me with my husband’s truck too! Help me repair it without a HUGE bill. Thank You for watching over us every day!