Exodus 13:3,8-12,15,17-18 Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast… On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year. “After the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, you are to give over to the LORD the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the LORD… ‘When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the LORD the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons’… When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
The start of an annual memorial to God’s goodness to the Israelites is a gist of this chapter and it is beautiful to see how the Israelites chose to thank God for His goodness as they embarked on their journey that would take forty years.
Forty years for a journey that should have only taken them 2 weeks sounds a bit much by any standard but clearly God had a purpose and in that we can celebrate today.
So far we have seen that God hears the pains of His people, intervenes for them at a time that He considers proper, redeems in a way that can only be credited to Him as glory, delivers on His promise without fail, brings out witnesses to sing His glory, desires praise from the lips of those He redeems and works in and through the situation to touch the lives of everyone who witnesses His mighty works!
We now see that God goes even further to pave the way for the Israelites and walks with them every step of the way by being a pillar of pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
Is that not amazing reassurance that God is in it for the long haul, not just the moment? Is it not evidence that God purposes a life long relationship, not just a passing acquaintance with us?
What also stood out to me in this passage was what God revealed as His purpose in the killing of the Egyptian firstborn. Clearly God did kill to simply seek revenge but there was a bigger reason, one that only God could purpose.
The killing of the Egyptian firstborn served as a sacrifice for the blood payment of the Israelites and in much the same way the Israelites were to dedicate their firstborn to God to redeem their own.
Today we are spared of blood sacrifices because of Jesus’ own blood shed on the cross as a sacrificial lamb and that sacrifice was enough for all people from that time until the Lord’s much anticipated return.
However, God clearly wants us to never forget His goodness to us and to submit to Him the first fruits of what He blesses us with. Whether it be our time, our wealth, our strength or anything that God has blessed us with.
We clearly are a people who do not deserve God’s goodness but He chose to love us because we are His own creation and sacrificed His own son for us that we might have a relationship with Him that lasts an eternity.
If you are not a member of God’s family yet and want to be one, call on Jesus to be your Lord and Savior now and give your brokenness to Him so that He can clean and transform you into His likeness for His glory.
If you are one saved by the grace of this great God, forget not to commemorate His goodness to you and sacrifice to Him the first fruits of all that He has blessed you with in gratefulness.
In His Loving Service,
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
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