Exodus 12:21-42 Miracles point to God’s omnipotence and must be recounted regularly

Exodus 12:21-42 Miracles point to God’s omnipotence and must be recounted regularly

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. 22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to smite 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 come in to your houses to smite you. 24 And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. 25 When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped. 28 Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

29 Now it came about 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 cattle. 30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead. 31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the Lord, as you have said. 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also.” 33 The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We will all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders. 35 Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; 36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

37 Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. 38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. 39 They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves. 40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.

Background

Moses delegated God’s Passover instructions to the elders. Since then, the Passover has been observed among the sons of Israel at the beginning of every year to recount God’s mighty work of deliverance. By observing the Passover annually, it hardwires into the people the omnipotence of God that can deliver them from dire circumstances. It instills faith in the believer to trust and obey God on a daily basis. Today’s devotion teaches us: Miracles point to God’s omnipotence and must be recounted regularly.

Observation

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb.

Moses delegated to the elders of Israel the instructions for the Passover as spoken by the Lord (see Exodus 12:3-11). The blood was to be applied on the doorframes with a bunch of hyssop. At midnight, the Lord will proceed to destroy the firstborn of the land but will pass over the houses marked by the blood of the lamb. Then they were to observe the Passover in the promised land and teach its significance to their children. The people worshiped God in anticipation of the deliverance from centuries of slavery.

Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.

Judgement descended upon the land of Egypt at midnight. Great sorrow plagued the nation as God destroyed the favoured sons of families in every stratum of society. It affected the highest to the lowest, the royals to the prisoners with no exceptions. The Pharaoh’s desperation (arose in the night) contrasted with his usual indifference only to share in the agony of all Egypt. Then he summoned Moses and requested them to leave with everything including the flocks and the herds. He even sought a blessing from Moses as a sign of complete capitulation. In the same breath, the plundering of the Egyptians adds credence to Moses’s unequivocal victory. The Israelites did not slink out of Egypt, but marched out as a victorious army who had despoiled their oppressors.

Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.

The mixed multitude comprises non-Israelites who having seen the power of God made the decision to join the Israelites. The number that came out of Egypt is 600,000 men, 2 million if women and children are included. En route the people baked unleavened bread. The continual observance of this night for all generations marks God’s faithfulness in delivering the people from 430 years of slavery.

This night is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.

God instituted the observance so that the sons of Israel and their descendants might remember the events of “this night”. The nine plagues are ancillary to the 10th plague; the destruction of the firstborn of the land. It had become clear to Israel that the nine plagues that Moses performed served only to further harden Pharaoh’s heart. The Passover miracle happened on “this night” when God Himself went out to judge the gods of Egypt and delivered them.

Truth

Miracles point to God’s omnipotence and must be recounted regularly.

Only “this night” as opposed to the entire duration of the 10 plagues is to be observed. Why were the Israelites told to remember and observe only the night of the Passover? Because what happened on “this night” unequivocally showed God’s omnipotence that decimated Egypt and destroyed the gods they worshiped. Observing the Passover miracle hardwires God’s omnipotence into their minds. It instills faith to trust God in times of distress. The Passover ordinance tells us that God does not limit the demonstration of His power. The only limit is posed by man’s own unbelief.

Many churchgoers when faced with a challenge rely on their personal experiences instead of recounting the miracles that God has done in ancient and modern history. They reasoned within themselves thus limiting God’s power to deliver them. Some who are sick prefer to pray that God preside over the doctors. They cannot bring themselves to believe that God can heal them instantaneously. In such cases, it is hard to convince the world of God’s unequivocal power to heal. No wonder there are fewer occurrences of mighty miracles in today’s churches especially in developed nations. Many have already made up their minds as to how they will be healed thus relegating God to an ancillary role. That said, there are cases where God does not heal instantly, but chooses to heal the believer through doctors so that they may submit to God’s mysterious ways and be sanctified in the process. For some have insisted on miracles in order to “escape” God’s discipline and tribulations that are common to life. Thus, we must learn to discern and understand God’s ways and not be presumptuous.

The Passover miracle explicitly and unambiguously showed God as the main actor in bringing about deliverance. By remembering the miracles that God has done in ancient and modern history, we increase our faith in God who delivers. Therefore, in times of dire distress, we must always expect God to deliver us miraculously. But at the same time, we must persevere even when God seemed silent. For we may never know when and in what form His miraculous deliverance may suddenly come.

Man’s obedience serves as a foundation on which God’s mighty miracles are wrought.

Without Moses, there is no one to perform the miracles of the nine plagues. Subsequently, there will also be no Passover miracle. Moses’s obedience in bringing about the nine plagues may seem ineffective, but it is the foundation on which the Passover miracle is wrought. Likewise for Jesus who spent 33 years of His life teaching and healing… all that seemed to have gone to waste when He was arrested and nailed to the cross. But His obedience has become the foundation of His resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand.

Many churchgoers prayed for God to deliver them from their circumstances but would not follow in His footsteps. They supposed in order for God to receive full glory, it has to be all God’s effort and none of theirs. Some even purported that man’s disobedience is instrumental in accentuating God’s glory. Hence, they find no necessity to listen to God’s directives. They will instead, by their dramatic praises, appeal to His infinite capacity to love and forgive. Such are like the Israelites in Egypt who cried out to God to deliver but rejected Moses, the one whom God had sent. Therefore, believers in need should spend less time crying out to God, and more time understanding God’s directives and obey them.

Before God delivers, He requires us to follow in Jesus’s footsteps while awaiting the time. True faith is observed by being consistent in obeying His directives one day at a time.

Application

Are you in some kind of distress (financial, relationship or career)? And you are at a lost of not knowing what to do? Instead of crying out to Him repeatedly, start by filling your heart and mind with the truth in God’s word. Allow Him to speak to you through thoughts. As you direct your trust towards God and submit to Him fully, you will recognise the distinct thoughts as coming from His Spirit. Do not focus on the miracles, but rather focus on walking the path of truth that leads to the miracles. Moses did not know about the 10th plague that eventually freed the people. But he obeyed God’s instructions despite seeing the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart after each plague.

Dear Lord, I trust you and the promises that you gave concerning me. I believe all your promises in the bible are “Yes” and amen to the glory of God. Cause me to see the glimmer of light in the midst of the darkness. Cause me to know your will and to embrace it fully. Strengthen me to persevere on this path until I see your salvation. Remove the evil person from me and destroy the dark forces that operate behind the agents of darkness. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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