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In Exodus chapter 10 today we read about the Plague of Locusts! In ancient times locust plagues were greatly feared and were often considered to be a sign of divine judgment.
Next up is the plague of darkness. Some Biblical commentaries have found Pharaoh's statement to Moses to be quite appropriate and ironic that he said this during the plague of darkness in 10:28: "The day you see my face you will die." Apparently Moses couldn't quite fully see Pharaoh's face during the plague of darkness? Makes sense to me. Commentaries have also suggested that this verse was a death threat to Moses, and that this death threat was responded to with the coming plague on the firstborns of Egypt, including Pharaoh's son. Below is an image of the plague of darkness:
In Exodus chapter 11 we read in verses 4 & 5: "So Moses announced to Pharaoh, "This is what the LORD says: About midnight I will pass through Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest slave. Even the firstborn of the animals will die." And an appropriate image for this announcement might be this - (except for the fact that they were in the midst of the plague of darkness... so this image should have the lights turned off. Oh well... :)
Today we read in Exodus chapter 12 about God giving Moses and Aaron instructions on the First Passover. Verse 2 stands out: "From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you." Here we see that God is actually instituting a new religious calendar for the Hebrews with the month that Passover is in being the first month of the calendar year. This month is in the March-April spring timeframe and is called Abib or Nisan in Hebrew. The feasts that were and are celebrated in this 1st month were - Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. Here is a very interesting note on the Jewish calendar from the NIV Study Bible - "In the ancient Near East, new year festivals normally coincided with the new season of life in nature. The designation of this month as Israel's religious New Year reminded Israel that its life as the people of God was grounded in God's redemptive act in the Exodus... Israel's agricultural calendar began in the fall, and during the monarchy it dominated the nation's civil calendar. Both calendars (civil and religious) existed side by side until after the exile. Judaism today uses only the calendar that begins in the fall." Below is an image of the Jewish religious calendar:
The significance of Passover was that God was introducing the concept of a sacrifice or a substitute for a life. The lamb was sacrificed as a substitute for the Hebrews first-born sons. The blood of the lamb was placed on the doorposts as a sign that the household had sacrificed an innocent life - the lamb. By the blood of the unblemished/perfect lamb, the household was protected from death. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb for us. He was a substitute for us and our sins. He was an innocent unblemished/perfect lamb - sinless. By Jesus' blood, we are protected from eternal death. Do you see the parallels between Passover and Jesus' death on the cross?
Exodus chapter 12 verse 11 is of note: "Wear your traveling clothes as you eat this meal, as though prepared for a long journey. Wear your sandals, and carry your walking sticks in your hands. Eat the food quickly, for this is the LORD's Passover." By wearing their traveling clothes, the Hebrews were faithfully acknowledging God's Word that they would very soon be freed from slavery and bondage in Egypt. The Exodus would soon begin! And the traveling clothes signified that the Hebrews were ready for the journey! How about us today? Do you think that God may still call us on journeys today? Do you think that God might be calling you on a journey this year? If so, will you be ready for the call? Will you wear your "traveling clothes", so that when the "Exodus" comes, you are ready for it? Below is a sketch by 19th century English painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti showing the Israelites wearing their traveling clothes for the Exodus:
This is a big day in our readings today - The Israelites officially begin their exodus from Egypt! Today in Exodus chapter 12 we read about God instituting the Festival of Unleavened Bread along with Passover. These both are still observed today by practicing Jews. Verse 14 states the importance of these festivals to the Israelites: "You must remember this day forever. Each year you will celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD."
Chapter 12 verses 29 & 30 tell us: "And that night at midnight, the Lord struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died." Below is Dutch painter Laurens Alma Tadema's "Death of the Pharaoh's Firstborn Son" from the year 1872:
Verses 37 & 38 are amazing: "That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. And they were all traveling on foot. Many people who were not Israelites went with them, along with the many flocks and herds." 600,000 men equals probably at least 1.2 million people all together - and probably close to 2 million. This is a massive Exodus! Verse 38 is very interesting in that some Egyptians were joining the Israelites in this Exodus! Think these Egyptians believed in God?
Video: Today's readings in Exodus reminded me of the animated movie, "The Prince of Egypt:"
Do you know our Prince of Peace? Click here and meet Him!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron." Exodus 12:50 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will do just what the Lord commands you to do.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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