Monday, November 4, 2013

"Beginning of Passover" Commentary on Exodus 12:1-14

                          “Beginning of Passover”
International Sunday School Lesson for November 10, 2013
Purpose:  To remember that God can renew our lives

Bible Lesson
Background: Exodus 6:2-30; 12

Exodus 12:1-14  (CEB)
1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,2 “This month will be the first month; it will be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole Israelite community: On the tenth day of this month they must take a lamb for each household, a lamb per house. 4 If a household is too small for a lamb, it should share one with a neighbor nearby. You should divide the lamb in proportion to the number of people who will be eating it. 5 Your lamb should be a flawless year-old male. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You should keep close watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month. At twilight on that day, the whole assembled Israelite community should slaughter their lambs. 7 They should take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and on the beam over the door of the houses in which they are eating.8 That same night they should eat the meat roasted over the fire. They should eat it along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Don’t eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over fire with its head, legs, and internal organs. 10 Don’t let any of it remain until morning, and burn any of it left over in the morning. 11 This is how you should eat it. You should be dressed, with your sandals on your feet and your walking stick in your hand. You should eat the meal in a hurry. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 I’ll pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I’ll strike down every oldest child in the land of Egypt, both humans and animals. I’ll impose judgments on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be your sign on the houses where you live. Whenever I see the blood, I’ll pass over you. No plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 "This day will be a day of remembering for you. You will observe it as a festival to the Lord. You will observe it in every generation as a regulation for all time.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

It is after a series of nine plagues, that God gives his instructions to the Israelites. In all of the previous plagues the Egyptian Gods were attacked These were calculated attacks that were meant to bring doubt in the minds of the Egyptians. The Nile went from a symbol of life to death. Their God Hecka, was symbolized by a frog, the plague raised their disgust. The plague of lice and flies attacked their sacred beast. Each plague brought about less and less confidence in the Egyptian Gods. The final plague would not only attack the household of Pharaoh, but it would also destroy Apis the sacred bull of Memphis.
It is significant that God took time, before the tenth plague was enacted, to give rather full instructions regarding the memorial which in years to come should keep the Israelites conscious of their redemption from Egypt. This emphasizes the fact God was at work building faith in the hearts of men. What he demonstrated in that night was his fundamental doctrine. The acceptance of redemption upon God’s terms by implicit faith and obedience was a requirement to be impressed upon each coming generation. The meaning of the Passover Lamb in terms of atonement was not explained, nor was that necessary. One’s theory of the atonement may not be perfect, yet one’s appropriation of redemption may be complete. Even now, when the Lamb of God who takes away the the sin of the world has been revealed, it is receiving the savior as he has been offered that is fundamental. Faith and obedience are our first test in our walk with Christ.

God had already taught the Israelites lessons of faith. But deliverance from Egypt was only the beginning of his purpose. In the journey from Rameses to Sinai the lessons are so distinct that you can easily see God, the great teacher, at work.
The lesson taught by God has been so successful that even today, a recent survey shows that 99 percent of the Israeli population observes the holiday in some fashion.  The Passover along with Shavuot and Sukkot are major festivals ordained in the bible. Originally, Passover was two separate holidays, one was an agricultural holiday called “Chag Ha-matsot” (Festival of Unleavened Bread)(Ex. 34:25). The other was a pastoral holiday called “Chag Ha-pesach” (Festival of the Paschal Lamb) (Ex 34:25).   You may recall that at one point Moses begged Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to go out into the wilderness to observe their feast in honor of God. This episode preceded the actual exodus.

14 "This day will be a day of remembering for you. You will observe it as a festival to the Lord. You will observe it in every generation as a regulation for all time.

I think God accomplished what he set out to do when he established the “Passover.” It has been written by historians that in 65 A.D. King Agrippa ordered the Temple Priest to set aside one kidney from each offering of Paschal Lamb. Since not less than ten people shared in eating the lamb, from the number of  kidneys set aside it was estimated that 3,000,000 Jews were in Jerusalem that year to celebrate Passover.  

No comments: