The first 20 verses of Exodus 12 were instructions from the Lord spoken to Moses. Now, picking up in verse 21, Moses begins to give the same instructions to the people of Israel. I like how we can read exactly what the Lord spoke and then also what Moses relayed to the people. It shows how Moses was very careful in conveying God’s spoken Word to the people. He didn’t add to or take away from His Word (see Deuteronomy 4:2); he spoke the message he was given accurately. Sometimes we get caught up in adding and taking away from the Bible (and it turns out to be wrong), and usually that’s because we don’t have a strong, foundational understanding to begin with. Let’s take a lesson from Moses: listen to what God speaks (and He speaks through His Word) and then share that word with others. Then, let God take care of the rest! If we’d follow the example Moses gives in this chapter, we’d be even greater witnesses for Him!
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.
- Who did Moses call? He called the elders, or the heads of the household. If you’re married, the man over your household has a great responsibility in leading his family. Be in prayer for him continually. I’m a fan of Colossians 1:9-12 and I pray it over my husband and my two boys several times a week. I encourage you to find a scripture you can pray over your family (or future family) and watch how God works! I like these upcoming verses, too, because you can swap out the “we” with “I” as you pray to make it more personal:
o 9 For this reason, since the day I heard about you, I have not stopped praying for you. I continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. 24 And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
- Verse 23 has two, tiny words in it that we don’t want to miss: not allow. “…the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses and strike you.” When the blood of Christ is applied to our life, we are discharged from death. You often hear, “Well, she may not know the Lord, but she’s such a good person!” Friends, this is not what God is looking for. He’s not searching the house for the “good” – He’s looking for the application of Christ’s blood.
- It’s unknown as to whether the destroying angel referenced in these verses was good or evil. Regardless, God can make use of either. That’s something to remember, too, as you watch the media and hear the horrific stories. Even the evil in the world can be used for God’s glory, and one day He’ll show us how it all ties together.
- Notice that the Israelites were to be ready to give account as to why they celebrated the Passover. The same is true for us. If your child or co-work asked you today why you serve God, what would you say? I need to think on that one, too.
29 And it came to pass 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 livestock. 30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
- I want you to really envision this for a moment. Think about being in a large city like New York or Los Angeles and this very thing happens. The firstborn sons are taken. Whether that’s a small child, a grown man, or a calf in the field, they instantaneously die. I’m sure it was heard around the rumor mill that this plague was coming. Pharaoh must’ve secretly been concerned with the plague occurring or he wouldn’t have gotten up in the middle of the night, right? Or, maybe the cries of his people startled him. There was not a single Egyptian house where one was not dead. Imagine that! Thousands upon thousands of households all with dead family members. I wonder where they buried all those bodies…
- Now, picture what it was like to be in a home where the blood was applied to the doorposts and lintel. If it were me, after the Passover meal, I would’ve tucked my firstborn son in bed with me and my husband (who is also a firstborn) and just watched them sleep. As I’d hear the great cry throughout Egypt, I’d give them a kiss and praise God for His faithfulness in covering our family. What a relief to have judgment pass over and what praise and joy should be stirred from that blood being applied. Can you say that you have that same praise and joy in your own life because of the blood of Jesus you accepted?
31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.”
33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. 35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
- Finally, Pharaoh was broken! Not only did he let the people go, he told them to take it all with ‘em! Notice how the Egyptians “urged the people” to get out of town. After ten plagues, I would want them to leave, too. The Israelites were given favor and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver, gold, and clothing. The Lord always provides for His children; and, oftentimes, it comes from the most unlikely places.
37 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.
- I chuckled when I saw the “mass Exodus” depicted on The Bible mini-series that recently played on the History Channel. There were, maybe, a couple hundred people. In reality though, there were more like two or two and a half million people leaving Egypt that night. The men (considered 20 years of age and older) numbered 600,000. Then, once you calculate that most were married and had a couple children, you understand that this wasn’t a small caravan!
- Notice that in verse 38, it talks about a “mixed multitude” leaving with the Israelites. Bad juju. We later read in Numbers 11:4 that this multitude lusted and proved to be a snare to the Israelites. Matthew Henry writes this regarding the mixed multitude: “Probably the greatest part of this mixed multitude were but a rude unthinking mob, that followed the crowd they knew not why…and it is probable that when, soon afterwards, they understood that the children of Israel were to continue forty years in the wilderness, they quitted them, and returned to Egypt.”
- I’m pretty sure at least once a day I have a “rude unthinking” moment. Don’t you?! The good news is, the time that God allows us to spend in the desert helps drain those worthless attitudes. So, the next time you feel a bit parched spiritually, remember that God is working on refining and strengthening your faith. Stay faithful in reading His Word, in praying, and in fellowship, and you will come out of the desert as a stronger child of God.
40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.
- The mass exodus on that night must’ve been an amazing site to see. More than two million people exiting a city and with their livestock. On that night, the Hebrew people truly became a nation. We know from the Word that they lived in Egypt exactly 430 year – to the very day. How awesome is God to have planned it as such? He told Abram in Genesis 15:14 that his seed would be a stranger in a land (Egypt) and be enslaved for 430 years. Now, the 430 years passed and God had delivered His people, just as He promised. He is faithful.
43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. 46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. 49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”
50 Thus all the children of Israel did; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. 51 And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the Lord brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.
- The Passover was a holy ordinance. It wasn’t to be taken half-heartedly or eaten by those who weren’t serious about God. This is why no foreigner could eat of it. Foreigners had no real understanding as to the meaning and sacredness of the meal.
- If an Israelite had a servant who was bought for money (or redeemed), they could be circumcised and then eat of the Passover. Spiritually speaking, in our own lives, we are redeemed from the life of sin by Christ, and then called to put away that sin. Colossians 2:11 says, “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ.” It is awesome that what was physical in the Old Testament (circumcision) has spiritual meaning in the New Testament (Christ removing our sin).
- I like the conclusion of this chapter, “Thus all the children of Israel did.” Meaning, they were obedient in what they were told to do…all of them. What would the church be like if everyone was obedient? You may have heard that sin is “contagious.” And, in some ways, it makes sense. Take for example the mixed multitude we mentioned earlier. In Numbers, we’re told they proved to be a stumbling block for the Israelites. Even though sin can spread, it can also be starved through obedience. I believe obedience is contagious, too. When you see other being obedient to the Word, it stirs a desire in your own heart for it. Be obedient! Not only does it bring glory to God, it points others to Christ. Amen.