Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 22 2019 - Exodus 12:1-28 – Passover preparations

The Lord is about to come down in judgment upon Egypt and to redeem his people from slavery. But when God comes down in judgment, no-one is safe. Hence the elaborate preparations that needed to be made for that night.

Some are practical preparations to get ready for sudden travel. That night, the Israelites are to remain clothed with their cloaks tucked into their belts, sandals on their feet and staff in hand ready for an immediate and rapid exit. Nor will they have time to allow their bread to rise; they will have to eat unleavened bread.

Other preparations are for their protection. Each household is to take a lamb, the meat of which will be sufficient to feed the family. They are to kill the lamb in the evening and to collect the blood in a basin. Then they are to take a bunch of hyssop to use like a paintbrush, dip it in the blood and paint the sides and tops of the doorframes of their house. None of the family is to leave the house that night. When the Lord comes down in judgment he will see the blood painted on the doorframes and will pass over that house. It will be spared from judgment because a lamb has been sacrificed. There will be a death in every household in Egypt that night: in the Egyptian households, the death of the firstborn; in the Israelite households, the death of the Passover lamb.

God's judgment that night is not visited solely upon Pharaoh and his people. God says, "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord [or, I am Yahweh]." (v.12) This is the final demonstration that the Lord, Yahweh, God of the Israelites is the living God, the God who is with his people to accomplish all that he has promised. There is no other god like him. The multitude of the gods of Egypt are shown up also for what they are – mere cardboard cut-outs; powerless idols.

This momentous act of judgment and of salvation will be remembered forever in Israel. It will mark the start of a new year for them and will be celebrated annually, recalling the bitterness of their slavery as they eat bitter herbs and celebrating their salvation with joy as they feast together on the roast lamb. The salvation of God creates a perpetual new beginning for his people.

When God comes down in judgment, no-one is safe. We all fall short of what God calls us to be; we are all deserving of his judgment. But God has provided a lamb for us; Christ our Passover has been sacrificed and his shed blood keeps us safe from the wrath to come. He is our salvation and redemption. There is no safety except in him; there is no fear of judgment when we shelter in him and his shed blood. This is what we celebrate together when we take part in a Communion Service.

None other Lamb, none other name,
none other hope in heav'n or earth or sea,
none other hiding place from guilt and shame,
none beside thee!

Christina Rossetti

Holy and Almighty God, we give you thanks for Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Thank you that he shed his blood for us and died in our place. Thank you for the salvation and new beginning we have in him. Help us to celebrate this salvation daily by living the life you call us to live – a life free from the 'yeast' of malice and wickedness.

Peter Misselbrook