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Exodus and Passover: God led to freedom

July 9, 2024
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Daily Scripture

Exodus 12:5-7, 11-13, 24-27, 31-32

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.

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 [Hebrew verb of the noun Passover] you. No plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

24 You should observe this ritual as a regulation for all time for you and your children. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord has promised to give you, be sure that you observe this ritual. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ritual mean to you?’ 27 you will say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. When he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.’” The people then bowed down and worshipped.

31 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron that night and said, “Get up! Get away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go! Worship the Lord, as you said! 32 You can even take your flocks and herds, as you asked. Just go! And bring a blessing on me as well!”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Exodus is extremely light on some details in order to make one main point. “The writer (who… is really an editor working with two parallel traditions) emphasizes how this moment is tied to the Passover…. what lies at the heart of this passage is how generations to come will remember the Passover—how to answer ‘when your children ask you’ (12:26)—not a step-by-step recounting of What Really Happened.” * This was Israel’s defining story: they were helpless slaves until God’s power freed them.

  • As noted above, Exodus 12:24-26 was written down long after that dramatic night of departure from Egypt. It defined the central place this story held in Israel’s faith. They could not see themselves or their children as people who existed because of their own power or ingenuity. They were God’s people, freed for God’s purposes. How have you learned (or can you learn) to see yourself, not as a self-made person, but as one for whom the best parts of life are God’s gift?
  • It may seem odd that verse 11 directed “eat the meal in a hurry” at Passover. That was a way to preserve the memory of a sudden departure, of a moment when God’s people had to move into God-given freedom NOW, not later. Have you ever faced a situation in which delay was practically the same as refusing to move at all? How can you live your life ready to respond to God, even if it leads to altering other plans or expectations you may have had?
Prayer

God of Passover, I thank you for delivering me from death into life. Help me not to forget your mighty acts on my behalf, but to remember to praise and serve you for saving me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at Leawood's modern worship services, as well as at the West and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.

My childhood was a little weird. I lived in 10 houses before I graduated high school. One of those houses burned down when I was 8 and I lost a lot of my things. When I was 10, we moved to a different country, and I lost almost all of my stuff in the move. At 12, we moved back to the US, and I lost some stuff again. My parents divorced when I was 15, which doubled my houses-per-parent. I started college at 17 and everything I brought with me had been purchased in the last year.

My parents moved through life pretty quickly, if you can’t tell from the list above, and we never really put roots down anywhere. We had no family traditions, nor time to make any. Extended family was present in my life but held at a distance (partly for safety reasons). I also grew up Southern Baptist—a tradition that doesn’t like following traditions from centuries past. In short, I grew up with no history. This all seemed pretty normal to me, but hearing stories about other families’ long-standing traditions was foreign.

When I joined the Methodist church in 2005 (because I met a cute girl who happened to work at Church of the Resurrection), discovering long-standing traditions and the meaning behind them was refreshing. I soon began the unfamiliar process of putting down roots and growing a new life from them, in both my family and faith. I recognize days I had never heard of growing up, like Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. I also married that cute girl from Church of the Resurrection and I’m happy to say I’ve been in one house for 16 years.

In my life, I discovered two kinds of traditions: the ones given to us and the ones we choose to adopt. I had few of the first kind, but I’m gladly finding more of the second. You may find yourself like me, with little history and tradition, or you might find that you have an overabundance of them, and many have lost meaning. Wherever you find yourself with the first kind, we all have a choice on the second.

If your faith feels stale, discovering or rediscovering old traditions can breathe fresh air into it. The traditions given to us aren’t necessarily the ones we choose, but regardless of whether we grew up with something or found it for the first time, learning about and celebrating the history and meaning behind them can bring new meaning to our lives.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Enns, Peter, Exodus for Normal People: A Guide to the Story—and History—of the Second Book of the Bible (The Bible for Normal People) (p. 81). The Bible for Normal People. Kindle Edition.