Exodus 10-12

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Though being late I now realize why my intent was to do this first thing in the morning. I’m a bit of a sleepy head right now, and my “Nighttime” tea isn’t helping.

I’m first struck by Pharaoh’s attempts to offer a compromise. Isn’t that how it works, not only in our lives in this world but in our spiritual life. I think of sins and remember the times I congratulated myself for a little good, and let that justify a little wrong. I think of Romans 7 and 8 (am I allowed to do that? Or is jumping ahead wrong). We were slaves to sin. But the Spirit has given us freedom through Christ. Sin lies to us, though. Tells us that we can’t really do this or that, or have to fall in this way or that way. Sin has a hardened heart and doesn’t want to release us, even in the face of God’s power. Yet, unlike Moses I’ve compromised.

“Well, I guess,” I say figuratively. “Only the men? Well that’s not really the promise and all, but that sounds good.”

“Women and children can go too? Great! I guess I don’t really need the livestock. That’s fine.”

So I leave parts of myself behind, out of fear, or weakness, or sadness, or frustration, or just plain rebelliousness. I guess even after seeing God’s power I’m still not sure he has power enough to get me all the way to fullness.

At the end of 10 Pharaoh tries to assert his power. Moses agrees with him, and puts up no fight. This is not a battle between Moses and Pharaoh. So Moses doesn’t have to prove himself, or his intellectual superiority, or anything. God is the God who will do the proving. This is between God and Pharaoh, for the People. Moses is a messenger who knows when to get out of the middle.

Which leads to the plague of the first born. This is brutal. No getting around it. God kills the first born of every family in the land, throwing everything into chaos. I’m hit by this right now. How much death went into shaping the situation for freedom? How much death was needed? Pharaoh sought to make a power play, so as to keep slaves and servants under his power, and the cost of that was beyond description. Absolutely brutal. Especially for that female slave, who would rather like to be free herself. But chaos catches many in its nets and there’s no getting around the fact that the suffering was enormous among those who had no voice in the matter.

God was doing a work, and his work is focused so that the story as a whole comes to a completion. The power of this moment, however, is revealed in the fact that it led to the most important holy day in Judaism. Passover.

Now, the customs and meanings of passover are many and they are extremely interesting. Rather than attempt to describe them myself, which would be a poor description indeed, I heartily recommend doing a search and reading about each symbol and each moment. More so I recommend attending a Seder if you can. This is one of the great moments in the history of God and of this world. God defines himself from this, and it is important we don’t lose sight of it. Indeed, I’ve attended a Messianic seder a few times, where Jewish Christians walk through the meal and reveal how many elements point to Jesus. It’s a powerful thing.

I also read through this thinking of our own Passover, the Lord’s supper, in which we eat and drink, commemorating the death of the first born that allowed me salvation.

In Exodus 12, after 450 years, the Israelites find freedom, the power of their master crushed. They feast in this moment, and prepare for a new life.

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