Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, January 20, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jan 21, Ex 10-12

Today's readings are Ex 10- 12.

More plagues in Ex 10! Pharaoh is losing the support of his people. His servants openly question him, an act that could have been deadly prior to the onset of the plagues. It doesn't help that the Egyptians see that the Jews are unaffected and seem to be protected by God. The Egyptians may not be believers, but they certainly are witnesses to God's power.

We are reminded, once again, that God is doing all of this to reveal Himself and His power (Ex 10:2) which says, “…that you may know that I am the Lord”. Some variation of this phrase occurs throughout the narrative. It’s there to show that the goal of everything God does is His self-revelation, not the removal of His people from Egypt. Their deliverance is an incredible blessing but it is the glorious by-product of God's plan to put His power and glory on display for all the world to see. 

The ninth plague is darkness, an incredible, inky darkness never experienced before (Ex 10:21-38). The darkness is significant to the Egyptians. One of their most powerful deities is Ra, the sun god, who seems powerless against the God of Moses.  

In Ex 11, Moses prophesies the final plague. It will be devastating. The firstborn of every house will die. This tragic consequence of Pharaoh's stubbornness was prophesied by God to Moses in Ex 4:22-23. 

The plagues have become increasingly worse. Egypt is decimated. Pharaoh remains stubborn. Now death and grief are at his doorstep. Although Moses has warned him about each plague well before they occurred, Pharaoh seems to consistently believe the next one will affect him. He is similar to many who have all the evidence of God’s presence and power before them yet stubbornly refuse to accept the truth.

Ex 12 is momentous. The Passover described in this chapter is marked by symbolism whose meaning will not be made clear to the Jews for nearly two thousand years. They are to sacrifice a lamb. The sacrifice shows that the shedding of blood will be a component of their deliverance. A death must occur. The lamb’s blood will be the mark of protection for God’s people. Those that are under the blood will be spared.

The meal prepared from the sacrificed lamb is to be eaten in haste and preparedness. God’s people are to be vigilant and prepared for His deliverance. There is to be no leaven, either in the meal or in the house. Leaven will only slow the process down. It is to be completely eliminated from their lives in order for them to participate in the Passover. No foreigner or individual outside the household can eat the Passover meal. It is reserved for the people of God.

There is more symbolism in eating the lamb and painting its blood on their doorways. In eating it, they become one with the lamb, its flesh is inside them. In spreading the blood on their doorways, they are covered by the blood. The sacrifice of the lamb covers them completely, inside and out. It preserves them.

The angel of death takes the firstborn of all the Egyptians, leaving the firstborn of God's children, preserving the bloodlines, providing assurance that God’s promise will be fulfilled and guaranteeing God’s protection. 

Pharaoh finally releases God's people. God’s awesome outpouring of wrath upon those who oppose Him or His people and the deliverance of those who are His are a fulfillment of His promise to Moses.

These events are so significant, God orders His people to restart their calendars. They are now a nation redeemed, reborn and starting anew, freed by the grace of God, being led to their new home by God's chosen leader. Their new lives start the day God redeems them.

After 430 years in captivity, over two million people walk out of Egypt, carrying the riches of Egypt with them and even some of the Egyptians. It will be interesting to see how that material wealth plays out in the wilderness.

There is an echo of the gospel in the 430 years. This would not be apparent to the Jews about to leave Egypt. But they labored under the Egyptians without a prophetic word or godly leader for 430 years. Then, God sent Moses to lead them to freedom.

At the end of the Old Testament period, God will go silent for 400 years. He will not be inactive but there will be no prophetic word or godly leader in Israel for 400 years. Then, John the Baptist will arrive, proclaiming the Messiah. Jesus will minister for 30 years. Then, after 430 years, He will give up His life on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice that frees God’s people forevermore.  

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