It was done. The LORD passed over as he’d said and just like that the 10th plague was finished. The firstborn of every Israelite family was still safe, alive, and covered by the blood of the lamb. While the Egyptians, stunned, heartbroken, scared, mourned the loss of theirs. The death of their loved ones not necessarily a quiet passing, it says the Egyptians cried out in the night. Along with Pharaoh, who now faced life apart from his oldest boy.
Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:29-36
Key Verse: “The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.” Exodus 12:35
The loss more than he could handle, Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron while it was still dark. “Get out of here. Go, all of you. Your flocks, your herds, your little ones. Leave. And bless me on your way out!” (My paraphrase.)
At last, they heard the word they’d been waiting for! “Go!” The Israelite’s after 430 years were free! Redeemed! No longer slaves in a foreign land, but God’s chosen people on their way to the Promised Land.
Walking away from the only life they’d ever known, with no time to prepare. The exodus so sudden, not even their cakes of dough had time to rise (v. 39). But it didn’t matter because the LORD was on watch that night (v. 42). They’d be fine, this was God’s will and He was with them. (A point I’d do well to remember when life surprises me, giving me little time to prepare.)
But they certainly weren’t leaving empty handed. Instructed to ask the Egyptians “for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing” (12:35), they had plenty. In fact, they were rich! The Egyptians more than a little afraid of the Israelites by this point, gave abundantly and gave freely. So much so, verse 36 says they plundered the Egyptians.
Can you imagine that conversation? “Hey, can I have your gold?” Or was it, “Oh by the way, I’d like your valuables. And that blue fabric back there – I’ll take that too.” Or maybe the shyer type took the lighter approach, “So I was thinkin’ maybe you could give me your valuables?” No matter how you state it, sounds awkward doesn’t it?
Yet the Israelites were told to ask. Specifically, the women, according to Exodus 4:22, “But each woman shall ask of her neighbor…for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing.” Fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham hundreds of years prior to bring his descendants out the land of their affliction “with great possessions” (Gen. 15:14). Another example to us that God never forgets a promise.
But the gold and silver spilling out of their pockets was more than just a fulfilled promise, it was a visible demonstration of God’s justice. Back wages, if you will, for their years of unpaid service. Not a day of injustice went by that God didn’t see and calculate. A refreshing thought, isn’t it?
It’s also a picture for us of the riches we gain at the point of salvation. Keep in mind the overall picture being developed in Exodus is Christ’s ability to redeem all people, not just the Israelite’s. And when He does, he grants us gifts. #1 Lavishing us with every spiritual blessing, “according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). #2 Sealing us “with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Eph 1:7, 13-14). #3 Filling us each with spiritual gifts. Ephesians 4:8 says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
Gifts like teaching, serving, encouraging, leading. Or mercy, wisdom, faith. (There’s more. God’s creative. This is not an exhaustive list.) In the first century church, there was also the gifts of healing, miraculous powers, the speaking of tongues, and the discerning thereof. Which God used to confirm the truth of His message. (Now we have the Bible to do that.)
In addition, James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” And I’ve got a lot of those! The point is, our pockets are just as full as theirs were! But the question is, what will we do with it all?
The Israelite’s chose well when they used their abundance of riches to build the Tabernacle. They gave freely and without restraint. Each one more than willing to handover the wealth I’m sure they’d come to cherish. In fact, they gave so much, Moses told them to stop!
Hearts overflowing with gratitude for the salvation they neither earned nor achieved, the Israelite’s used what they’d been given for God’s purposes. Their willingness a notable example to us of using our gifts for God’s glory. Building up and enhancing his kingdom, instead of our own. Keeping in mind if it weren’t for God, we’d have none of it.
But the pouring back of our gifts, the using them for God’s purposes and not our own, is not our natural bent. What if we need that money? What if we could use our talents for something beyond the church? A thought that if we’re honest, floats in and out of our minds. But the blessing of using what we have for God’s glory, will always far outweigh the blessing of using it for our own.
What I can gain now, is no comparison to what I can gain later. Besides, using the gifts God’s given me for my own purposes, doesn’t typically lead to good places.
Unsure if Moses would ever come down from the mountain, it was only a matter of weeks before the Israelite’s reached into their gold laden pockets to make a calf to worship. Using the gifts God had given them for their own satisfaction resulting in a fast and furious walk down the path of sin!
Igniting God’s anger. (He sent a plague.) Putting them at risk of attack. (Ever considered how sin puts us at risk of attack by the enemy?) And causing division. It’s at this point the Levite’s were separated from the rest of the nation as God’s ordained priests. But the original plan was for everyone to be a priest.
Because of Israel’s choice to serve their own desires, they missed out on some serious blessing.
To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). But we don’t sweat it. Just as God never missed a day of injustice, neither does he miss a day of offering given in His name. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Heb. 6:10).
Our pockets are plum full. Overflowing actually. The question isn’t, do we have anything to give? The question is, what will we do with what we’ve been given?
The choice is ours. Choose wisely.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
What gifts has God given you that you can use for His glory?
How are you currently using the gifts God’s given you?