So You’ve Been Redeemed, Now What?

And they’re off! All 600,000 men, plus women and children. Perhaps making our grand total of Israelite’s hittin’ the road between two and three million. It’s only a guess, we won’t argue about it. But keep in mind Exodus 1 said God multiplied them greatly. And Moses says to the people in Deuteronomy 10:22, “Your Fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.”


Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:37-13:16
Key Verse: “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the age has come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11


Can you imagine the potty stops with all those people? This was some caravan. Laden with the treasury of Egypt, did they have carts to pull and wagons to pile their stuff in or did they carry it all?

According to Exodus 3:22 they were to have their sons and daughters wear the jewelry they’d acquired. Perhaps here is where we get the phrase “travel in style.” Those kids were looking good. With moms and dads keeping close watch on their littles, I imagine an air of excitement permeated the people.

“Can you believe we’re doing this?”
“I never thought it’d happen!”
“Joseph, slow down, wait for mommy” (Oh you know there was some of that.)

Fresh off the heels of God’s deliverance, I’d say they were happy to carry their kneading bowls of unleavened bread on their shoulders. Shifting baskets of goods from one hip to another. “Don’t worry about it, we’re free!” I’d have been giddy – a fresh start before me.

Like we often are when someone comes to Christ. Freed from the grip of sin, granted new life in Christ, we celebrate, don’t we? We hug and cry tears of joy, exhaling big sighs of relief that our dear friend is now a sister in Christ. And they, cleansed, made new, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, experience a fresh start.

But then what? Usually it doesn’t take long and we (they) are back to reality. Oh yeah, I’m still a sinner. The Christian walk a little more taxing than we thought, we grumble. We grow weary. We sit down. We question. We waiver. We doubt. (See any of that in the book of Exodus? Um, yes.)

Because their story of redemption, echoes ours not only in the rescuing part, but in the journey also. So by stepping back and looking at Israel’s ride, we can gain a better understanding of not only God’s expectations for us. (And His love and patience.) But it also offers a glimpse of what might be waiting for us over the horizon. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction.”

Specifically, I see five takeaways in today’s passage:

  1. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was immediate.

Directly following the Passover (the night of their redemption) came the Feast of Unleavened bread. From the fourteenth through the twenty-first of the month of Abib, they were to eat nothing with yeast to commemorate their Egyptian exodus. “For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses” (Ex. 12:19).

Yeast or leaven often a picture of sin in Scripture, Jesus told the disciples to be careful of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6). (Because a little bit of sin can permeate the whole batch of dough. You get the idea.)  But what got me here is the timing of the feast. It started the day of Passover. Not a few days later or two months down the road, but that day. A picture to us of immediately, in Christ, leaving our life of sin behind. Not next month or two years from now. But at the point of salvation, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, we’re called to live a righteous, holy life.

  1. God took them the long way.

Verse 37 says, “The people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.” Away from the land of the Philistines, though that would have been the shortest route (Ex. 13:17). Then from Succoth they went to Etham and then turned back to Pi-hahiroth (Ex. 14:2), where they found themselves in a bit of a pickle. But it was there between the Sea and an approaching Egyptian army (because Pharaoh had changed his mind), that they experienced one of the most remarkable miracles of all time – the parting of the Red Sea.

Ever feel like God’s taking you the long way? Uh-huh. Yet just like with Israel, maybe he’s protecting us from a battle we aren’t prepared to fight. (They weren’t ready to face the Philistines.) Or maybe he’s leading you to a place where his power and protection and providence will be so evident, like the parting of the Red Sea, you’ll praise him for it the rest of your life. Keep in mind the route made no sense to Israel, but made perfect sense to God.

  1. They were told to remember.

“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast” (Ex. 12:14). Remembering was everything. If they forgot, they’d turn away. So, from the get-go they were told to celebrate annually the Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread.

We’re not to forget either. Meeting together on Sunday’s, we remember. Partaking in communion, we remember. Annually celebrating the resurrection at Easter, we remember. Or do we? Distracted by the music we don’t like or the events going on later that day or Aunt Margaret’s comment to me last year at the Easter gather, do we remember?

  1. They were to consecrate to God all the firstborn.

Whether it was an animal or a child, the firstborn belonged to God. The firstborn acting as a representative of each one to come after, it established God’s ownership over a family. How’d they do this? Well, if it was a firstborn ox, sheep, or goat, it was sacrificed on the altar. But if it was a donkey or a child, a lamb was offered in its place. (Anyone else find it interesting we’re in the same category as donkeys? Both stubborn, both unclean – the only answer is a substitute!)

Later on, in Numbers 18 the redemption price for a firstborn son was set at five shekels of silver. (Joseph and Mary even paid this for Jesus.) A reminder to every set of new parents that they’re kids belonged to God. Today we might do a baby dedication at church, and the idea is the same. The key is to follow through with it, trusting that God loves our kids even more than we do.

  1. The enemy wasn’t far behind.

Fresh out of the gate and who was behind them? Pharaoh and the hosts of Egypt. A vivid reminder there’s an active enemy out there, pursuing us with all they’ve got. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

So what do we do? We stand firm in our faith (1 Peter 5:9). Because just like God showed up for Israel, he’ll show up for us. Restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing us in Christ (1 Peter 5:10).

The parallels are many my friend, but the promises are more. So don’t lose heart – take heart. Jesus will walk us through it. Just like He did, hour by hour, day by day, with Israel.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What parallels do you see between Israel’s journey out of Egypt and the Christian life?
Which parallel are you dealing with right now?
What promise can you hold onto to make sure you are standing firm in the faith?

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It’s Not What We Have, It’s How We Use It

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?

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The Treasure of Passover

Digging into God’s word is like going on a guaranteed treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to get, but you can rest assured it will be well worth the effort.


Devotional Scripture: Exodus 12:7-13, 21-28
Key Verse: “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” Psalm 119:162


Sifting through the seemingly insignificant details of the Bible my favorite, because that’s where the real gems are. The ins and outs of Passover, our Scripture today, a fitting example of the spoil to be found.

  1. Selecting the lamb. The Israelites were to select their lamb on the 10th day of the month but it was not to be killed until twilight of the 14th. As such the lamb was appointed unto death before it was slain, just as Christ was, “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19). During that four day period the family inspected the lamb to be sure it was without blemish. Jesus too was inspected prior his death. Interrogated before the high priest and Pilate who in John 18:38 said to the Jews, “I find no guilt in him.”</li
    1. It had to be a lamb without blemish. Because nothing but perfection can satisfy a Holy God. Foreshadowing Christ who though tempted in every way, remained sinless, “A lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
    2. The lamb was roasted, not raw or boiled. Boiling the lamb would have taken too long. And raw, besides being disgusting, was a pagan tradition associated with the worship of false gods. But more importantly, the fire represented the lamb enduring the wrath of God, just as God poured his wrath on Christ. “Wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
    3. They were to eat the flesh as well: Sound familiar? “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man…you have no life in you” (John 6:53).
    4. They were to eat all the lamb. Because Christ did not just sacrifice part of himself.
    5. And nothing was to remain until morning. No leftovers this time, because the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is not an ongoing process. Christ died once for all and it was finished. (Hebrews 9:25-28
    6. They ate it with unleavened bread. Leaven in Scripture, symbolic of sin, was not to be part of this meal. Nor was it allowed for seven days after during the feast of Unleavened Bread. Because when we come to Christ, we’re to leave our life of sin behind and walk thereafter in righteousness.
    7. They ate with bitter herbs. Lest they forgot where they came from! The bondage and persecution the Israelites had suffered in Egypt was unpleasant bitter thing. Yet so was the undeserved crucifixion of our Savior.
    8. They ate ready to go. “With your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand,” Their deliverance at hand they were ready. Ready to go and be a people set apart for God. But the question is, delivered and set free, are we? “Having fastened on the belt of truth” and for shoes, “having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace,” and taken up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Gal. 6:14-17), are we ready?

    A meal of fellowship they ate with family and friends. (And still do.) The Passover meal called Seder today traditionally consists of the roasted bone of a lamb, roasted or hard-boiled eggs. Horseradish and/or romaine lettuce for the bitter herbs. And parsley dipped in salt water in place of the hyssop.

    Hyssop being a sturdy bushy plant with minty leaves, it was used at Passover like a paintbrush to apply the blood of the lamb to the outside doorposts. Later it was used to sprinkle blood on people (or things) for ceremonial cleansing. Not surprisingly it was used to offer Jesus sour wine while he hung on the cross as the agent of our cleansing.

    Today’s Seder or Passover meal also consists of Charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, sugar, and cinnamon. (Resembling a paste. The only sweet food at the meal.) Perhaps a reminder of the sweetness of redemption. Along with three pieces of matso or unleavened bread.

    Traditionally the unleavened bread is placed in a bag with three chambers called an echad, which means one in Hebrew. The matso (unleavened bread) placed in the first chamber is never seen or touched during the meal. The matso placed in the second chamber is broken in half at the start of the meal. One half goes back in the bag and the other is wrapped in a linen cloth. The piece of matso in the third chamber is used to eat the Passover (Seder) meal.

    The piece of matso wrapped in the linen cloth is hidden during the meal as a game for the children who are present. Once they find it, it is held for ransom. A tradition I’m sure many have fond memories of. But it’s also another detail with meaning.

    The echad (the one bag with three chambers), being a picture of the trinity, the piece never seen or touched representing God the Father. The piece broken, with half hidden and placed in a linen cloth, a picture of Christ. (Remember Christ’s words to the disciples, “This is my body broken for you.” His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45) And the piece eaten with the meal, a picture of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer.

    Yet the Jewish people traditionally view the three pieces of matso in the echad as representing Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Though they can’t explain why they break Isaac in half and wrap part of him in a linen cloth.

    I know what you’re thinking (because I’m thinking it too). How could they not see it? Year after year of the Seder meal, matso, and echad, yet still the true meaning slips by the Jewish people.  But how many details have slipped past me? The stories in Scripture something I’ve heard since I was a little girl.

    Romans 11 tells us the LORD has blinded the Jews for a time, handing us an explanation as to why they just don’t see it. But what excuse do we have? God’s word a precious treasure are we seeking it?

    “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Therefore, “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil” (Ps. 119:162).

    Keep digging my friend, and I’ll dig with you. There’s much more treasure to be found.

    Contemplate and Evaluate:
    What details blessed you most regarding the ins and outs of Passover?
    Do you nourish yourself with God’s word? Or is it merely a task or something you get to if there’s time?
    How can you rearrange your schedule to put Christ first?

    (Some of the information I found on the Seder meal came from https://www.gotquestions.org. A website I highly recommend as you dig into the details of Scripture.)