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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Contrary to Popular Belief Our Redemption Has a Purpose

There’s a lot of inconsistency in the world. Like how I can fit into a specific size of jeans at one store, but am two sizes up at the next. Or how strawberries are delicious one week and terrible the next. Or how I can be roasting at Monday’s baseball game and donning my parka the next. Or how insurance will pay one bill but not the next. Or how my children are best friends one day and enemies the next. (You get the idea.)


Devotional Scripture: Exodus 9:1-12
Key Verse: “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15


Yet other times, life is so consistent you can close your eyes and jump with both feet and have no fear of the landing, because you know the Chick-fil-a drive through will still have a line wrapped all the way around the building. The ­­­­­shortest distance between two points will still be a straight line. The baby will always cry the moment your hot breakfast is ready. And someone will inevitably need to pooh, when it’s time to leave for church.

You can count on it my friend, just as you can always count on it to rain after spending nine dollars on a car wash.

Honestly though, it makes me feel cozy. Confident even, having consistency in my life. Driving past the same potholes, on my way to the same stores, for the same foods. Getting up at the same time (relatively speaking) every day to talk to the same God who walked with Adam and Eve.

Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes change is good. There’s just something about rearranging the family room furniture that puts a skip in my step. But God knew we’d feel safe in consistency, just as our kids do. And He knew, with our inquiring minds, it’d be the least confusing route.

So, sin is still sin. Life lived apart from the Creator is still miserable. God is still the same he was an eternity ago. We are still saved by grace through faith, the same way Abraham was. And for the same purpose, to serve God.

Six times the LORD commanded Pharaoh, “Let my people go, that they may serve me” (9:1). Though each plague was uniquely different, God’s purpose remained the same. Whether it was frogs or flies or the death of “livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks” (v. 3), as we see in the fifth plague. Or “boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt” (v. 9), as we see in the sixth plague. It was all for the same purpose – so the Israelite’s would be freed to serve God.

But what struck me is not God’s consistency, because we’ve already established He’s good at that. What struck me is that God had a purpose. He wasn’t freeing the Israelite’s from bondage so they could go and live however they wanted to. Deciding for themselves what was right and wrong. What felt good and what didn’t. He was freeing them so they could serve Him!

Their redemption had purpose, and likewise, not surprisingly, so does ours. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Christ gave his life as a ransom not so we could say, “Hey thanks buddy” and then run off and live however we want. He redeemed us so we could be His. A people for his own possession, ready and willing to serve him (Titus 2:14).

Accordingly, Romans 6:22 says we’ve been freed from the slavery of sin to be slaves of God.  Not redeemed unto ourselves, but redeemed unto God. We are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Indebted to God forever for the free to us (not free to Him) gift of eternal life we serve, to the best of our ability, wholly and fully devoted to Him. (At least that’s the goal, though I frequently get in my own way.)

Yet for fear of legalism, or teaching a works based salvation, purpose often gets set aside. Burying it under a beautiful pile of grace, we tend to flash our eternal security badge more often than we display our gold engraved name plate, exhibiting our position in God’s kingdom.

But it’s for the very purpose of service we’ve been redeemed! “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Not saved by our works (Eph. 2:8), but saved unto works, in order “that we may bear fruit for God” (Rom. 7:4).

Not by living according to the law, but by living according to the Spirit. That they, a world in desperate need of a Savior, may see Him in us and seek the message of reconciliation we bear witness to. Thereby, fulfilling our purpose.

I see it as a clever tactic of Satan to make us so fearful of preaching a message of works, that in the end, we preach no works at all. But God’s standards haven’t changed. Obedience is still at the forefront of his agenda.

We aren’t saved because we serve, we serve because we’re saved. With gratitude and grace paving the way because grace isn’t a license to sin, but is in fact the core reason not to.

With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God didn’t change the purpose, he simply fulfilled the promise. Just as he did in Israel, granting life and liberty and the ability to serve Him.

He still expects obedience, just as he did with the Israelite’s. He still honors loyalty, just as he did with the Israelite’s. He’s the same consistent God. A God who’s set His people free, so they can freely serve Him.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What purpose is there in your salvation?
What good works has God specifically assigned to you, that others may see and glorify your Father in Heaven?
How can you give glory to God today?

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