21 October 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 11:1-15:21

This week’s lesson is one of my favorites during this year’s study. Today we will see God deliver His people from the plague of the firstborn and from Pharaoh and his army.

Chapter 11 is a flashback. It fits in earlier when God revealed the other plagues to Moses. We see Moses obey God again as he boldly approaches Pharaoh for the last time. Moses shares God’s message to Pharaoh: God promises one final plague on the Egyptians, the plague of the firstborn. Every firstborn Egyptian, even their livestock, will be killed. Pharaoh again refused to listen to God’s message through Moses.

In chapter 12, God gives instructions for the Passover to the Israelites. This is how He will save them from the plague of the firstborn.

God instructs each Israelite family to select a male, 1-year-old lamb without defect. They should care for the lamb for four days. On the fourth day, they should slaughter the lamb, then use a hyssop branch to spread the lamb’s blood on the door frames of the family’s home. This is the sign that Israelites dwell in the house, and the angel of death will pass over the house.

Then God tells the Israelites to roast the lamb’s meat and eat all of it. They also should eat bitter herbs (representing the bitter slavery they endured) and unleavened bread (representing the speed with which they must leave Egypt and also sin and hindrances, which they should leave behind in Egypt). They should eat the meal rapidly, with eagerness and with anticipation for how God will deliver them from the plague. They should eat the meal with their outer clothing and sandals on, ready to leave when God calls them. God also instruct the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians of their silver, gold and clothing.

The Passover lamb is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ, our sacrificial Lamb. We must believe that he died for us, and then we must have faith that He will save us and “apply” His blood to our sins, just like the Passover lamb. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God sees Jesus’ blood over our sins and “passes over” us, giving us eternal life.

When Moses shares God’s instructions with the Israelites, they bow down and worship, even before anything happened! They trusted that God would do what He said.

Some foreigners left Egypt with the Israelites (slaves from other nations, Egyptians who chose to believe in God, etc.). God instructs the Israelites that no foreigners may eat the Passover meal because it wouldn’t mean anything to them. But if foreigners choose to be identified with God’s people and are circumcised, then they may participate in the Passover Feast.

The Israelites obeyed all of God’s instructions, and God fulfills all of His promises. He sends the angel of death throughout Egypt and kills all of the firstborn, including Pharaoh’s son. But the Israelites are saved.

Then God calls the Israelites to leave Egypt. He leads them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God’s visible presence was with the Israelites.

But God does not take them the shortest distance to the Promised Land. They appear to wander. Then God directs Moses to circle back around to move the people between a mountain and the Red Sea. Pharaoh thinks the Israelites are confused. So he follows them with his army, hoping to attack them and bring them back to Egypt.

When the Israelites see Pharaoh and his army approaching, they cry out to God. Then they turn to Moses and complain. (We will see a lot more complaining throughout this study!) The Israelites think it would have been better if they had remained in Egypt.

Moses tells them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:13-14).”

God instructs Moses to raise his staff to divide the waters of the Red Sea so the people can cross on dry ground. Then God destroys Pharaoh and his army when he allows the waters of the Red Sea to swallow up the army. This miracle causes the Israelites to put their trust in God and in Moses as His servant. And in response to God’s power, protection and provision, the Israelites break into song and praise God.

Things to Think About

  • After receiving the Passover instructions, the Israelites worshiped God even before God fulfilled His promise. How often do I praise God before I see Him work?
  • “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:13-14).”
  • If God has called me to something, even if it’s a battle, He will fight for me.
  • When is the last time I broke out into song as a praise to God?