Len Day 6: The Passover
Exodus 12:1-13 (ESV)
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
The account of the Passover with which Israel begins its exit out of Egypt and slavery is in many ways the central story of the Old Testament. It is meant to speak profoundly to God’s people. On the one hand, it is a reminder that unless God intervenes and covers us, we are in the same condition as everyone else: part of a rebel creation that stands under God’s judgment and condemnation. That is always part of our identity as human beings and without it we cannot walk in humility either before God or others.
On the other hand, it is a reminder that the primary thing God wants from us is trust. He wants us to trust that he is merciful and that he cares for us. He wants us to trust that he desires to save and not condemn us. That is why he became incarnate in the person of Jesus. And he wants our lives to issue in the acts of obedience that manifest our trust in him – whether that is putting blood on our doorposts and eating the Passover meal as was the case for the Israelites – or remembering Jesus’s death which saved us when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper and then living lives of forgiveness and generosity. Is your life being characterized by this kind of humility and trust? If not, why not?
Lord Jesus, grant me to so deeply feel my need for your mercy and to know your provision of it that humility and obedient trust might be profoundly manifest in my life. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
Lent Day 5: The Lion
Genesis 49:8-12 (ESV)
Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
On his deathbed Jacob prophesied the future of each of his twelve children, foreseeing their future ascendancy or demise, prosperity or impoverishment. For some, the future would be full of violence and heartache. But for others theirs would be a future of prominence and victory.
For Judah, the fourth among Jacob’s sons, his was a future of distinction. He would be held in esteem by his brothers (v. 8, “your brothers shall praise you”) and receive tribute from all nations (v. 10, “to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”) His reign would be enduring and unchallenged (v. 10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah”) and a time of overwhelming abundance. Because grapevines require attention and care, wine was a luxury for nomadic people in the ancient world. Yet under the reign of Judah, there would be such an abundance of vines that one could tie his donkey to one without fear that it would be damaged, wash his garments in wine without depleting the supply and even drink until his eyes took on the color of wine itself (vv. 11-12). Judah’s reign would be a glorious one indeed and it is no wonder that Judah himself would be called a lion (v. 9).
In Revelation 5, John has a vision of the enthroned Lion of Judah and yet this vision is juxtaposed with a Lamb who was slain. Why? The Gospels show us that Jesus demonstrates His greatest power through weakness, His Lordship through service and His sovereign reign through self-sacrifice. In other words, Jesus was slain because He was the Lion and enthroned because He is the Lamb. In your moments of brokenness, heartache and hardship, do you see that Jesus Christ experienced brokenness for you so that you might experience the abundance of His reign over your life?
Lord Jesus, we are amazed that you reign not through a demonstration of power, but of service; not through exaltation, but humiliation; not through might, but sacrifice. Help me to see that you were the Lion who was slain like a Lamb, so that in my humiliation I might experience your exaltation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.