Thursday, May 09, 2013

Then See What I, the Lord, Will Do -- Exodus 12:12-13

:“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments – I am the Lord.  And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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.”
After God tells the Israelites how to prepare for their day of deliverance – their day of freedom from the slavery of Egypt and their exodus from the land, He tells them what He will do.  And I love the assurance with which He makes His statement, starting with “For I will . . .”.  They could count on it.  God was going to go through the land of Egypt that very night and take the first-born of every man and beast.  The Israelites had seen enough of God’s power and miracles and they had no reason to doubt Him for one moment.  I wonder where we stand in regards to the issue of doubting what God has said He will do in His Word.  Have we seen or experienced enough of His power and miracles in our own lives to be able to count on His Word for the future?  I do not about you, but I can assure you that my own life has been stamped with God’s fingerprints over and over again.  So much so, that nothing and no one can convince me I cannot count on Him to deliver what He said He would.  And by believing that without any doubt, I can be at peace, even when I consider the state the world is in today and what lies ahead.  Can you count on God?
God does not only exercise His power over evil man and his beasts, but we read here that in so doing, He is “executing judgments against all the gods of Egypt.”  Now what exactly is this all about?  Later in the Bible we read that the Lord “had” taken action or judgments against the Egyptian idols at the same time the Egyptians were burying their first-born.  And Jewish tradition indicates that this same night, by the same destroying Angel, God had broken the idols the Egyptians had in their homes and elsewhere into pieces.  When God acts against the evils of man, He not only goes after man’s possessions (the first-born of both man and of their cattle), but also of the false idols that have contributed to man’s deeds of evil.  You can count on God to do what He says He will do.  So, I humbly ask you and myself, “Who and what are we prepared to lose and allow to suffer because of our stance against God?  What false idols do we adhere to that will ultimately be destroyed and mean nothing?  Is it our wealth, or our cars, or our addictions – drugs, immoral sex, pornography, sports, gambling?  What is it?  Is any of it worth it?”
And then God adds this phrase of authority, “I am the Lord.”  Not, “for I am the Lord” – but just, “I am the Lord” as if to say “I don’t even need to give you a reason as to why I can or why I do what I do – I just am.”  This past week I heard of two good friends in the ministry being diagnosed with colon cancer.  Yesterday I heard that a man I personally knew was killed in a serious accident.  (In fact, the police had diverted the traffic I was part of that morning as a result of that accident ahead.  Little did I know who was involved in it.)  It is at times like these, and we all face them in our lives, that one can easily ask, “Why did God allow that? Or why did He do so and so?”  I learned early in my walk with Him not to do so.  In fact, my wife reminds me of how often I have asked the opposite question, “Why was I, why were we, spared?”  Please do not try to challenge God – He is the only one that cannot be challenged, for the simple reason, “He is the Lord.”  If you have a hard time accepting that, then your journey walking with Him, will be much more difficult.
God told the Israelites the blood of the Passover lamb they were to sprinkle on the doorposts of their houses would be a sign that indicates they belong to Him and the destroying Angel would not visit that house to take the first-born of man and animal.  Have you ever seen signs that say, “We gave at the office, so please do not ask again.” Or what about signs that say, “No soliciting whatsoever.”  Well, the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb was the sign for the destroying Angel to leave that household untouched that night – safe and sound with no harm befalling it unlike the rest of the Egyptian households.  Skip forward three thousand years and today we too are covered “by the blood of the Passover Lamb – Jesus Christ” who died in our place, for our sins.  God will not exercise His condemning judgment of eternal death on us who believe in, and personally know and love and serve, Jesus Christ.
You may have noticed in this passage and elsewhere that God refers to the destroying Angel and Himself interchangeably.  I do not want to get into a debate here of “who or Who it is exactly that is going to bring death to the first-born in Egypt.”  It is possible that it is God Himself.  It is also possible that the usage is such to imply that God is giving the orders and the Angel is carrying them out on God’s behalf.  I respectfully submit to you that this is indeed one case where it really does not matter, does it?  But here is what does matter.  There is no logical or intellectual or scientific reason whatsoever to think that by placing blood on one’s doorposts, one would actually prevent the destroyer from entering one’s home.  Absolutely none.  So, what’s the point here?  Simply this.  You have to do it by faith.  Only faith can save one from the plague that is about to befall Egypt, and only faith can save you and me from the everlasting death that is to befall mankind.
And even if you were religious enough in those days to participate in the Passover lamb dinner just to be part of the community, to fit into the Israelite society at the time, and you didn’t believe in the power of the sprinkling of the blood and thus did not carry out the splashing of it on your doorposts – well, you would have a great dinner, but your first-born would be gone in the morning.  Faith had to be exercised.  
But how hard was that since you believed in God and since you had seen His power and His works?  If you believed He was going to rescue Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians, then was it that hard to take that extra step of faith to be secured from the last plague?  I submit it would not have been.  But why is it so hard for so many today to accept the shed blood of Christ as their protection from death?  I do not know except to say God knew this would happen.  God knew the Enemy in the world would make things difficult for good men and women and children to come to Jesus.  God knew that many would see the simplicity of His plan for us as foolishness.  Others would fail to even see its need.  What remains is for you and me to determine whether or not we fall into that category.
Finally, as we study this portion of Scripture, I wonder if it is an answer to the question about whether or not we will live through all the tribulation the world will face in the future.  I think there is a good possibility that it is exactly that.  If this entire story of the Exodus of the Israelites form Egypt is a type of the end days, then I am coming to the conclusion that some of God’s people will live to see what is going on, but we will be spared, and kept safe from, the horror.  I leave that to your own further research.

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