Preparing for Passover

April 4, 2012

It snowed all day yesterday.

And my sinuses hurt.

And I have to teach a class today at school that I am woefully unprepared for.

And I like to whine.

Yesterday’s photo of the day was “mail.” My mail was pretty boring, so I took a picture of a cute, old mailbox that I keep in my room. It’s called creativity, you guys.

Also, retraction. Apparently Diana did not win the bracket, but Matthew did. (Clearly I didn’t actually look at the bracket before pronouncing it on my blog. I’m not good with the fact checking. Apparently you shouldn’t believe much you read here.) Anyway, congrats, Matthew! Your gift basket of Toby Mac CDs and broccoli is in the mail!

So, Passover is on Friday. It’s the first holiday God commanded his people to celebrate in Exodus 12. It is the night of the final plague in Egypt and the Israelites are finally going to be set free from the yoke of the Egyptians. Pharaoh has hardened his heart numerous times, but this last plague will leave him devastated and he will finally allow the Israelites to leave. Moses has warned Pharaoh of what is about to happen, and God has given instructions for the meal Israel is supposed to eat as they prepare to leave. They are to dress in traveling clothes, eat a lamb, eat bitter herbs, and avoid leaven. Most importantly, they must take hyssop and spread the blood of the lamb over their doors. The Lord is about to pass over Egypt, and he will smite the firstborn of anyone who does not have the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts.

The Lord provided a way for people to be saved from the destroyer—it was a monumental night in the history of Israel, and he wanted them to remember what he had done forever. God gave them tangible ways to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt — lamb, herbs, unleavened bread. This meal would forever remind the Israelites that God passed over them and brought them freedom. It is also important to note that the Israelites had a task to do. In order to be saved, they had to put the blood of the slaughtered lamb over the doorpost.

God told them to celebrate the Passover — to remember the Exodus — every year on the 14th day of the first month. So, they did. Sometimes they sinned and didn’t do it. But then they would remember again. Jesus celebrated it — it is where communion was first instituted.

Tomorrow we’ll chat more about the details of the Passover seder. It’s pretty awesome.

Have a good day, friendsies!

Rescue

July 30, 2010

So, I have been very busy and kind of stressed out lately. There are a lot of changes that lay ahead (which I’ll explain later), and I have many different things going on and a lot of tasks to get done. But what is most heavy on my heart is that today is going to be a tough day for many of my friends. Some of  my them are going to go through a time that is scary and challenging and sad.

It just feels like a heavy day.

I am working on writing a Sunday school lesson about Pharaoh and the Israelites. Pharaoh is upset with the Israelites — his slaves — because they want to take a break and go worship their God in the desert. His plan to stop an uprising is to require them to make bricks without providing them with any hay. He screams at them, telling them they are lazy and trying to get out of work. So, he says, they have to do the same amount of work as always, but they are not to be given any supplies.

Well, this does not work out well for the Israelites. They just can’t meet their quota because they’re scrambling around their houses and around the city, looking for hay when they should be making bricks. The Israelite foremen are beaten for not meeting the quota. Understandably, they are upset, and they go find Moses and Aaron and tell them that they are the ones who brought all of this trouble. You see, Moses and Aaron had recently come to the Israelites and told them that God wanted to rescue them out of slavery — out of the bondage they had experienced for the last 400 years. But since Moses and Aaron have shown up, the Israelites have not been freed. They’re still slaves and, in fact, they are slaves who are being abused and worked more than usual.

Moses is confused as well. He knows that God appeared to him in a burning bush and told him that rescue was on the way. But this doesn’t seem to be happening. In fact, he says to God, “Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

God, you have not rescued your people at all.

But God responds to Moses with this:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.'”

God had a plan. He is Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He made a covenant with them long ago, and He had every intention of keeping it. He had heard the groanings, the cries, of His people who were enslaved, and He was on His way to rescue them. With His mighty hand, He would show Pharaoh who was God. In fact, Pharaoh would go from refusing to let the people go, to driving them out of Egypt. God apparently had something big in store.

The Israelites would have to remain enslaved awhile longer. They would have to work and suffer and wait. They may not have understood why they had to go through difficulties or how God was going to redeem the situation. But the why and how didn’t matter. God was on His way. God’s redeeming outstretched arm and His mighty acts of judgment would bring freedom that they had never ever known.

The same is true with us. When life is difficult, when we don’t understand, when our hearts are heavy, God is still on His way. His mighty hand is at work; His outstretched arm is redeeming and making all things new.

Today may be a tough day. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have hope for tomorrow.