Passover- (Pesach) One of the three pilgrimage festivals.
“But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, His inheritance, as you are this day.” (Deuteronomy 4:20)
This profound biblical definition will only mean something to those who have an understanding or appreciation of what it means to be a slave. Without a genuine connection with the experience of slavery, it is all too simple to throw off such experiences as past events that have no relevance to today.
The reason some may say this is possibly linked to the attitudes of our modern culture. A culture which has, and continues to shape the way our society perceives the world around it. For example, where communities or families once prayed for favorable weather so that their crops would grow and provide much needed food for homes, we now abandon prayer and take the matter into our own hands. We rely on genetically modified seed that withstand the harshest of climates. We regularly frequent fast food chains who give us quick meals on the cheap. our first solution to any minor ill is a pill which has no guarantee of resolving the problem but we accept it as the answer. Scientific experimentation, based on theories and unknown long term side effects replace the need for prayer at most levels of need. Therefore, we have a tendency to think that we have no need of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, until something catastrophic happens to us.
In Deuteronomy 4:20, Moses is reminding ex-slaves to remember who it was that brought their term as slaves to an end. He carefully, reminds them of the past and cautions them not to be tempted to think that the metaphysical, creatures, humans or solar systems have anything to do with their freedom. After all, the stars were created as part of humanities heritage and the creatures as part of humanities domain.
The reason for their deliverance was because God (YHWH) had made a covenant with Israel. A covenant that goes all the way back to Abraham. Through Abraham’s descendants all the nations of the Earth would be blessed.
As we enter into Passover (Pesach, as it is referred to in the Hebrew scriptures), there are Jewish families around the World who will be telling their children about the day that the God of Israel smashed open the iron furnace and set 600,000 people besides their children free. They will tell the story of how Egypt’s attempts to maintain its grip on its workforce, (both young and old) was overruled by God’s word.
Each home was instructed to take the blood of an unblemished lamb and to place it around the opening / entrance to their homes. The lamb would then be prepared by the family and shared with a neighbor if need should arise. As for the bread, no leaven was to be used because their exit would be swift and sure. No time for delays.
Passover’s Relevance For Today.
The Exodus account forms the bedrock of today’s Passover celebrations. It marks the beginning of answer to prayer. Prayer that went on for years. Those that were present had no science or a “name it and claim it” theology. But it was evidently the intervention of their God that tipped the balance. So much so, that even citizens of Egypt from various cultural origins decided it was better to go with Israel than to stay and rebuild Egypt. Exodus 12:38 describes them as a mixed multitude in the New King James.
So Passover has major significance for all of us. Devoid of bunny rabbits and eggs we are reminded to keep it real. Israel were delivered by God in the Hebrew scriptures. But guess what, He had to do the same again centuries later. Not because He had forgotten to cover His plan or He had missed out an important detail, but because Israel’s descendants and the descendants of the mixed multitude had forgotten.
By the time Yeshua (Jesus) was sent by His Father to become a Passover lamb, to restore a broken nation back to a place of right relationship with God, the influences of other nations and belief systems had taken hold. The very essence of what Israel as a people were taught from Sinai onwards had been impacted by political, economic and pagan mindsets that had come from other nations who did not know or believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yeshua’s stance was, “through Me you can know my Father (Abba) again.”
Our joining with Israel in celebrating Passover is neither odd or abstract from today’s biblical faith. We also celebrate the fact that, without this amazing deliverance of an enslaved people none of us in this technological age would have any idea of prayer and how to depend on the Creator. As with most things, we would simply forget.
Abba is reminding us all to remember how and when deliverance came about, and reminds us not to forget that sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus) is not separate to the deliverance in Exodus. It is part of the same story and part of the same plan. As non-Jews in the 21st Century, we have been given the privilege of joining the story in the final chapter.
Finally, the iron furnace was designed for one thing. Genocide. This abominable idea usually enters the mind of an individual who believes that there is no power greater than theirs. For example, Pharaoh convinced himself that God was not in charge. After all, Pharaoh was a ‘god’ to his people. However, the evidence proved otherwise. He was human! His attempts to bring a thriving nation (Israel) under control in case of an uprising failed (Exodus 1:12). His attempts to abort the children were thwarted (Exodus 1:15-21). So he resorted to murdering every male child by having them drowned (Exodus 1:22) in the River Euphrates. Pharaoh’s outcome would be worse than Israel’s years of slavery and loss. He would be left bankrupt and without an heir.
Let’s also remember, having no faith or belief in the God of Abraham, Israel and Jacob does not mean that He doesn’t exist.
Be blessed and have a great Passover celebration. (1Corinthians 5:7; 11:23-26)