|Series Theme: Meditations in Lessons from Israel|
Meditation No. 16
Meditation Title: God of Picture Teaching
Ex 12:1-3 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt , 2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
We are about to see something take place which becomes very common in following chapters and books – the Lord painting pictures to convey great truths for future generations. First of all in this chapter we are going to see historical events but these events involve very graphic teaching. This chapter is all about the Passover which involved the last of the ten plagues. Pharaoh has refused to listen to Moses and indeed after the previous one, the ninth plague, we find, “Pharaoh said to Moses, "Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die." (Ex 10:27,28). In other words he shut the door on Moses and would hear nothing more from him. He himself stopped the Lord giving him any more chances. So before Moses finally leaves Pharaoh's presence he brings one last word to him: “So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: `About midnight I will go throughout Egypt . Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.” (Ex 11:4,5) That is the final judgment on this people. That has been spoken and it will come to pass, but the way it comes to pass conveys a great truth through a very graphic means.
The picture starts with a lamb as our verses today show us: “on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.” (v.3) which is then described, i.e. its quality is laid down: “The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.” (v.5) i.e. young and in good condition; no getting rid of your old or scrawny ones! Next comes the instructions of what they are to do with these lambs or kids: “Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.” (v.6,7) That part is very significant in the light of what follows: “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt . I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (v.12,13) In other words the blood would only be there as the result of an act of faith on the part of the Israelites, but from God's side it would be a recognizable sign for the Lord's angel that these homes were indeed part of the faith community and should be left untouched.
Observe the picture: a lamb is slain as a means of averting the judgment of God. The killing of the lamb is an act of faith by those who want to be part of the people of God, who want God to deliver them out of a bad place into a good place. And then we come to the New Testament and find, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). Note the description of Jesus – the Lamb of God. Then at the Last Supper: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:28). Finally observe the description of Jesus before the throne in heaven in the book of Revelation: “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.” (Rev 5:6) and the song that was sung to him: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev 5:9). This is the work of Jesus, the Lamb of God, the One provided by God to act as the redeeming sacrifice so that the judgment of God would be averted.
How do we become those who escape the judgment of God that comes on all sin? We put to death the Lamb, God's prescribed means of us being forgiven and cleansed of our sin. We declare, Jesus died for me; I believe in him as my redeemer, my lamb, who takes away my sin and averts the judgment of God for me. That is the power of the picture here in Exodus – the Passover – it saved them from the angel of judgment and so now today THE Lamb saves me from the angel of judgment! In many places in Scripture we come across many such pictures which we sometimes refer to as ‘types'. The Passover was a type, or picture, of the salvation that comes through Jesus. We will no doubt see many more of these ‘types' before we finish these studies in the lesson learnt from observing Israel with God.