The flu bug overtook our household this week for a second time this year. The fever, the chills, the body aches and bathroom breaks are terrible to deal with but even worse is seeing your children get sick. Nothing will grow a parent’s prayer life than a child’s sickness.
Uniquely, God has a way of bringing to light His word through our current circumstances. I’m thinking of never preaching on the Exodus Plagues again! But seriously, I cannot imagine the thoughts, concerns, worries, stress and fear that went through the minds & hearts of the Israelites and Egyptians during the 10 plagues. It makes me wonder how people go through life without God – with no one who can bring deliverance; with no one who can identify with their weaknesses and who has true power to bring about change; with no one to promise eternal hope on the horizon. Today’s message will observe God’s power through the Passover event.
EXAMINE “Deliverance After Midnight” Exodus 12
Passover was full of punishment (Exodus 11:1-6).
God was sending Moses to announce judgment upon the Egyptians. The 10 plagues were each attacking Egyptian objects of worship (gods). The plague of blood defeated the river gods of the Nile; the locusts defeated the gods of harvest; the darkness defeated the sun & sky gods. The Creator God took the Egyptian gods ‘9rounds’ with every round won by the Lord without contest (cf. 12:12).
The Creator God (Yahweh) has seen the affliction of His people and is redeeming them out of slavery to pagan Egyptians. Each plague was a megaphone warning to Pharaoh to repent and release the Israelites or face stricter judgment. Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he ignored God.
The last plague was the most felt to free the Israelites. Every firstborn in the land of Egypt died; from Pharaoh’s child to a slave’s child and even unto an animal’s firstborn. There will be a national outcry and weeping like never before in all of Egypt. In this plague, the punishment will have reached its climax to show the power of God over all creation including over life and death. For the Egyptians, the clock’s strike of midnight was full of misery.
Is your midnight near?
Our darkest hours are after midnight. Daylight is fully removed and darkness is in full effect. Midnight symbolizes mystery and sometimes misery. Today, I am unsure of when your midnight will come. I am unsure of whether your midnight will be a mystery or a misery. However, I am sure that midnight will be upon you sooner than you think. And the closer you get to midnight the greater you will need to know the one who can deliver you from midnight; the One whom can transform darkness into light. Only the hope of the resurrection can vanquish midnight.
Israel escaped most of the plagues. God wanted to show Pharaoh his power to distinguish between the Egyptians and the Israelites; between judgment and mercy. And so, while punishment came upon the Egyptians it came upon Israel too but in a different manner. The reality is that no one escapes God’s judgment, no one is deserving of God’s mercy. Yet, God punished Israel through a substitute – a sacrificial lamb. God was not just teaching a lesson to Egypt but to Israel too
Hebrews 9:22 “Indeed, under the law, almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
Today, we all deserve the punishment of Pharaoh but God offers us a Passover Lamb in Jesus Christ (1Cor 5:7). He is our propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for the forgiveness of sin and removal of God’s wrath (Romans 3:25).
The Passover meal was given to the Israelites (12:1) IN EGYPT BEFORE SINAI – God’s covenant was based on grace not law.
Passover was full of participation (Exodus 12:1-13)
The last plague was not just the climax of all other plagues, but also the commencement of a nation. “The Lord” [Yahweh] was calling Israel together as a “congregation” – a people for God’s possession (cf. 6:7). Every person of every household of every Israelite was to participate in this sacrificial lamb.
12:14 The Passover would become a memorial feast to the Lord throughout all generations.
The meal included
1) A lamb without blemish (12:5)
Moses would speak about sacrifices later saying in Leviticus 22:19-22 “if it is to be accepted for you it shall be a male without blemish, of the bulls or the sheep or the goats. You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the LORD or give them to the LORD as a food offering on the altar.”
2) Blood of lamb over the doorposts of each house (12:7)
The blood shall be a sign for the Lord to “pass over” and protect you from death (12:13).
3) Unleavened Bread (12:8)
Bread without yeast because the Israelites had to operate in haste to flee Egypt.
4) Bitter Herbs (12:8)
Later this would stand to remind the Israelites of the bitterness of slavery
Today this meal also includes
5) Salt water to remind Israelites of tears in suffering from captivity. Life without redemption is tearful.
6) Paste substance or Charosheth to remind Israelites of their making bricks during slavery
7) 4 cups of wine to remind Israelites of four promises in Exodus 6:6-7 “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and  I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and  I will deliver you from slavery to them, and  I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.7  I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Jesus calls for radical participation – LET’S WORSHIP & CELEBRATE HIS LIFE BEFORE COMMUNION
John 6:35, 53-56 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’… “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
Communion – FOR GOD’S PEOPLE
Bread (Romans 3:21-26)
Seder Passover, piece of bread is broken and hidden for children to find. At end of meal (afikomen – dessert) children find it for each person to eat. As Christians, we know that redemption only comes from that which is broken, hidden (buried) and then revealed (resurrected).
Cup (Romans 5:6-11)
End of meal, someone asked, “Why is this night different from other nights?” The host would recount exodus story. Believers called to continue telling the story of God’s DELIVERANCE AFTER MIDNIGHT