Read the full story of God's calling for Moses and his journey out of Egypt here (Exodus chapters 2-14)
Abraham’s descendants settled down in Egypt after Joseph (Abraham's great-grandson) and his family moved there because of a famine. 400 years passed. As their population increased, Egypt began to see them as a threat. So Egypt made them into slave labour and killed all baby Hebrew boys.
Moses was born at this time. But his sister hid him in the river Nile and Pharaoh 's daughter saved him. The name Moses means 'pulled from the water.' He was adopted into Pharaoh's family and brought up in the royal courts. It was clearly God's plan. But God’s plan seemed to be on the brink of disaster. God's people became slaves! All seemed hopeless, yet God heard the cry of His people (Exodus 3:7-10) and He had a plan.
The Burning Bush
Moses lived as a shepherd for 40 years. Was there any purpose in his life? When Moses was 80 years old, he saw a strange vision on Mount Sinai with a bush that burned, yet was not burned up. The Angel of the Lord called out to Moses. He said He had seen the misery of the people and heard their cry, and He would rescue them and bring them back into their own land. God asked Moses to confront Pharaoh and lead the people out into the desert to worship God. Moses really did not want to. How can an old shepherd who couldn't speak well convince Pharaoh to let his slaves go free? Yet God asked him, "Who made your mouth?" He promised Moses He would be with him.
Pharaoh refused to let the slaves go. God sent 10 plagues to Egypt: water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the killing of firstborn children. Each plague was meant to show to Pharaoh the power of God and His will.
The last one was a punishment from God on the rebellious nation. The Angel of the Lord would kill the firstborn of every Egyptian family and all their livestock, including Pharaoh's firstborn son.
This punishment was coming onto Egypt, just as one day we will all face God’s final judgement. Yet God provided a way of escape for people who listened to God.
God's people were to take a male lamb, a perfect one, kill it and wipe the blood on the doorposts of each house. Then they were to roast and eat the flesh of the animal. When the Angel of the Lord saw the blood, he would ‘pass over’ that house and the people inside would be safe from death. They found shelter under the blood of the lamb. The Passover became a festival people celebrate to remember how God had spared them from death.
The blood of the lamb that covers God's people
So here in the Torah, written about 3500 years ago, we discover an eternal truth. How can we be free from our sin? How can we face God's judgement? An atonement, a sacrifice, is needed. Blood is to be shed for the forgiveness of sins. And this 'lamb' can only be provided by God. The Passover is God’s way of dealing with our problem of sin. It also points to a future, permanent solution through the Messiah (the Anointed One), as promised by God Himself. The Passover shows us that salvation involves a sacrifice of a lamb and shedding of its blood, a life for a life. It also shows us difficult circumstances do not stop God from carrying out His plan for our lives. He always provides what is needed for us to get close to Him.
1. How easy is it for me to close my heart against the voice of God?
2. What does God reveal about Himself and His relationship with His people in this reading?
3. How would you respond to God?
4. Who can you share this story with?
Watch the story here with an overview of God's calling for Moses and the Passover