The Feast of Unleavened Bread
You’ve heard the sermon text read and you’re not looking forward to hearing the same thing preached now that we just heard just four sermons ago. While I was reading, I saw you flipping back to chapter 12 and I heard you mutter, “We just read the same thing in verses 14-20. I mean, there are some differences, but why does the Lord keep repeating the same things?”
Next time, don’t mutter so loudly because all of that muttering is going to sound like a plane flying overhead when I put the sermon on You Tube. I hear you. I hear you. And I can almost sympathize with you. I read the Bible front to back once a week or so for a couple years when I owned an import business down the road.
The repetition would make me wonder what was up. Why does the Bible keep saying the same things? Well, there are quite a few reasons. One is that these repetitions often form amazing poetic patterns. Some of you are aware of them – chiasms, parallelism, and so on.
They are useful tools for memorization. They are also a way of revealing wisdom which says, “These words aren’t arbitrary. There is design behind them.” Scholars who say the Bible is merely a hodgepodge of people adding things in over time must shut up when such patterns are revealed by those who find them.
The repetition also can show the advancement of a thought either through time or in depth. In time, sometimes something is said, and then it is stated later in the order of the Bible, but when researched, it is found to be a part of something that actually happened at a different time where it aligns with the previous thought.
Thus there are inserts between repetitions which develop a theme for a specific purpose. In depth, repetitions are often used to build a theme in a different way. Information is given, and then information is repeated with slight changes or additions.
Thus a command or a precept may start out simple and grow into something more detailed. As an example, you could write a story about an annual celebration called The Beach Party. Friends get together and they celebrate it each year. When writing the story about it, the author wants to develop the theme and so he writes –
“In 2015 we all went to the beach and had a great time. While we were there, we took a lot of pictures, but unfortunately none of the pictures survived the party.”
Some time later in the story, we read, “In 2015, while at the party on the beach, everyone took photos with their own cameras. It was a great time, but we felt bad about losing the memories because none of the pictures in any of the cameras could be saved.”
This type of addition on the same theme develops the idea. When we get to the reason for the loss of pictures, it all becomes clear. “At the end of the party in 2015, everyone posed for a group picture. All the cameras were set on a timer and everyone posed together. As each camera clicked the photo, the camera stopped working. We realized that Charlie had snuck into the photo and his appearance caused all the cameras to break. Thanks a lot Charlie.”
The Lord also develops ideas through repetition and addition at times. We see this in similar and yet somewhat contrasting accounts in the gospels quite clearly. When the stories are combined, a whole picture is realized.
And then of course, there is the fact that we have hard heads. Repetition is often used to beat into our heads a precept, a command, or a doctrine which is of unusual importance. Repetition is one key to memory retention. I’ll say it again – repetition is one key to memory retention. Should I say it again?
All this opening to tell you that this passage is similar to that of Exodus 12, but it also has differences. It has been given to show us a sequence of events, the development of a concept – specifically the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it has been given to hopefully help us to remember what we have heard a little better.
For these and certainly other reasons, we will take our time and go through these verses in detail. In fact, I have planned to preach this exact same sermon next week too, just to make sure you remember it. Ok… that’s not true. You can get that horrified look off your face.
Text Verse: “Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the instruction of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And besides, there were added to them many similar words.” Jeremiah 36:32
The Lord had Jeremiah write a scroll with words of judgment against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations. When he did, the scroll was taken to the king of Judah who heard it read. While it was being read, he cut off the portions that were read and threw them into the fire.
Eventually, the Lord instructed Jeremiah to recite the same words to his scribe again and add more words into them. Thus the Lord developed a theme for the king of Judah whether he listened or not. The account is also recorded for us. Even though we only have the one account, we can mentally discern the repetition of the words of Jeremiah.
A theme was developed through this repetition. It has become a memorable passage that is actually hard to forget – if not the details, at least the overall thought which was relayed. When you see repetitions in the Bible, don’t let them trouble you. Rejoice in them. Seek to find out why they are there and what the Lord is trying to tell you.
We’ll do just that today with the instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is a feast which has already been partly described and it will be mentioned a few more times in the books of Moses. Each time, something new will come out for us to see.
What a wonder is His superior word. It’s waiting there for us to open it and check it out! And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Consecrate to Me All the Firstborn (verses 1-4)
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
As happens from time to time, the words, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying…” are set off as their own verse. Normally they are combined with the first thought spoken afterwards, but for whatever reason, they are occasionally made to be their own verse.
As I believe that even verse divisions are inspired, one reason for this could be to have the chapter be a verse longer than it otherwise would have been, thus making some numerical pattern. Or, for whatever other reason, these words are set off by themselves, begging for us to prepare for what lies ahead and also to reflect on the when and where of their utterance.
The first words are v’dabber – “and spoke.” The word “then” is the translator’s preference for clarity, and it appears acceptable because verse 3 will tell us a time-frame in relation to the words. It is after the departure from Rameses. The “where” of this passage then is certainly at Succoth as was seen in chapter 12 –
“Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.” Exodus 12:37
There at Succoth then, the Lord now conveys his message to Moses. “He who draws out” has lived up to his name, having drawn out his flock from their home of 215 years and onto a journey towards the Land of Promise via Sinai. This would be in fulfillment of Exodus 3:12 –
“I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12
2 “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel,
The first directive of the Lord after the Passover and their subsequent departure from bondage is to “consecrate” to the Lord all the firstborn. Thus it is specifically based on the Passover. “Firstborn” is the word bekor and based on the context it indicates a firstborn male.
The words “whatever opens” are translated from the word peter – It is the first of 12 times it will be seen in the Old Testament, all in Exodus and Numbers with one exception found in Ezekiel 20:26. It indicates a firstling, open, or such as opens, and can indicate either children or animals. It comes from the verb patar – to open, remove, or set free.
The two words together in this one verse are explained by Harris, Archer, and Waltke –
“Regarding the institution of primogeniture in the OT, there are two distinct conceptions. First, there is a socio-legal one which assigns special responsibilities to the first male of the paternal line (bekor). Second there is a cultic conception which assigns special responsibilities to the first male issue of the maternal line (peter). This one is dedicated to God. If it is a sacrificial animal it must be sacrificed. Otherwise, the firstborn must be redeemed.” HAW
This verse is given now, in connection with the delivery of the people from both the death which occurred in Egypt and from Egypt itself. The firstborn was saved by the blood of the lamb and so the directions are given for their consecration in accord with that. However, this can’t be all that is tied up in this.
The reason why is that all of Israel was delivered through the death of the firstborn of Egypt and the saving of the firstborn of Israel. In Exodus 4:22, the Lord called the whole nation of Israel “My son, My firstborn.” Israel’s election as God’s people was a prerequisite for the exemption of the death of the firstborn through the blood of the lamb.
It must be then that the firstborn is declared as belonging to the Lord as representative of the entire nation of people. In this, we can see the Lord Jesus once again. He is the true Firstborn who is the representative of all of God’s people.
Another reason Israel is given these instructions just as they depart is so that it will be a memorial of the historical account, firmly to be fixed in the collective mind of Israel. Of course, it is ultimately given to show us a picture of Christ, the Lamb who died to deliver His people from bondage.
When Jesus was born, Luke is careful to show that He was so consecrated to the Lord –
“Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’).” Luke 2:22, 23
2 (con’t) both of man and beast; it is Mine.”
It needs to be understood that the firstborn who opens the womb of the mother is speaking of a male. If a female had a female first and then later a male, that male was not considered devoted to God because it wasn’t the firstborn. Also, if it was a male that came first, from the woman, it was considered the firstborn of the mother, even if the father had other males from other wives.
This firstborn was not the property of the parents, but of God. If a human, it was to be presented to God and then redeemed. If it was an animal then other directives were to be followed. These will be explained later in this chapter, and then further refined after that.
Because the firstborn was considered the representative of the whole, this setting apart the firstborn is then a picture of the Lord who represents all of His people who are now, like Israel was under the Old Testament, to be considered the firstborn of God. The author of Hebrews gives us the words of this confirmation –
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24
3 And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day
These words show us that the passage was spoken to Moses at Succoth on the first day of the Exodus after their arrival and settling in. It is the 15th of the month and he in turn instructs the people zakhor eth ha’yom hazzeh – “Remember the day (the) this.”
3 (con’t) in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage;
It is literally “the house of slavery.” The people were slaves and now they were free. To understand the picture in the greater panorama of redemptive history, we can go to the words of Jesus in John to see how this delivery of Israel from Egypt only mirrors man’s delivery from sin as accomplished by Christ –
“Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34, 35
Paul explains what occurred in detail in the book of Romans. In chapter 6, he gives this explanation –
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:5-11
If we can keep mentally inserting Christ and the church into the overall exodus account, we can really get a good grasp of the marvel of what Jesus did for us. We were in bondage and Christ drew us out from it.
3 (con’t) for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place.
The term “strength of hand” uses the noun form khozeq of the more traditional verb or adjective form khazaq. This noun is only used 5 times in the Bible and three of them are in Exodus 13. The term here is more emphatic than when the verb or adjective is used.
It is always used in the sense of military or conquering prowess. In these three uses in Exodus 13, it is always used in connection with a plural pronoun. We are being given reminders that it is by the hand of the Lord from which our collective deliverance comes.
But the collective is made up of individuals which make up the whole. And so it is a reminder of our own state before Him. We are saved by His grace and not our own works. There is no boasting in what we have done because everything has been accomplished by Him for His people.
And because of this, specific directions are given…
3 (con’t) No leavened bread shall be eaten.
As a memorial of the work of the Lord and the hasty departure from Egypt, there was no leaven bread eaten. It is again a picture of our position in Christ. In his explanation of our deliverance from sin, Paul told us that as Christ died once for all to sin, we should likewise reckon ourselves “to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:11
4 On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.
In Exodus 12:2, the Lord told Moses, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” The calendar of redemption was to begin at the time of the Passover and now that month’s name is given for the first time – Aviv.
The word Aviv is used only eight times in the Bible, all in the books of Moses. Six times it is used to describe the month and twice to describe fresh ears of grain. It means “greenness” or “fresh” and it indicates fresh young ears of barley grain which come forth at this time of year.
In the Bible, this will continue to be the first month of the sacred or religious calendar, but eventually it will be known as Nissan, using the Aramaic name instead of the Hebrew name. As a mark of grace upon Israel, this month was selected because according to JFB –
“It was the best season for undertaking a journey to the desert region of Sinai, especially with flocks and herds; for then the winter torrents had subsided, and the wadies were covered with an early and luxuriant verdure.” Jamieson-Faucett-Brown
It is the time of year when it is not too hot and not too cold. Instead it would be the perfect weather for the trip.
The Firstborn of the womb is Mine, He in place of all
For all in My flock have been redeemed in reality
The Firstborn is set apart according to My call
Of your own redemption it is a reminder constantly
In My church the Lamb died as your holy Substitute
But He was also the Firstborn of His mother’s womb
And He the Firstborn over all of creation, righteousness He does impute
Because He was also the Firstborn from the tomb
Because of Him you have come to Mount Zion
And to the city of the living God
You are the church of the firstborn, who I keep My eye on
I shall watch over you always as in My presence you trod
II. Seven Days You Shall Eat Unleavened Bread (verses 5-7)
5 And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites,
When God promised the land to Abraham in Genesis 15, ten people groups were mentioned. In Exodus 3, when the Lord first spoke to Moses, six people groups were mentioned. Now only five are mentioned. At other times, seven or eight are mentioned.
It isn’t certain why the names are stated sometimes and overlooked at other times, but God has His reasons, even if they aren’t plainly evident. In the end though, the general word “Canaanite” is used as a metaphor for all of the descendants of Ham who occupied the land of Canaan.
In the words now, it is taken as a foregone conclusion that the Lord will, in fact, bring them into the land of Promise.
5 (con’t) which He swore to your fathers to give you,
The land was originally promised to Abraham. Isaac was the inheritor of that right, and from him Jacob was given this promise. From Jacob, all of the sons of Israel, including his two adopted sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were included in the inheritance.
God swore and now He is ready to fulfill the promise that was originally made over 400 years earlier.
5 (con’t) a land flowing with milk and honey,
This is the third of 20 times that this expression will be used in the Bible. The last time will be in Ezekiel 20 where it is also called “the glory of all lands.” A land flowing with milk and honey implies richness and fertility.
Milk comes from cows and so it means there will be abundant pasture lands. Honey comes from bees which pollinate flowers and so it implies all sorts of fruit trees, herbs, and flowers. Deuteronomy 8:7-10 describes the land –
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.”
One more point about the term “a land flowing with milk and honey” is that it isn’t just speaking of the physical abundance of the land, but also of the spiritual abundance. It is the land of God’s word and the people through whom that word has come.
The word of God is said to be sweeter than honey. It is also equated with milk which nourishes. Thus, this is a reference to that as well. The Land would literally flow with milk and honey for sustaining Israel’s physical lives. It would also flow with milk and honey for sustaining their spiritual lives.
5 (con’t) that you shall keep this service in this month.
This is a close repeat of the words from Exodus 12:25 when the instructions for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were first given. Moses is repeating the instructions to the people now that their deliverance has come, to remind them of what was expected of them before it had occurred.
The first admonition was in expectation of deliverance; the second is given as confirmation that they have received it. The Lord promised and the Lord fulfilled. The first time, Moses instructed the elders, now he repeats the commandment for all the people.
6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread,
This is explicit. For seven days, unleavened bread was to be eaten. It doesn’t say “You may not eat bread with leaven for seven days.” Instead it says “Seven days you shall eat unleavend bread.” This is again repeated in Leviticus 23:6 and elsewhere.
It is not a negative command, which means that they could abstain from any bread as long as they didn’t partake in leavened bread. Instead it is a positive command. They were to eat unleavened bread during the entire feast. This goes in picture to what we should actually fulfill according to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians –
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8
Not only are we to not partake of sin, but we are to actively live our lives in “sincerity and truth.” It is not that we can abstain from the whole if we abstain from one; it is that we are to abstain from one while partaking in the other.
6 (con’t) and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord.
In Exodus 12:14, it said that the entire seven days was to be a feast to the Lord. Then in 12:16, it noted that both the first and the seventh days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to be “holy convocations.” On those days, no work was to be done. Now, in addition to that, another detail is given concerning the seventh day.
It is to specifically be a khag, or a “feast” to the Lord. Israel was to not merely abstain from work, but they were to actively celebrate the work of the Lord. The entire week was to be a feast, but the seventh day was to be a feast unto itself as a festive termination to the entire feast.
Some Christian scholars attempt to align the resurrection of Christ with the day that Israel was conducted through the Red Sea. However, this would not align with the table of stops recorded in Numbers 33. But, the Jewish calendar reckons this seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened bread as that day.
Accordingly, the final day of the Feast would be the day they passed through the waters of the Red Sea. The Bible is not specific that either is the case, but of the two, the Jewish tradition would be correct. And there is a reason for this which will be explained when we get to that passage.
7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days.
The mandate is repeated yet again. This is the fourth time in 2 chapters that they are not only told to “not eat” leavened bread, but that they are “to eat” unleavened bread. Again, this is a positive command in addition to the negatives that are given.
The repetition is not unnecessary, but rather it is critical to fully understanding the New Testament fulfillment of the feast. As we are “in Christ” we are to not only “not eat” of the bread of wickedness, but we are “to eat” of the bread of sincerity and truth.
Otherwise, our abstention from the first still leaves a void in what others see. It is not uncommon to see unsaved people avoid sin. If this is all that is seen in us, it doesn’t truly set us apart. Only when we act like Christ do we resemble the One who makes us Christians.
7 (con’t) And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.
And yet, the opposite is true as well. Not only are we to act in a positive manner, but we are also to refrain from negative actions. Just as no leaven was to be seen among the people of Israel during their feast, no leaven is to be seen among us in our life in Christ.
Holy and pure is how you are to conduct your life
Abstaining from all malice and from wicked ways
Keeping yourselves from backbiting and from strife
Instead, living out your lives properly all your days
Because you truly are unleavened in My eyes
Having called on Jesus, you are free from your sin debt
You reached out in your need and took hold of the prize
Receiving Jesus as your Savior, all My conditions met
Therefore, walk holy just as you are already reckoned
Walk in a manner worthy of your heavenly call
For you responded when My Spirit beckoned
Because My Son Jesus, has broken down the wall
III. As a Sign and as a Memorial (verses 8-10)
8 And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from Egypt.’
In Exodus 12, it was taken as a given that the children would ask what the memorial of the Passover service was for. In verse 26, it said –
“And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?'” Exodus 12:26
The same is implied here, after being fed unleavened bread for several days in a row, it would be natural to ask what was going on. The parents were to be ready with their answer. “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from Egypt.”
And one of the most common questions to faithful Christians from their children or those around them who don’t know of the works of the Lord is, “Why do you believe and act as you do?” The answer should be your testimony based on “What the Lord did for me when I came up from a life of sin and bondage.”
We are to remember His acts of goodness to us so that others may hear about them and believe what has really come about in our lives. They should be able to see a difference in who we were, who we are now, and how we are different than the world around us.
9 It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes,
In Matthew 23, Jesus speaks of the scribes and the Pharisees in a most negative light. His words equate their treatment of the common people with that of Pharaoh and Egypt towards Israel. He then notes their ostentatious displays of life, including the wearing of phylacteries. Here are His words concerning them –
“Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.” Matthew 23:3-8
The practice of wearing arm bands and phylacteries can be traced back to this verse and verse 16 of this same chapter which repeats and enlarges the thought given here. They and observant Jews to this day, have taken these words which contain a spiritual meaning and have given them a physical application.
They are externally worn symbols for others to see and fawn over. “Oh, look at those observant Jews. They must be the cat’s meow to God because of their obvious piety.” But what Moses says to the people was meant in an analogous way.
The words, “as a sign on your hand” are meant to show that the active obedience to the Lord through the observance of the mandated ritual was to be as evident as the hand accomplishing a feat. Anyone watching a person at work will see the hand as it a carries out its task.
The word “sign” is owth. It indicates something which points to something else. The observance is carried out to show obedience to the Lord who mandated the observance. When a person raises their hand in an oath, it is a sign of their faithfulness to the one in whose name the oath is taken. Thus, it is a sign of fealty to the one to whom they have pledged allegiance to.
The “memorial between your eyes” is the personal remembrance of the observance which then points to the personal obedience to the Lord who mandated it. Between the eyes is where the forehead is. It is the symbolic place of memory and it is also the symbolic place of acknowledging and avowing the Lord’s authority over the individual.
One makes the mental assent of being obedient to the Lord and thus a memorial is between the eyes at all times. It is as a personal seal to the higher authority. This verse and verse 16 have nothing to do with external badges of piety which others can see.
Instead, they have everything to do with actual accomplishments of allegiance which can be observed, and by which the individual attests to the authority of the one over him. This is borne out elsewhere in the Bible. Several passages in Proverbs use the same type of terminology as what Moses uses here –
Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart, Proverbs 3:3
My son, keep your father’s command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother.
21 Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck. Proverbs 6:20, 21
These proverbs, along with the fact that nowhere else in the Old Testament are phylacteries actually mentioned, show that the words here are to carry the same significance as a mark either branded or tattooed on the hand or on the forehead.
This then is in contradistinction to the mark of the beast which is found in Revelation 13:16. That is a mark of allegiance to the antichrist of the end times. That verse reads –
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16
The rejection of that mark is to be a mental assertion that one has allied himself with the Lord. Such an alliance with Him is not an external box upon the head or a wrapping upon the arm. Instead it is a rejection of the mark of the beast and is a sign and a memorial that they have received instead the authority of the Lord over them. All of this is verified in the next words of verse 9…
9 (con’t) that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth;
The sign on the hand and the memorial between the eyes is specifically connected to the fact “that the Lord’s law” would then be in “your mouth.” Nobody takes this portion of verse 9 literally. You just don’t see observant Jews walking around with scrolls of the Torah in their mouth.
To say that two physical applications then equates to one metaphorical application, or even one literal application where someone continuously repeats verses from the law, does injustice to the intent of the entire verse.
The hand is to act upon, and the mind is to contemplate, the feast so that the Lord’s law might be in the mouth of the observer. “This is what you are to do. You have seen it in my actions and my words now confirm that to you, dear son.”
9 (con’t) for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.
Again it is repeated that the Lord has accomplished the task. This time, instead of the noun form, “strength of hand,” it uses the adjective “strong hand.” It is as if we are being told in this verse that we were each in a pit and the Lord reached down and pulled us up out of it.
All were in the pit and he reached down, individually, and pulled us out until the whole group was safe. It is a touching note of a personal deliverance by which we have been saved. And because of this we have a personal obligation to respond…
*10 You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.
I should note that in verses 3 and 4, Moses spoke to the people using plural pronouns – in essence “you all.” But since verse 5, he has been speaking in singular pronouns. He opened his speech to the people as a whole, but he quickly made it a personal lesson for each individual.
Go back later and read these 8 verses again and you can then more fully grasp what this means. There has been a collective work of the Lord on behalf of His people. And with that came a collective command to be obedient to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And yet, there is an individual aspect to this feast as well.
If we look at the church, we can see the same concept. The Lord did a collective work for all of the people who would come to Him. It is He who performed the miracles. It is He who gave the signs. And it is He who did the work, dying for all on Calvary’s cross. As a church, we are responsible to observe our lives to Him.
And yet, there are individual responsibilities within that collective whole. His miracles, His signs, and His work were all on behalf of you… just you. Thus the admonitions to act in certain ways and to be responsible towards telling one’s child about His deliverance are a personal responsibility.
It doesn’t take a village to instruct our children. Instead, it takes our personal, individual lives which include our actions, our obedience, and our teaching about the Lord and His ways. What belongs to the collective church also belongs to the individual.
And the responsibility in each of us individually is to ensure that we act properly and within the confines of what the Lord has done individually and for us collectively. At the beginning of the sermon, I mentioned the similarity between the corresponding passage in Exodus 12. It was verses 12-20, but especially verses 14-20.
Those 7 verses were all addressed using plural pronouns. Despite seeming to be saying the same thing, they weren’t. That passage was written to the Superior Word… for all of our ears to collectively hear. The passage we’ve look at today has been mostly addressed to each person filling a seat… for all of our ears to individually hear.
Let’s pay heed to the word, collectively and individually, and let’s apply these lessons to our lives, ever striving to be truly unleavened – filled with sincerity and truth and putting behind us the leaven of Egypt – that of malice and wickedness.
And finally, as I do each week, I’d like to tell you in simple terms why Jesus came and how it is relevant to you. If you have never received Him as your Lord and Savior, it is the most important decision you could ever make….
Closing Verse: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6, 7
Next Week: Exodus 13:11-22 (Their Sign) (38th Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
“Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, to you I do tell
Whatever opens the womb, I am relaying
Among the children of Israel
Both of man and beast; it is Mine
This command you shall not decline
And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day
In which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage
For by strength of hand the Lord made the way
He brought you out of this place, all the assemblage
No leavened bread shall be eaten
On this day you are going out
In the month Abib
Is when your deliverance came about
And it shall be, when the Lord brings you
Into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites too
And the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites
Which He swore to your fathers to give you
A land flowing with milk and honey as I have said
That you shall keep this service in this month, as to my word
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread
And on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord
Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days
And no leavened bread shall be seen among you
Nor shall leaven be seen in any ways
Among you in all your quarters too
And you shall tell your son in that day
Saying, ‘This is done because of what came about
Of what the Lord did for me which I now relay
When I came up from Egypt; when He brought me out
It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and also
As a memorial between your eyes no doubt
That the Lord’s law may be in your mouth wherever you go
For with a strong hand out of Egypt the Lord has brought you out
You shall therefore keep this ordinance
In its season from year to year
When you from Egypt received your deliverance
And so in the Lord alone you shall fear
Great are the stories of the Lord
Of His mighty acts undertaken for His flock
Precious is the holy writ, His superior word
Let us read its contents and its mysteries unlock
Let us cherish it more than our necessary food
And share it with our children and their children as well
So that they too will be imbued
With the wisdom of the bubbling well
And Lord, direct our steps, keep us close to You always
And help us to fix our eyes on You alone all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…