In Exodus He's the Passover Lamb
Exodus 1:2-4, 5b
A (very) Brief Summary
There were a lot of events that happened in the whole of Exodus. Some of those events include Pharaoh's daughter raising Moses as her own son, Moses fleeing to Midian, Moses encountering "I Am" in the burning bush and Moses returning to Egypt to be used of God to deliver the Hebrew children from their enslavement by the Egyptians.
Moses was born in a time when the children of Israel started to greatly increase in number. The Egyptian pharaoh feared these great numbers because he thought that perhaps the Israelites would ally themselves with the enemies of Egypt and therefore wage war against the pharaoh and against Egypt. By the time Moses was actually born, the pharaoh had issued an edict that all Hebrew baby boys were to be killed to prevent the prophesied and hoped for deliverer of the Hebrew children. Jochebed, Moses' mother, hid him in a basket and set the basket onto the Nile River in order that his life might be saved and/or spared. The pharaoh's sister, Bithia, is the woman who drew Moses out of his basket on the Nile and adopted him as her own son. Moses then grew up in the wealth and comfort of Egyptian royalty. At some point in time, Moses killed an Egyptian slave master, and in saving his life, fled to Midian. It is here, in Midian, that Moses marries Zipporah, and they have a son, Gerhsom. It is also at this point that God calls to Moses.
A burning bush?
Exodus 3:1-4--"Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, 'I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up.' "
I'm trying to picture this man, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 years old (give or take), tending his sheep on a sunny afternoon. Maybe he let the flock wander a little further than he used to. Maybe his curiosity got the better of him. He sees this fire up on the mountain and goes to investigate. His eyes take in a sight that could be considered strange; a bush on fire but not burning. Once he picked his jaw up off the ground and got his bearings, he was able to hear a voice calling to him. God had a divine purpose for Moses, and when Moses stilled his heart, that purpose was revealed to him. It's the same with us, when we learn how to still our hearts, we can then hear God speaking to us.
Moses was chosen by God to deliver the Hebrew children out of their time of slavery. And Moses did exactly what we all tend to do when God gives a set of instructions to carry out. Moses argued with God; "They won't believe me, God." So, God shows His miraculous nature to Moses in the form of turning Moses' staff into a serpent. Then God had Moses put a hand inside his cloak, and when Moses did and withdrew his hand, his hand was as a leper's hand. When God instructed Moses again to put his hand inside his cloak and then take it out again, Moses' hand was restored. "But, Lord, I am not an eloquent speaker. I stutter and the people will make fun of me." But God informed Moses that it was He who created man and allowed man to speak; that it was He who would give the words that Moses needed to say. "Please, God, I love you and all; but, please, send someone else to do it." Now God was starting to become irritated with Moses; but, told Moses that Aaron, brother of Moses, would be his aid.
Are we not like Moses? "God, I can't do this. It's just too hard." "God, please, I'm busy today; can't someone else take my place?" "God, I just don't want to do this. The people would think me silly." There is not an excuse that you can use that God has not already heard. And there is not an answer that God can ever give that can ever be refuted. Where God sends, go. What God says, do.
Once Moses is in back in Egypt, he seeks an audience with Pharaoh. It was not a good first meeting, and in fact, in led to the order for the Hebrew children to make their bricks without straw. If they wanted the straw for making their bricks, they would have to go glean the straw for themselves. The brick quote, however, was not to fall below their current quota. The Israelites got mad at Moses and Aaron, and, in turn, Moses turned to the Lord. "See, Lord, I told you." God said, "Now, it's time."
The First Nine (9) Plagues
We have, in order...
- The Plague of Blood: With Moses' staff, Aaron stretched his hand over the waters of Egypt, causing the waters to become as blood. However, Pharaoh's magicians did the same, and Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrew children go.
- The Plague of Frogs: Once again, with Moses' staff, Aaron stretched his hand over the waters of Egypt and frogs came out of the waters and covered the whole land of Egypt.
- The Plague of Gnats: And again, with Moses' staff, Aaron stretched his hand and then struck the dirt with it, and all the dust in the whole of Egypt became gnats. The gnats got into everything...all over man and beast alike.
- The Plague of Flies: Now the Lord is going to start making a distinction between Goshen, where the Hebrew children lived, and Egypt. Dense swarms of flies flew into Pharaoh's palace and into all the houses and living places of the Egyptians.
- The Plague on Livestock: All of the livestock in all Egypt, minus those belonging to the Israelites, died.
- The Plague of Boils: Moses took a handful of furnace ash and tossed it into the air; just a handful. As soon as Moses did so, there appeared boils on the Egyptians and on their animals. No boils festered on any Israelite.
- The Plague of Hail: This was the worst storm to have ever hit the land of Egypt. Hail stones his the people and the animals. It stripped trees and destroyed every living thing in the fields. The land of Goshen was, however, safe.
- The Plague of Locusts: Locusts invaded all of Egypt and settled in every area of the country. The ground has a blackness to it for the amount of locusts that covered it. The locusts, doing what locusts do, fed on and devoured everything within their paths. No animals, crops, trees, etc. belong to the Hebrew children were infested with these dreaded locusts.
- The Plague of Darkness: Total darkness. Absolute darkness. One could not even see his or her hand in front of his or her face. Yet, the Israelites had light.
The Plague of the Firstborn
Exodus 11:1--"Now the Lord had said to Moses, 'I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely."
Exodus 11:4-8--"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. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt-worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal." Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel."
Exodus 12:29-30--"At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead."
Exodus 12:40--"Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt."
And the rest, is as they say, history. Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea, on dry land. Later, Moses and the whole Israelite community arrived at Mt. Sinai where Moses was given the Ten Commandments, along with all the other laws that the Israelites were instructed to obey; laws concerning the building of the Tent of Meeting, how the High Priest should be dressed, what animals to sacrifice and when, what festivals to celebrate, how to live holy lives.
In Leviticus, He's our High Priest.
Leviticus means "relating to the Levites". It is the tribe of Levi, the Levites, who become the appointed priests for the nation of Israel. In my next blog in the series of our journey through the Bible, we will explore some of the regulations and duties the priests were to carry out. I look forward to it, as I hope all of you do as well.