Today's reading was 430 years in the making for those who lived it. For them this was the culmination of generation after generation of toil and heartache at the hands of foreigners. I can't even imagine the amount of fear mixed with excitement and the anticipation of the unknown that was to come. It had to have felt like a dream for these people. A dream where they kept pinching themselves to make sure that it was real. There are several aspects to todays reading that really excite me. (and get me thinking a little bit). For starters can you imagine what this "exodus" looked like. Here we see the original million man march and it was indeed a freedom march. It says that there were 600,000 men (that is not counting women and children) who left Egypt that night, and all of them had to be ready at a moments notice. If there was anything that they probably knew how to do it was wait. But for them they had no idea what they were waiting for. ( a bright light, a big boom, fire from the sky, the voice of God... again the anticipation must have been almost mind numbing.)
A group of that size doesn't just get up and go so that in and of itself is pretty amazing. Think of it this way. It would be something close to the entire population of Idaho deciding to leave for Oregon tomorrow. And then doing it. WOW.
The other thing that I think is so cool is that God doesn't just say get ready to move but he tells them to sit down and have a special meal. Sit down and celebrate what is about to happen and the way that you are going to do this is something that I want you to do each year so that you will never forget what the Lord your God did here. Here again we see this all too important task come to the forefront. God is saying: "Don't Forget...Pass it on...Make sure your children know...Remember"
I can tell you this, If I had been there I probably would have questioned the sit down and have a feast command. I am a little to OCD when it comes to packing up and making sure we are ready to go when we go somewhere. I would have been the one suggesting, "Hey, can we stop by Pyramid Burger on the way out of town, I really don't have time to cook a meal, and besides I still have to hit up the neighbors for some of their things?"
But this meal was so much more than a meal. The passover is something that is still celebrated to this day. Everything about this meal is intentional and points future generations to the events that took place at this point in history. It involved what they saw, what they tasted, what they heard, and what they felt; by the cost of it and the result, it is to be an experience of their own as much as it was an experience for their fathers, and their fathers fathers.
The Passover also has huge implications for what we see in Christ as he is offered up on the cross for our sins. He is the pure and spotless lamb that is slain for our sakes. For our FREEDOM. That is what the passover points to; Freedom. The connections between the passover and the death of Christ are many and well worth studying and understanding.
Finally, if I may, one other aspect of todays reading that was amazing to me was thinking about the excitement that must have been felt, among the people,about going to the "promised land". Again it would have been an electric type of atmosphere thinking about the future and asking questions like; what it was going to look like, how long would it take to get there, If God had done all this here what did he have prepared for when we arrive. (which would have been ironic to ask knowing what we know about their desert wanderings and grumblings)
But thats not the point I want to make. The point I want to make is that God did not forget his people and he did not forget his promises/covenant to Abraham. 430 years is a very very long time. (The United States of American as only been around for 236 years.) Remember what it was that God told Abe on that starry night? He told him that he would have children as numerous as the stars in heavens or the sand on the seashore. But he also promised him every piece of land that he set his foot upon. A land that was set apart for him and his descendants, a land that was flowing with milk and honey. And both of those promises were yet unrealized when he died. And they were closer but still yet unrealized with his son and grandson's families.
But think about what happened during those 430 years of slavery. God showed himself to be true to his word. Even despite a kings edict to kill all the israelite boys and despite other seemingly huge roadblocks to seeing a people multiply, a nation was born in that foreign land. The first part of the covenant God had promised to his people had been realized and they were going to be hitting the road to take the other part of it very soon. What an exciting time.
What I want to encourage you with today is that even when things seem completely out of order and there seems to be no hope on the horizon in the here and now. God has not lost control of things, He hasn't been taking a nap and even when things seem dark, He is still there. He is still working. He is still sovereign. He is still worthy.
We may not even know it but our "tomorrow" could literally be tomorrow. I am guessing that with all that was happening in the days leading up to leaving, many of the Israelites were probably a little shell shocked that it was actually happening but they did what they could to be ready anyway. The Bible tells us that they were ready to go at a moments notice. The question I would pose is this. Are we really "ready to go at a moment's notice" when it comes to what God is doing in our lives and what he is asking us to do in our lives? Are we living in such a way that even when the world seems to be spinning out of control we are trusting in God and ready to follow his lead, trusting that he knows the way and that he has a plan? I promise you there is not better place in all of the earth to be than in the middle of God's plan and will for our lives, committing to be "ready to go" and finding the freedom that comes from trusting and following him.