Following Moses' birth and calling comes a confrontation between God and Pharaoh. Moses, speaking on behalf of the Lord, is a central figure throughout their interactions. In the most potent display of God's power since the creation account, God uses supernatural acts, called plagues, to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelite people go. On multiple occasions, Pharaoh's heart is hardened and he refuses to allow the people to leave and worship the Lord. This back and forth between God's plagues and Pharaoh's refusal to release the Israelites culminates in the Passover, during the tenth and final plague.
In the Passover, God turns Pharaoh's actions against him. As Pharaoh once attempted to kill all the Israelite baby boys, God is going to strike down the firstborn of every Egyptian family. At the same time, he provides a means for the firstborns of the Israelite people to be saved: the passover lamb. Each family is to take a year-old lamb without blemish and slaughter it on the evening before God's final plague upon Egypt. They are then to smear some of the lamb's blood on the doorframe of their home. As God moves through Egypt and sees the blood of the lamb on the doorway of an Israelite home, He will pass over, not killing the firstborn of that family. By the blood of a spotless lamb, the Israelite people are saved. The Passover foreshadows the work of Jesus to redeem humanity from slavery to sin. He is a spotless lamb whose blood saves all who place their faith in Him. The Passover is the clearest Old Testament shadow of what Jesus would one day do on the cross, not just for Israel, but for all humanity.
FOR THIS WEEK'S SERMON OVER EXODUS 12, LISTEN BELOW:
FAMILY INGREDIENT: STORYTELLING
In the Bible, God is the main character. It is His story and He is the hero; we, humanity, are the supporting cast. Today's reading could be entitled, "God to the Rescue." Main role: God. Supporting cast: Moses and God's people. Bad guys: Pharaoh and his officials. After 400 years of slavery and ten plagues, culminating in the Passover and the death of Egypt's firstborn sons, Pharaoh finally releases God's people. Today’s story begins with Pharaoh and his officials rethinking their decision. "We have lost our slaves! What were we thinking?" They begin in hot pursuit of the Israelites. Watch the reactions of the Israelites and Moses. Despite their lack of faith, God is the Hero and faithfully delivers His people. Today, God invites us to take part in His story as His supporting cast. He will call us to many exciting adventures with numerous twists and turns. Hold on. Knowing He is God and He knows how the story ends means He can always be trusted!
- Describe our main character, God. List words that are true about Him.
- Describe the bad guys, Pharaoh and officials.
- Describe how God's people acted in this story. For a clue, look at Exodus 14:10-12.
- What did Moses tell the people (vs.13-14)? Do you think Moses was also afraid?
- What did God say? Look at Ex. 14:15-18.
- God understood how terrified His people were; they did not understand how powerful He is. What did God do to make them feel His protection? See Ex. 14:19-20.
- What happened to the bad guys as they chased God's people?
- What was the result of everything the Israelites had seen? See Ex. 14:31.
Props: blanket, stick, toy bad guys (optional). Assign parts: God, Moses, and Israelites. To make the Red Sea, hold corners of the blanket and wave it up and down.
Action: Tell the story simply. The Israelites escape, then wait, terrified, at the edge of Red Sea. Have God command the wind to blow (add sound effects) and have Moses hold up his staff. Lower the blanket to the floor, in the middle, and hold sides straight up. The Israelites should walk across blanket on the "dry land." After everyone is safely across to other side, make the toy bad guys chase after the Israelites. Have Moses stretch out his hand, hold up his staff, and command the blanket waves to come crashing down. Discuss the "Family Questions" and ask God to help you to always trust Him, even when things look bad. Pray about specific situations where His power and love are needed.
- When have you anticipated a change but circumstances forced you to wait? How did you feel when the time finally arrived? The long awaited exodus from Egypt was upon God’s people and they knew the cost it would take for Pharaoh to be convinced to set them free. God knew how quickly His people would forget the miracle of their liberation from bondage in Egypt, so not only did He require an annual remembrance, He placed strict limits to prevent them from being distracted with the busyness of their usual work.
- Have you made time to pause and remember how and when God set you free from the bondage of eternally unforgiven sin?