Scripture reading: Exodus 13
The slaying of the firstborn of Egypt, the tenth and final plague, moved Pharaoh to thrust Israel out of Egypt where they had lived for 430 years (12:40-41).
The Passover was established as a perpetual memorial of the night the firstborn of Egypt were slain, but God spared the households in Israel because the people believed God, and applied the blood of the lamb to the door posts (12:1-28, 43-51).
Seven days of “unleavened bread,” were to be observed, “and in the seventh day shall be a feast (the Passover) to the LORD” (13:6). No leaven was to be in the households those seven days (13:7), serving as a reminder of Israel’s sudden departure from Egypt, but also a memorial to the purging of sin from the midst. Leaven, a symbol of sin in the Scriptures, was to have no place among God’s people in the seven days that concluded with the Passover observance.
Leaven would later serve as a reminder to believers that sin, like leaven in bread during the Passover, is intolerable in the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 5:6). Paul instructed the church in Corinth, “Purge out therefore the old leaven…keep the feast…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Like Israel’s intolerance of leaven during the Passover, believers are to be intolerant of sin in our midst (1 Corinthians 5, 9, 13)!
The LORD also commanded Moses to instruct the people that the firstborn of every household, both children and beast, were to be sanctified (set apart and dedicated), to the LORD as a memorial to Him, with the exception of the firstborn of Israel (13:1). Promising He would bring Israel into the “land of the Canaanites” (13:11) as He had vowed, the people were to dedicate the firstborn male of every beast to the LORD (13:11-12). The firstborn of “clean” beasts was to be sacrificed, including lambs, kids of goats, and calves (Exodus 22:30; Numbers 18:17-18).
Because the ass (donkey) was declared unclean, the firstborn of an ass would be redeemed with a lamb (the lamb being a sacrificial substitute). The clean (lambs, calves, or kids of goats) were to be sacrificed in the place of unclean beasts (13:13).
While some heathen nations sacrificed their firstborn sons and daughters to idols, Israel was commanded to redeem her firstborn (13:13b). Considering all humanity is sinful, and therefore universally “unclean” in the sight of God, the price of a firstborn’s redemption in Israel was set as “five sheckles” (Numbers 3:47; 18:16). The people were to instruct their sons concerning the meaning of redemption (13:14-16).
The LORD knew that a nation of slaves would not be ready for the challenge of war against those nations that inhabited the land He had promised His people (13:17). Rather than lead Israel through the land of the Philistines, the LORD directed them into the “wilderness of the Red Sea” (13:18).
Fulfilling the vow their forefathers had made to Joseph, his bones were taken up from Egypt, and would be buried in Canaan (13:19).
Serving as a visible testimony of God’s presence, the LORD had promised to shadow His people with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (13:21-22).
A closing thought: To spare Israel the tenth plague, and the death of the firstborn, the LORD required the blood of the lamb be placed upon the door posts. Without the blood, the firstborn of the household would be slain. So it is for all sinners, for “without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness; deliverance]” (Hebrews 9:22).
All the lambs that were sacrificed were a type, a picture, of God’s punishment of sin that would be fulfilled in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews wrote: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). Paul writes in his letter to Corinth, “For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus Christ]to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Romans 6:23 – 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith