Understanding the Old Testament

Passover

(All quotations are from the New American Standard Bible translation)

The Old Testament is primarily about two things, and the first Passover embodies both.

First, God was trying to teach His people to trust Him. Passover is perhaps the ultimate test of that trust. God instructed His people to do something that must have sounded crazy at the time: kill a lamb and spread its blood on the doorposts and the lintels of their houses (Exodus 12:6-7)—in other words, on the door frame above and to the side of the door. Those who did so would be safe, but those who disobeyed these instructions would suffer the death of their firstborn child.

God also instructed the people to roast the lamb and eat it that same night, leaving nothing until morning (whatever was left was to be burned, per Exodus 12:10). They would have no leftovers, so they would have to trust God to provide food for them on their journey. They were to eat quickly and be dressed to travel—see Exodus 12:11. This allowed them to get underway quickly when Pharaoh gave them their freedom, before Pharaoh changed his mind (which he soon did).

Second, God was trying to teach His people to always put Him first, and the Passover lamb is an example of that. The lamb was to be “an unblemished male a year old.” (Exodus 12:5) “Unblemished” in this context meant that it could not be deformed, defective, diseased, or discolored. It had to be a perfect animal—and thus was among the most valuable animals in the flock. This same requirement would be true of most offerings to the Lord, as we shall see when we get to Mount Sinai. God wants, and demands, our best.

Questions to ponder or discuss: As we have noted before, God emphasized trust in the early books of the Old Testament rather than love. How hard is it to love someone you don’t trust?

Copyright 2017 by Don Davidson

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