II.) Vs. 1-10 Separate from sin
III.) Vs. 11-16 Separate to the Lord
IV.) Vs. 17-22 Lead by the Lord
Last week we saw the Lord instituting a memorial day in which what He had done for Israel would be celebrated. Clearly God wanted a party in which those that participated would know the reason for the celebration. In this chapter God goes on to explain how He now wanted them to live.
In the first section, (1-10) He tells them that they are to live separate from sin.
Then in verses (11-16) He tells them that He wants them to live surrendered to Him.
Lastly, in verses (17-22) He tells them how to accomplish these two ways of living, (dependent upon Him).
Through out Israel’s deliverance God’s miraculous hand was clearly seen, but God did not want Israel just to see His hand only upon their deliverance He wanted them to know that it was His hand that would continue to sustain them no matter where He took them. We put an awful lot of importance upon how we start things and not upon how we finish things. The purpose of these memorials or mementos was to cause Israel to continue to depend upon the Lord.
The 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City will be forever remember not upon the victories of the contestants but rather upon the last place finish of a marathon runner from Tanzania, Stephen Akhwari. Soon into the race he injured his right leg after a horrible fall. The race was concluded for over an hour when a bandaged Akhwari entered the stadium wincing with every step. Several thousand spectators began to clap as he limped around the track finally crossing the finish line as the crowed leaped to their feet in wild approval. Later at a press conference he was asked the obvious question; “Why bother to finish when you had no hope of winning?” Akhwari looked at the reported as if he had just asked the dumbest question anyone could ever asked and replied, “Sir, my country did not send me 5,000 miles to start a race, they sent me 5,000 miles to finish it.” Stephen Akhwari had run sacrificially and knew that what matter was not who came in first but rather who finished!
II.) Vs. 1-10 Separate from sin
Vs. 1-2 God had spoken of the Passover feast how they were to celebrate with out leaven. Now God is showing them how that related to them personally. He is showing them that they belong to Him. The firstborn in scripture cares with it several important ideas.
a.) Exodus 4:22 tells us that Israel was God’s firstborn and this honored that truth.
b.) The firstborn was thought of as being the best. He was the one in which all inheritance and privilege was passed on from parents to children. God was showing them that our best always belongs to Him.
c.) Finally, God wanted to remind them that He had spared the firstborn of Israel through the shed blood of the lamb so He is saying that the nation belongs to Him. He is giving them a living object lesson. Every time the firstborn member of their own family or animal was born they would be forever reminded of whose they are, they belong to the Lord.
The idea here is that of being devoted to the Lord, and the price paid for that devotion. Clean animals were to be sacrificed unclean animal and humans were to be redeemed or bought back with a price which recognized that there was a price paid for their freedom, (about 2 ½ ounces of silver according to Num. 18:16). In the N.T. the word “firstborn” appears only nine times and seven of those times it is in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ being the “firstborn”. Once it is used, as it is here in Exodus as Israel being God’s firstborn. Lastly, in Heb. 12:23 we believers are described as, “..the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven,” Now hold on with me a moment because every one of us are called the “firstborn” of God. Therefore, we to have experienced God’s mighty hand of deliverance from sin by the outstretched hands of His Son the Lamb of God slain for us. So we are His exclusive possession. In verses 5 we are told that this was to take effect when they entered into the promised land, but we have already done so to which according to Eph. 1:13-14 the Holy Spirit is the seal of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance. We ought to be living as Paul described in Gal. 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” It ought to look as though we give Him the best of every thing.
Vs. 3-10 So How do we give the Lord what is His?
A.) Vs. 3 “No leaven bread shall be eaten”: Paul said it this way in 2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The old self life stile of sin is gone, it’s passed away. In Jewish thought you really became what you ate. That is why rules were made about what you could eat and with whom you could eat. The Lord is saying don’t be partaking of the old eating habits of the flesh. You’ve been purchased with a price so turn away from those things of sin.
B.) Vs. 4-5 “It’s a new beginning and a new place to live in”: It’s a new time and new place in your life, so don’t live in the old place and the old way any longer.
C.) Vs. 6-7 “Your new way of living is 24/7 and is a joyful celebration”: Before sin meant death and separation from God now they are a live separated to God. Not only have they changed location but also God wanted them to know that it was a permanent change of address. The Lord wanted to tie together that the life of purity is a party. What kind of party is it if it has to be centered on escaping? “Hey, man just got to tune out, drop out, dope up!” Not so with the Lord He wants us to be totally conscience of where you are and whom you are with.
D.) Vs. 8-10 “Bring others with you with a testimony and His word”: Here we are told that they were to share this celebration with their sons. Start with your testimony of how the Lord delivered you from your old life stile. Then we ought to be sharing with them the Word of the Lord, (verse 9). It is based upon this verse that they started warring phylacteries, which were small leather boxes, which held these verses on their foreheads and wrists. What the Lord wanted them to do was put it on the heart so that it would be in their mouth. God wanted them to obey the word and so display it in their lives that others would see it not ware it as an ornament.
III.) Vs. 11-16 Separate to the Lord
Vs. 11-13 The first part of our separation is that we were separated FROM, sin. Now we come to what we are separated TO, Himself.
Vs. 11 “..when the Lord brings you into the land He swore to your fathers, and gives it to you.”: God wanted them to know that He is the One who is faithful to keep His promises. It does not say “if” the Lord brings you into the land, but “when” He brings you into the land. It is clear that God wanted them to realize that their inheritance was a gift not something that they had earned. The promise was not even made to them but to many generations before them. Yet, they were the ones reaping the benefits of His promise to Abraham.
Vs. 12 “..Shall be the Lord’s.”: God wanted them to realize that He was their Father. He was their protector, deliver, and provider. Yes, we are to give Him our best, but we have received from Him His best. I have no problem with the Lord being my boss because He loves me and everything He does is for my benefit.
Vs. 13 “.. every donkey you shall redeem.. and every man among your sons.”: Every beast of burden, or what ever troubles you give to the Lord. God wants you to not carry around those things that weigh you down. Every morning I look in the mirror I’m thankful that he redeems the jackass! The donkey was not a clean animal so the blood of the lamb could only purchase it. If they were not going to redeemed it then it’s neck was to be broken, so today if those donkeys out there don’t want to be redeemed then they will one day have their neck’s broken.
Vs. 14-16 God wanted to remind the future generations of Who He was and how that would impact their lives now. Often our failures are because we don’t understand who God is in our lives. It is by “His strength that we live”, (verse 14-15a). God had ordained this to always be the reason why they serve, (sign on their hand) and a motivation of why they now live, (a sign between your eyes).
IV.) Vs. 17-22 Lead by the Lord
They were separate from sin, and separated to the Lord, but how was they to be done daily? By simple following Him.
Vs. 17-18 Notice that God did not lead them in the way that was the easiest. The way of the Philistine’s was along the coast and would have been the quickest route to the promised land. God does not care about what is the quickest route in your life He cares about what is the best route in your life. You may think that there are quicker routes in your life to get to where you want but it may not be the best.
Vs. 17b God new that they were not ready for the battle they were to face if they went by way of the sea there was the Egyptian army posted along that route as well as the Canaanite army as they came into the promised land. So God saw that they would just go back into slavery. So the quick route would not have been so quick after all. Perhaps your trying to get to some place in your life now and there are all these road blocks and you just can’t figure out why God does not just remove the road blocks. Well there are some battles that you would have to face that He knows that you that you would change your mind and go back to the world.
Vs. 18 So He lead them by way of the Reed sea. He was already training them, so although they were not yet ready for the battle He was preparing them for the day they would be. God never puts you on a shelve you are always in training for life a head of you.
Vs. 19-20 Now look at some ways that He lead them:
Vs. 19 “He guided them by faith”: They took with them the bones of Joseph. Joseph was a man of faith who made them promise over two hundred years prior to take his bones with them when they left. In Gen. 50: 24-26 he made his brother promise that when God took them out of the land to the land of promise that he wanted to buried in the land that God had promised. So for 200 years Joseph’s bones lay in a coffin above ground. Those bones were speaking to the nation the way of faith! This tells us that God will guide as by faith not by sight!
Vs. 20 “He guided them one step at a time”. We all want to know how all of it is going to turn out but God says no, “I’m only going to show you this much today!” Did you ever notice that we are always camped at the edge of the wilderness? It seems to me that we are always on that place of uncertainty, not knowing what life has for us the next day. Say, what you will about the Christian life but one thing is for certain it is not boring.
Vs. 21“He Guided them by His visible presence.”: First His presence was there 24 hours a day and it was in a way that demonstrated His assurance of safety. It is interesting that in 14:20 we are told that this same pillar that was light to Israel was darkness Egypt. The Word of God that is light to us but the non-believer can not comprehend it. Today we are given His word to guide us. You know what the acronym for the word Bible is? Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!
God guides us today, by faith, one step at a time, through His word. One last little thing to notice in verse 22 He did not stop guiding them through the presence of His word until they came to their home. And you know what He won’t stop guiding you either so why not trust His word?