Sunday, April 3, 2011

Was God Just Playing with Them?

By Allen White

This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance. Exodus 12:11-14

The final sequence of events leading to Jesus’ death started the Passover celebration with his disciples. Passover harkens back to the time of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. As a persecuted people, Jewish holidays celebrate God’s protection over and over again throughout time: Passover (Exodus), Purim (Esther), and Yom Kippur (Maccabees). God provided for His people then and will provide for His people again today.

Passover centers on the last of the ten plagues inflicted on the Egyptians. The plagues are a bit curious. After all, frogs, locust, hail – was God just taking creative license? All ten plagues were purposeful in targeting a specific Egyptian god.

The frogs were directed at Heket, the Egyptian goddess of fertility, water and renewal. She was actually represented as a frog, and here we thought that was reserved only for princes.

 The locusts were sent to show God’s power over Seth, the Egyptian god of storms and disorder. And, the hail fell to overpower Nut, the Egyptian goddess of the sky. And, the list goes on.

The final plague resulted in the death of the first born son in every family. While the first born son is often the heir, the first born son of the Pharaoh was regarded as divine. The final plague overcame the chief Egyptian deity, the Pharaoh himself.

To protect themselves, the Israelites were given instructions to sacrifice a lamb and paint the doorposts of their house using hyssop as a brush. God provided a way of escape using the blood of the lamb.

Jesus, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) began His journey to the cross by celebrating Passover with His disciples. He wasn’t kissed by the angel of death, but He was kissed by Judas.

The gods of this age are not tied to natural phenomena like the Egyptians’ gods. The gods of this world are more personal: lust and greed, drunkenness and gluttony, selfishness and pride, anger and hatred. Jesus came to deliver us from all of these false gods.

Which one of these challenges you most directly these days? Which do you struggle to overcome? Do you believe that God is greater than the power of these forces? Ask Him daily to help you overcome.

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