Doorway to Freedom
This broken world has a story for us to live in. Our scarred history has a story for us to live out. But there is a story written into the core of us by the very hand of God.
Pharaoh had a story for Israel too. But not the story written by God.
‘Look,’ he said to his people, ‘the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.’ Exodus 1:9-10
‘They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, “Let us go and sacrifice to our God.” Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.’ Exodus 5:8-9
‘Pharaoh said, ‘Lazy, that’s what you are – lazy! That is why you keep saying, “Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.” Exodus 5:17
Threatening. Traitorous. Lazy. Gullible. Expendable. Work horses.
Pharaoh wrote his story down with every lash and clanking chain. He wrote it red on Israel’s backs. They felt every word. Lived every word.
But there was a deeper story written into the core of them by the very hand of God. A lingering understanding that God intended good for them. Somehow.
Somehow. Their story wasn’t done yet. They believed.
God wasn’t done yet. With them.
And God wasn’t done yet.
God had partnered with His creation to bring Pharaoh to his knees in humility, after nine opportunities for Pharaoh to repent, God finally prepares to measure out for Egypt the infliction they had dealt out on Israel.
The loss of their first born sons.
“So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.” Exodus 11:4-6
And then as Israel stands here in the eye of this storm, in the silent prelude to God’s final redeeming stroke, God whispers to Moses His way of seeing all of this…
‘The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.’ Exodus 12:1-2
This redemption story of Israel is to become the beginning of their new calendar, their new year. A new beginning knit into the budding, flourishing weeks of spring, declaring God’s heart… the past is gone, the new is here. New life begins now. Live here with Me now in the present, in My presence, in the hope for your future that life in Me unfolds.
This battle has been a birthing process, the violent throws of a new life being born, a fledgling nation leaving a darkened womb out into a brand new day. A new beginning. Another renewed creation story.
Passover (the feast God now institutes to commemorate this moment) declares this new beginning, this birth-day of a people through labouring pain, into new life. But it will be a new life purchased with a new life.
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household….
… Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast…
…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.’ Exodus 12:3, 6-8, 11
“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.’ Exodus 12:12-13
Passover, this moment in time, wasn’t just an act, it was a declaration, it was a revelation, it was the God of all the universe drawing a line in the sand, a line in time saying…Who are you? You are mine. You are who I know you to be, though you don’t believe this yet. You are not who your scars say you are. I’m showing you another way. Another way to be: Free.
It’s not what happened to us, but the story we tell ourselves about what happened to us that decides whether our life will be bound in trauma riddled memory or freed to fly.
God knew He didn’t just need to free this people from the chains of an old story, He needed to free them into the life of a new story. The story of Himself with them.
This story of the first Passover was to be retold, relived, remembered through Israel’s whole wrestling history. So that it could become part of them. Free. In YHWH. Redeemed by God Himself.
‘“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 12:14