I’m not Jewish and I’ve never participated in a Seder meal, though I’ve always wanted to. After all, Jesus was Jewish, and when I read about Jewish history in the Bible, I feel as though I’m learning more about Christ. And, I am.
In Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) last week, we focused on Matthew 26 which references the first Passover when God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt through the desert to the promised Holy Land.
As I read the familiar account in Exodus 12, a certain verse jumped out at me and has been with me ever since. The visual imagery it created still resonates, and disturbs.
But first, the context of Exodus 12:
The Lord is giving Moses and Aaron instructions about the special day of Passover, details about how each household (on the tenth day of the first month) is to choose a one-year-old male lamb or goat with no defects, and how on the fourteenth day, at twilight, each family is to slaughter their lamb or young goat.
That commandment wasn’t new to me. And if you’ve read the Bible, it likely wasn’t new to you either. But do you recall verse 6 and what God instructs each family to do for those five days (from the 10th to the 14th)? Before I share the contents of that verse, I want you to watch something. Trust me, just click the box. You’ll love it!
Isn’t that little lamb adorable! So precious the way it’s jumping around and playing with the little girl. And it’s with that in mind––when I read Exodus 12:6 last week––that my heart ached at the scene the scripture sets forth. The Lord tells the Isralites, “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month.”
Take special care of this chosen animal. Why would God tell them to do that? Didn’t he realize that by them taking “special care” of the sheep or goat for those five days that they might grow closer to it? More attached? Which would make killing the animal all the more difficult when the time came?
Of course, he did.
Can you imagine leading the lamb which you and your family have “taken special care of” to the place where you’re going to slaughter it, only to have the animal look up at you with those big, sweet eyes? Maybe the fella’s even jumping and playing around like the lamb above, innocent of what awaits him. Then as you take the knife and press it against his throat, your youngest children look on with tears in their eyes as their special lamb is killed, and as its “foreshadowing” lifeblood spills out for the forgiveness of sins.
Then I think of Christ and his sacrifice, and how Isaiah 53 records:
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
Does viewing God’s commandment in verse 6 make the deserved penalty for your sin more real to you? It certainly did me. And I’m grateful for that, especially this week. What are you dwelling on this week as we ready to celebrate Easter on Sunday?
Eager to hear your thoughts and…be sure to check the BOTTOM OF THIS EMAIL for a link to discover the winner for the most recent giveaway!
Check out Overcoming with God in the Desert Seasons as I guest blog at Overcoming with God this week. I share about some desert seasons in my own life, and invite you to share yours. We’re having such a wonderful time. Hope you’ll join us!