The Lamb Who was Slain 1/15/2023

Pyramids  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:16
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Overview: After a series of devastating plagues, Pharaoh still refuses to let the Hebrews leave. In response, God takes the life of all the firstborn in Egypt. We will wrestle through this difficult passage, and find out what it means for us.
If you have your bibles
-or if you’d like you can also follow with us in the youversion bible app
-but we’re going to be chugging right along in our pyramids series on Exodus
-And what we’re doing here is we’re looking at the bible from a layered perspective, like a pyramid
-Where at the very base level we just want to know what the bible says
-what the language says, what the historical contexts were like, all of that stuff.
-And then a layer up from that we want to know what God is asking us to do in response
-and then above that, we start asking how does this story point me back to Jesus
-and then the final layer, the one I think we should strive after the most
-we want to know, what does this story tell us about God
-So Every week I’m trying at least to bring out something from each layer as we’re reading along
-So up to this point in exodus,
-Pharaoh has been enslaving the isrealites
-he’s been treating them poorly
-and and God raises up one man to be the one who is going to deliver his people
-and God takes this one man, Moses
-God promise him that He is going to rescue Isreal
-And last week we looked a series of plagues that God inflicts upon egypt
-and these plagues come in sort of a predictable pattern
-Moses says release the isrealites so that we can worship the Lord
-Pharaoh says no
-God sends a disaster
-and Pharaoh says OK, you can go
-God removes the disaster
-and then pharaoh says “never mind, you can’t go”
-and this pattern repeats more or less the same way
-9 times.
-and each time the plague that god inflicts gets worse and worse
-until during the 9th plauge God blots out the sun for 3 days
-and still, pharaoh refuses
-and so today I want to look at Exodus chapter 11 and see where God’s story goes.

Exodus 11:1-6

Exodus 11:1–6 NIV
Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.) 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.
-I’ve been praying a lot over how to present this passage of scripture
-because when you read this portion of scripture there are two responses that most people have
-and they’re kind of on both ends of a spectrum
-and either one, I really don’t like
-they both kind of worry me
-Here’s what I mean by that
-On one end of the spectrum you have the person who has been a Christian for a long time
-maybe they’ve grown up hearing these stories
-and for that person, when they read this portion of exodus
-there’s almost an apathy to it
-[monotone voice]
-about midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in egypt will die. There will be wailing throughout egypt
-And that person just kind of breezes over the fact that thousands of children died!
-because you’ve read it so many times that you’ve been almost conditioned to
-it doesn’t bother you any more
-that person is almost numb to it
-that’s one end of the spectrum
-the other end is the person who is maybe new to faith
-or maybe they’ve been a Christian for a while
-but they’re new to really exploring all of God’s word
-and they are going to get to this passage
-and there’s going to be a brain malfunction that happens
-I know that in the new testament it says that God is love
-I know that Jesus was compassionate
-and I just can not wrap my brain around how the same God who is so caring and compassionate in the new testament
-can do something like this in the Old testament
-And by the way these are good questions to be asking
-I think if you’re not asking these hard questions
-if you’re not wrestling with the Bible
-then you’re probably not invested in it enough
-I think you should always have questions
-you should always feel like there’s something more for you to learn.
-So we have these two extremes
-and here’s the problem that I have with these two extremes.
-let’s call them new christian and old christian
-even though I think in a lot of cases you can be on either side no matter how long you’ve been a christian
-but for now we’ll call them new christian and old christian
-and they’re in a bible study together
-and a passage like this comes up
-and new christian says
-how could God do that?
-why did God have to kill the first born sons
-what did Pharaoh’s son ever do to deserve that?
-and Old Christian usually says something like this
-well you know, the egyptians practiced child sacrifice and they did evil things, and they worshipped idols
-and they god what they deserved
-and besides those children would have grown up to become evil
-and so God was just doing them a favor and stopping that evil because He knew that they were going to grow up to be evil.
-I’m just going to say this with all of the love in my heart that I can possibly muster
-this is coming from a place of love
-If you’re “old christian”
-stop saying that
-It’s not helpful
-That’s the kind of thing that is going to take new Christian
-and make them start to question their faith more than they already were before
-and so I’ve been praying about this passage for quite some time
-because I want to make sure I’m not pushing you in that direction
-while also confronting that the Bible says what the bible says
-I can’t deny what the Bible says, it’s right there in the text
-And the conclusion that I’ve come to is that this passage
-and the following passage
-rely on the most difficult to accept belief that we hold as Christians
-and that’s the belief that people are not good
-if looked at the entire Bible as one big story
-every good story has a main character
-and a main enemy
-and in every good story the main character needs to defeat this enemy
-And the mistake that we make in the Bible is thinking that we are the main character
-or maybe we think Isreal is the main character
-that’s not the case
-this is a story where God is main character, he’s the protagonist
-and enemy
-the bad guy in the story
-is us
-we’re the bad guy
-satan brought evil into the world
-and we, humanity chose to side with evil over good
-The question we need to be aSking when we’re reading the Bible is this
-why did God purposefully choose to tie one hand behind his back in a fight against evil
-when he has the power to create a perfect world
-and to destroy his own creation on whim
-why doesn’t he just do that
-God’s creation was disobedient, God’s creation chose to side with the enemy
-and I’m going to let this play out
-I’m going to work out a situation in which defeat evil
-without just snapping my fingers and willing it away.
-Now don’t get me wrong, this is still difficult
-but I think it’s something that we as christians need to wrestle with and come to terms with.
-so if you’re new Christian, this concept doesn’t sit well with you
-that’s ok. let it sit for a minute
-wrestle with it.
-but I want you to at least have that perspective in your mind as we read on
I want to pick up in verse 12 where God says every firstborn will die
-and then he says this

Exodus 11:7-10

Exodus 11:7–10 NIV
But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
-God says i’m going to choose some people
-a specific group of people
-and they are going to be mine
-and again we have to come at this from this mindset
-not with the question why did the egyptians have to die
-but why did the isrealites get to live
-because on the cosmic scale them and you and I and everyone else were enemies of God
-and none of us deserved to be spared
-So how is God going to spare us? what’s his plan

Exodus 12:1-13

Exodus 12:1–13 NIV
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. 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. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 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. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 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.
-Notice how God has a requirement to avoid the death that otherwise would have come on Egyptian and Israelite alike
-each family needs to marked with the blood of the lamb
-not as an action, not as some weakness of God
-it’s not like by doing this action the isrealites are given power to defeat God
-but as a sign, marking the household as being on God’s team
-it was a seal that said pass over this house, they’re on our team
-and even though isreal was the main recipient of this sign
-we’re going to read a little bit later that all of the people in egypt had an opportunity to switch teams
-and some of them actually did
-But god says “This is my passover”
-I want to step back for a minute and share something remarkable about the the way in which the bible was transmitted over the centuries
In verse 11 God says “it is the lord’s passover”
-the word there in the hebrew is “pesha”
-well during the time of Jesus the Hebrew bible was translated into Greek
-Just like we read an english translation, in the first century the apostles read the hebrew Bible translated into greek
-and a lot of times when they’re translating languages from one to another
-you’ll come across a word that we just don’t have
-and usually what you’ll do is just keep that word, you won’t translate it, but you’ll just spell it with your own letters
-a couple of examples that come to mind
-the word “Rabbi” which means teacher,
-but our bibles don’t say teacher, it’s a hebrew word that we for whatever kept in hebrew and we just say “rabbi”
-So when the bible was translated so the people who lived in Jesus’ day could read the word of God in their own language
-they kept the word “pesha” and and wrote it as the greek word “Pasca”
-guess what pasca means in greek
-it means suffering
-now all of a sudden
-Now I want to put yourself around the 33 AD
-you’re Jerusalem
-and you are celebrating this exact moment
-For a jew this is your major holliday
-this is like Christmas and easter and the fourth of july all wrapped in one.
-you’re reading this exact passage
-and you look up and you see the lamb of God on the cross
-His blood is on the post of the cross
-his body was just represented in the bread that you ate last night
-and you’re remembering the bible passage that you’ve probably been reading all week.
Exodus 12:11 NIV
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 12:13 NIV
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.
-God chose to spare the isrealites for no other reason than that he loved them and wanted to spare them
-even though they and you and I and everyone else shouldn’t have been passed over
-and we didn’t deserve to be suffered for
-And this is God’s free gift that he gives to us
-but we still need to receive this gift
-it’s not automatic
-but God needs to see that we are on his team in his grand battle against evil
-He needs to see that we are no longer his enemies.
-part of that was being marked by the blood of the lamb
-and for us today we are marked by Jesus’ blood in the same way.
-another part of God’s passover plan was the insitution of the passover meal
-the isrealites were told to make unleavened bread because they were not going to have time mix up some dough and wait for it to rise
-when God struck they needed to be ready to go right now
Exodus 12:14–16 NIV
“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. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
-Raise your hand if you’ve ever baked anything
-you know that little packet you have that you put in your bread dough?
-sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but they didn’t have those back then
-so now I need my bakers here in the room to tell me how do you make sourdough bread?
-you have a starter
-and so the way you made bread then, the way you made it rise
-is that every time you made a loaf of bread you would pinch off a piece and put it in a jar
-and then you’d let that dough collect all sorts of bacteria
-and it would get all funky
-and then the next time you made bread you’d take a little bit of that starter and put it in with your dough
-and before you baked the new loaf you’d pinch some off and put it back in the jar
-well for one or two loaves that’s fine
-what happens a year from now
-you’ve got a jar full of funky year old bread dough
-it’s been collecting all sorts of gunk
-it’s been sitting for a year
-it needs to be replaced
-I’ve heard a lot of explanations about the yeast
-about how yeast is representative of sin
-which is true to a certain point
-but Jesus also talks about yeast representing the kingdom of God
-so the metaphor isn’t perfect
-but the thing that is true about this yeast
-is that it requres a restart
-that’s what God’s getting at here
-more than the sin metaphor
-more than even as a shaddow of the lord’s supper
-the removal of the yeast represents a total reset
-you’re starting over your new life from scratch
-and when you become a christian
-when you’re marked with Jesus’ blood as being on God’s team
-you are saying I am starting my life fresh
-and every time we take the lord’s supper we should be thinking of it in those terms
1 Corinthians 5:7–8 NIV
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
-So the irealites did this
-I want to jump down to verse 37
Exodus 12:37–39 NIV
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.
-Verse 38 is very important
-many other people went up with them
-many other people were given the opportunity to be on God’s team

Exodus 12:40-49

Exodus 12:40–42 NIV
Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.
-and then in verse 43 we read the specifics of how they are to commemorate this event
Exodus 12:43–49 NIV
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal: “No foreigner may eat it. Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it. “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate it. “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.”
-So this passage is a little bit confusing
-because we get in verse 43 that no foriegner may eat the passover meal
-no non-Israelite may participate in God’s redemptive plan
-but then in verse 48 we see that a non-Israelite actually can participate
-but the catch is they must circumcise themselves
-now this is something that the early church in the book of acts struggled with
-and ultimately what was decide by paul and peter and james
-was that you and i are not required to go through this covenant
Colossians 2:11–12 NIV
In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
-so in a sense the same rules apply now as they did then
-the only thing that has changed are the details
-instead of being marked by the blood of a lamb
-we are marked by the blood of Jesus
-Instead of eating the passover bread to remember our salvation
-we eat the bread at the Lord’s supper
-instead of being marked as belonging to God by circumcision
-we’re marked with Baptism
-and instead of celebrating the pesha, the passover
-we celebrate the pasca, the suffering that purchased us
-I want to share one more passage from chapter 13
Exodus 13:1–2 NIV
The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”
-that word consecrate is a super fancy bible word
-which means to set aside to be holy
-the firstborn should be set apart from the rest of the children
-because the first born belongs to God
-and then if you jump down to verse 11
Exodus 13:12–13 NIV
you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.
-What God is hammering home here to the isrealites
-is that their freedom was paid for with the lives of the first born in egypt
-we may not like it, we may not understand it
-it might even put a sour feeling in the pit of our stomach
-and I think God knows that and doesn’t want us to forget it
-He wants the isrealites to know “that was supposed to be you.
-and you owe me
-and so he says set apart your first born
-the life of your firstborn is what you owe
-but I’m not going to collect on that payment
-I’m going to give you the opportunity to redeem what is rightfully mine
-which is another fancy bible word which just means to buy it back.
-So what about us?
-well as Christians each and every one of us is a first born
-each and every one of us was spared at the expense of God’s only son
-and so in the same way we owe our lives to God
-and he gives us that same opportunity
-Not with money, not with a sacrifice
-but with your actions
-with the way you live your life
Romans 12:1–2 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
-and finally, God expects us to pass on what we received for free

What does this mean?

Exodus 13:14–16 NIV
“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’ And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”
-In the days to come
-when people ask you, when your children ask you
-why do you do this?
-why are you a Christian
-tell them that with a mighty hand the Lord brought you out of the land of sin.
-and satan stubbornly refused let you go
-The Lord sent one and only son to die.
-and this is why I offer myself and my actions as a living sacrifice to God.
-and the way I live my life I wear it as a sign on my hands through my actions
-and a symbol on my forehead through my thoughts
-that God brought me out of sin with his mighty hand
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