Don’t know why, but as I read the familiar story in Exodus 12 this morning, something struck me as kind of odd. The mighty signs and wonders of God through Moses and Aaron have been escalating as has the pressure for Pharaoh to let God’s people go. We’re building to a crescendo . . . a grand, never before seen, crescendo of deliverance. It’s all going to come down to this one night. If I’m Moses, I’m getting anxious. If I’m Aaron, I just can’t wait. And if I’m the people, ENOUGH ALREADY! LET’S GET OUTTA HERE!
But before that night, the Lord takes Moses and Aaron aside and says, I’m planning a feast (Ex. 12:14-20). Really?!?! Is this the time to talk about how to memorialize the significance of this soon approaching night? Couldn’t we do that after we leave Egypt? On the other side of the Red Sea, perhaps? Or as part of giving the Law on Sinai? Or maybe when our feet have actually walked in the land of promise? Evidently not!
No. After giving instructions about a spotless lamb and a necessary sacrifice, . . . after laying out that they were to eat the flesh and apply the blood, . . . after promising that “when I see the blood, I will pass over you”, . . . but before any of it actually happens, the LORD, it seems to me, pauses, looks to the future and says, I want you to remember. In effect, in addition to all that was going to be accomplished on that night, the LORD was also making a memory.
“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. . . . And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORDs Passover, for He passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
(Exodus 12:14, 25-27 ESV)
And I’m struck by how important it was to the LORD that the night be remembered appropriately. It was to be a big deal. A week in the making. A week where no one works and everybody gets focused. Not some passing thought or mindless ritual but an intentional, effort demanding, act of remembrance. And not some optional remembrance but a command to be obeyed for generations to come.
Not just that it would memorialize His great power and mighty deeds. Not just that it would mark the start of their new beginning. But that future generations would learn of, and recall the wonder of, their great deliverance and they would worship in wonder before their great Deliverer.
Kind of reminds me of another feast instituted on the eve of another great deliverance. Another pause before a Lamb was slain, to ensure that future generations would not forget. And I’m thinking, about how important the Lord’s Supper should be in our gatherings.
Regardless of how, or how often, we participate in that feast, it should be conducted in such a way that we really are telling the story to our children. It should be taken in such a condition that we are again in awe at the mighty hand of God to save. Our participation should be purposeful, thoughtful, and cloaked in humility as we recall God’s great intervention, at great personal cost to Himself, on our behalf. As the Israelites did just before they sacrificed their Lambs, watched for their deliverance, and then walked out of bondage, we too should bow our heads and worship . . . really worship!
. . . the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until He comes.
(1Corinthians 11:23b-26 ESV)
Making a memory . . . until He comes.
To Him be all glory.