PREPARATION FOR THE PASSOVER
The Egyptians had many gods, and none of them had been able to stop the God of the Israelites from turning all the water in Egypt red; or save them from the swarms of flies; or from boils; or from destroying the harvest and livestock; or from any of the other plagues.
God’s actions had, however, strengthened the faith of the Hebrews who had cried out to Him when their lives had become so terrible under the Pharaoh’s rule and the Egyptian overseers. While the Egyptians were going through the devastation and destruction the plagues had caused, plus the economical and emotional distress their families had been suffering; the Hebrew children knew that their God had heard their pleas!!
By the way, sometimes it is confusing when God’s chosen people are called different names, so I want to add a little clarity here. Whenever you see “Israelites”, “Hebrews” or “Jews”, you can know these are descendants of Abraham and are God’s chosen people, still today!
In spite of all the plagues that God had brought upon Egypt, Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened and he refused to let the Israelites go. Now, it is God’s desire that “all be saved”, (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). God uses people to fulfill parts of His plans, which is Paul’s understanding of Pharaoh’s obstinacies (Romans 9:17-18). In God’s infinite wisdom, He raised up this Pharaoh for that occasion so that in his rebellion against God he might be an instrument for God’s glory. Since Pharaoh’s heart would remain calloused, it was ultimately necessary to compel by the last plague, the death of the firstborn.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament by Cook Communications Ministries, page 114
The instructions God gave for the preparation of the tenth and final plague were very important. God is a God of details! None of His details are small or unimportant! Carefully studied, it is so exciting for me to discover what and why God decides everything that happens! I stand in awe of an Awesome God!!
God tells Moses and Aaron that this month when they will be leaving Egypt will become the “first month, the first month of your year”. (Exodus 12: 1-2) Just like our lives have a new beginning for us after we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, this was to become a new beginning, and the first month of the Jewish religious calendar. It was called Abib earlier, but now referred to as Nisan. It is usually April in our calendars.
Moses and Aaron were instructed to tell each household in the Israelite community that on the tenth of the month, they were to choose a year old lamb or goat that was without blemish to be sacrificed. They were told to keep it until the fourteenth of the month which would give enough time to make sure it was worthy to become a sacrifice. Just like Jesus was our sacrificial lamb that was without blemish. John 1:29, 36; 1 Corinthians. 5:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:21-22; I John 3:5
They were to slaughter the lamb at twilight on the fourteenth day. The blood of the lamb was to be brushed on the sides and top of their doorframe. It represents the blood of Jesus that was shed for us! Just as the blood saved the firstborn of the Hebrew families; Jesus blood saves us from eternal death! (See references in paragraph above)
“That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.”( Exodus 12:8 NIV) “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”. Exodus 12:10-11 NIV
The bitter herbs would be a reminder of the terrible times they had suffered in Egypt, The bread without yeast was made because they may not have time to wait for the bread with yeast to rise. They did not know when they had to be ready to leave, so they had to eat standing up with their cloaks and sandals on. This was really a different position for them, because they usually ate by leaning back on pillows and taking their time as they ate. Their meal time was normally a very relaxing time which aided them in their digestion. But, this time was very different.
God had already instructed Moses to tell the women to go to their Egyptian neighbors and ask for articles of silver and articles of gold and clothing.to be put on their children. So that, “When you go, you shall not go empty-handed!” Exodus 3:21-22 NKJV
Now, Moses had already warned Pharaoh of God’s tenth plague that was coming if he did not let God’s people go! (Exodus 11: 4-8) :“ 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. 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.” NIV