Festival Time!

Opening Prayer

Lord, today I choose to praise You. Meet with me here in this place.

Read Exodus 13:1–16

The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”

3 Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast. 4 Today, in the month of Aviv, you are leaving. 5 When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites—the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you are to observe this ceremony in this month: 6 For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord. 7 Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. 8 On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. 10 You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.

11 “After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, 12 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. 13 Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.

14 “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. 15 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.’ 16 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.”

Reflect

What prompts you to praise God in a desert place or a “milk and honey” place of plenty?

God wanted his people to remember that they had been redeemed—bought back by the blood
of a sacrificed lamb. So that they would not forget what God had done and take his goodness for granted, God gave them a festival to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and a principle: their firstborn sons were to be consecrated to God and redeemed, and firstborn livestock belonged to God.
Then God embedded the principle of redemption into the life of the nation, like a branded mark. Redeeming the firstborn was costly (Num. 18:15,16). Mary and Joseph fulfilled this law when Jesus was born (Luke 2:22–24).
Jesus’ death offers us the ultimate redemption. When he celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples Jesus was giving them and us a way to remember that he has “entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood” (Heb. 9:12). God doesn’t say “Do X or Y and you might be acceptable to me.” Instead God says to those of us who believe in Jesus that we are adopted sons and daughters of the King of kings with an eternal inheritance. Let’s live in the reality of who we now are.

Apply

How do you remind yourself of what Jesus has done for you? Have you told your story to someone else recently?

Closing prayer

God, show me someone with whom I can share my testimony of what You have done.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider