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Life or Death...At Midnight

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 13, 2022 12:00 am

Life or Death...At Midnight

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 13, 2022 12:00 am

Foreshadowing is the literary term for something that happens in a story which points to something that will happen in the future. Exodus 11-12 is an incredible example of this. The Passover points to Jesus' death like few other stories in the Old Testament, so let's join Stephen as he tells us why.

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Now, I know you have heard about the Passover if you've been in Sunday school. You've got the thing down, Pat.

You know exactly what happened. And when we come to a chapter like this, it's one of those chapters that pastors fear because everybody kind of goes, oh, I've been through this one half a dozen times. But I want you to picture for just a moment of being there. It's midnight, but get out of your pajamas. You know, get your kids dressed. Eat with your shoes on and your clothes on. Take that staff in your hand and then eat this roasted lamb. You're ready to go.

Where are we going? The ten plagues that God brought to Egypt were each devastating. As God brought the tenth and final plague upon Pharaoh in Egypt, he also had a plan to spare his own people from the catastrophe. But in order to be saved, as God's wrath was poured out, the people needed to obey precisely what God commanded them to do.

If they wanted their children to live, they had to obey. This is wisdom for the heart. Today, we're going back to our vintage wisdom series from 1989 through the book of Exodus. Our lesson today is called Life or Death at Midnight. We're studying through the Bible a book at a time. We are in the book of Exodus.

As most of you know, your study notes may be helpful as you follow along. And we are this morning in Chapter 11, where the plot thickens. In fact, it climaxes with the final plague. Well, Moses will go back one more time and he will give what we all know is the tenth plague.

The word plague could be translated stroke. This is the final stroke leveled at Egypt in order that the people of Israel might go free. Let's take it up at Chapter 11, verse one. God is speaking with Moses.

One more plague. I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here.

When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely. Speak now in the hearing of the people that each man asked from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and gold. Now, this is a little misunderstanding here. If your text may say borrow, this is actually an asking that they give them these articles of silver and gold. These will be used one day to construct the tabernacle as they cover items with gold and silver. You think, is this really fair that they go and manipulate the Egyptians who are now perhaps in terror of them? Well, if you understand that this is nothing more than back wages for 430 years of slavery, you can understand that this is justifiable.

They are, in a sense, asking for wages that have been withheld for centuries. And they receive their wages, and the Egyptians give it to them because God is motivating their hearts to give. Verse three. The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself, and this is interesting, was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people. I think a reference to the Israelite. Well, if you've been studying with us, you know there was a time when they hated Moses. They despised him. They felt like it was Moses who had brought all of these plagues and made their bondage even more difficult. You know, the first three plagues that affected Egypt affected Goshen or the Israelite as well, and they weren't too thrilled with Moses' plan. And yet Moses was willing enough to stand alone and to do what he knew God wanted him to do, and ultimately we see what we rarely see on planet Earth, and that is vindication.

That is, these people who once hate him and people who may reject you, family members or co workers that may not love you very much because of your position, not because of your personality. Let's not make a mistake, but because of your stand. If you continue standing alone, maybe there will also come vindication here on Earth. We know vindication will come in heaven. And what I find great about this is that God moves in such a way that Moses, who has stood alone for all of these years and perhaps for the year that it took the plagues to affect the people, he now is revered and respected by not only the Egyptian but the Israelite.

It is worth the times standing alone. Verse four. Moses said, Thus says the Lord. Now he's speaking to Pharaoh. About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn of the land of Egypt shall die from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on the throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones that is grinding the meal. All the firstborn of the cattle as well. And I want to I want to explain to you at least briefly why this was such a horrendous plague, not just because there was death to the firstborn.

That is the hideous nature of it. But Yahweh is still taking on the Egyptian polytheistic perversions. And do you know, in Egypt, the protector of the firstborn was supposedly the Pharaoh himself? Pharaoh was the embodiment of the sun.

God ray. And what he declared to the people was that he was the protector of the firstborn, not only the people, but the cattle. Moreover, for six, there shall be a great cry in the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before, and such as shall never begin. But against any of the sons of Israel, a dog shall not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the Lord makes distinction between Egypt and Israel. And all these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves before me, saying, Go out, you and all the people who follow you. And after that, I will go out.

And he went out from Pharaoh and Hoddinger. Let me review. There were four ingredients to this final plague. The first it will happen around midnight. The second there will be national death. That is death to all firstborn. And I would take it from the text that there will be death to the firstborn in the Israelite home who does not smear blood on the doorposts and lintel of their homes, as we'll see in a moment.

Third, there will be great sorrow. And fourth, there will be an exodus. So after he explains all of that to Pharaoh, Moses in hot anger with righteous indignation leaves the courtroom. And now in Chapter 12, he will address the people of Israel and prepare them for this exodus. Look at verse one.

Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt. This month shall be the beginning of months for you. It is to be the first month of the year to you, which is interesting. There's a change in calendar. It's like telling someone in April that now you're gonna act like this in January.

Why was that? Because they are now redeemed as a nation. This is a special day, and from their calendar they view this event as when Israel was, in a sense, born again, made a nation. He says, I want you to go and speak to the congregation of Israel, saying, verse three, on the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their father's households, a lamb for each household.

And this is the ingredient, I believe, of substitution. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them, according to what each man should eat. You are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male, a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight, or between the two evenings, that is, at midnight.

Now picture for a moment you being there. And you are in effect told that you are to take a lamb, and I'm sure there was other revelation given to the Israelites so that they understood that this lamb would be the substitutionary one. This would be the death one. This would be the one who is slain that they might, on the other hand, live. As one individual said it rather crassly but truthfully, in every home in Egypt that night there was either a dead lamb or a dead firstborn. This was the substitutionary act that they didn't understand like you and I understand today.

They didn't have the rest of the picture. They didn't know what would come later, but we now know that this is a beautiful picture of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. And there will come a day when we will either experience death or we will stand before God with our hearts bathed in the blood of the lamb. There's another element to the Passover, not only substitution, but there is symbolism.

And I think I've made reference to that. Let's look at verse seven as well. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel. Now coming out of the door of that home there would be this wall over here and this wall to your right or to your left and there would be beams and they would smear blood on that beam and on this beam and the lintel was the cross beam directly over the door and they were to put blood there.

He's very explicit in how he gives instructions. But then you are to eat the flesh, verse eight, that same night roasted with fire and you'll eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water but rather roasted with fire. Fire is the picture, by the way, in the Old Testament of judgment.

That is, this lamb went through the judgment so that you wouldn't have to experience another picture of Christ, obviously. And you are to eat its legs along with its entrails and you are and you shall not leave any of it over until morning. And whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. That is, this lamb is entirely going through the judgment of fire. Note verse twenty one.

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, Go and take for yourselves the lambs according to your families and slay the Passover or the Paschal lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin. That is, catch some of the blood that drains from this dead animal and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts. And none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the Lord shall pass through to smite the Egyptian. And when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door.

There is another ingredient and that is protection. But in case you have missed it, let me just briefly remind you of some of the symbolic things and let me just read them for you. And just listen, you couldn't take this down quick enough. Number one, the sacrifice must be a lamb. Christ in the New Testament was the lamb of God. You remember in John chapter 1 verse 29, John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching and his first declarative word to the nation as it were is what?

Look, behold the what? The lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ was clearly seen as the Paschal lamb, the Pesah, the Passover lamb that would shed his blood so that Israel would be redeemed and the Gentile be redeemed. Number two, the lamb must be without spot or blemish, a perfect picture of Jesus Christ in 1 Peter chapter 1 who was without spot or blemish. Number three, the lamb must be in the prime of their life.

Interestingly enough, Jesus Christ died in the prime of his life as a man of 33 years of age. Number four, the lamb's blood is shed that they might have life. In the New Testament, 1 Peter chapter 2 and John chapter 3, as you well know, Christ's blood was shed that you and I might have life. There is incredible significance and symbolism to this Pesah, this Passover lamb that we see fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

But there is also protection. Note verse 23 again, for the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians. And when he sees the blood on the lentil and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.

The words pass over in your New Testament translation are an interesting Hebrew word, which literally means to cover with wings. He is in a sense spreading with wings over the home where there is blood. And as he protects the home, the death angel, perhaps Jesus Christ, goes through the land. What a beautiful picture of security for the believer who is behind the blood. It's as if God has spread his wings over your life. You will never fear judgment. So imagine if you can that night at midnight, Yahweh, as it were, enveloping the homes with his wings, as it were, where there was blood shed on the doorposts. And as the death angel came, there was protection. And I want you to note the significance. You have heard it.

Perhaps you know it well, but what the person was like on the inside was not the issue. The issue was, is there blood? Because Yahweh said, when I see the blood, I will, as it is, pass over you.

We know the hymn. Do we recognize the significance? If an Israelite would poke his head out the window that night as the death angel came through and explained to him what a good man he was, he would die. It wasn't that they were part of Abraham's seed. It was when God saw blood.

It wasn't that they had been circumcised. It was that God saw blood. And I honestly believe, ladies and gentlemen, our hands are full of things, works, deeds. And there are many who believe that when the death angel comes, they will show them what they have done. God is interested in the Lamb's blood.

In fact, he says in Revelation chapter 20, it talks about those who were not written in the Lamb's book of life were cast into eternal fire. What is God interested in? What you can do? No.

Is there blood on the heart? Have you gone to the Lamb and acknowledged him? There is also submission, fourthly. And I love this. Verse 24, you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever, underlined for your children.

It's interesting. This was not just for them. It was for the next generation. And it will come about when you enter the land, which the Lord will give you as he has promised that you shall observe this, this right, this Passover. And it will come about when your children will say to you, what does this right mean? You shall say it's the Passover.

Don't slough that off. That is the same responsibility for, for those who have children today. When your children ask you, what does this mean? You are to reveal to them the significance and raise up. That's our responsibility as a church body to raise up another generation that understands the scriptures. So when your child asks you, why do we go to church? You know, don't, don't say, cause I said, so get ready, you know, explain why some of you are looking at me like you want me to tell you why you're here.

I'm not going to. When your child asks you, why do we pray before we eat? You know, don't say because we're different from the dogs and the cats. Explain the significance.

Why you do these things? Are they, are they rituals or do they have meaning? They were to explain to their children, look, son or daughter, this has tremendous meaning. When we smeared the blood on the doorposts and on the lintel, that was protection. That was God's plan for our salvation. We are to express the same to our children.

This is God's plan. Now I know you have heard about the Passover. If you've been in Sunday school, you've got the thing down. Pat, you know exactly what happened. And when we come to a chapter like this, it's one of those chapters that, that pastors fear because everybody kind of goes, Oh, Oh my, I've been through this one a half a dozen times, but I want you to picture for just a moment being there.

They submitted to this. Imagine hearing for the first time this plan. I want you to kill a lamb. I want you to catch blood in a basin and smear it on the doorposts and on the lintel.

And then I want you to roast it. But not only that, the text tells us you're to eat with your clothes on. It's midnight, but get out of your pajamas. You know, get your kids dressed, take your shoes and put them on, which was a very ordinary thing because they took their shoes off when they entered the home. But eat with your shoes on and your clothes on.

Take that staff, hold it, men in your hand, and then eat this roasted lamb. You're ready to go. Where are we going? Well, you're going to leave Egypt. Is it going to happen immediately? Well, we don't know.

There's no map. Why blood? All of these questions racing through their minds and the significant thing, men and women is verse 28.

Then the sons of Israel went and did so just as the Lord had commanded. You want me to smear blood on the doorposts? I'll do it. You want me to put it on the lintel? I'll do it. You want me to eat roast lamb at midnight?

I'll do it. Hold my staff, eat with one hand, I'll obey. Wow.

So all the kids, mom and dad, and if there's another home without children or a single parent or a single person, they got together and they formed a group no larger than 10 and they ate with anticipation. What a picture of the believer. Staff in hand, ready to obey. That's the significant part of this ready to follow.

So the plague arrives on schedule. Look at verse 29. Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the first born of Pharaoh who sat on his throne. And by the way, historians tell us the archeologists have revealed, interestingly enough, they don't know the significance of it.

We do. But Ramsey's the second oldest son never rained. The younger son rained. We know why it struck not only that boy, but it struck the first born of the captive who was in the dungeon and all the first born of cattle and Pharaoh arose in the night. He and all his servants and all the Egyptians and there was a great cry in Egypt for there was no home where there was not someone dead. They called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, rise up. There are five imperatives in these two verses.

The first is rise up. Get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel. Go worship the Lord as you have said, take both your flocks and your herds as you have said and go and bless me also. It's as if Pharaoh says, go, go, just go. The wailing could be heard through Egypt.

Why? Because they had, they had been given warning. They had been told if you would smear blood, you will be saved too. The death angel comes.

And they said, we have our gods and Pharaoh, the embodiment of the son, God, he is the protector of the first born. And so they did not surrender. And there was great death. In light of that tragedy, it's hard to rejoice.

But the last part of the chapter gives us the second result. And that is liberty. Verse 33 in the Egyptians, urge the people to send them out of the land and haste for they said, we shall all be dead. So the people took their dough before it was 11 with their netting bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

They're just packing this stuff together as quick as they can do it. Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, they'd requested from the Egyptians, articles of silver and articles of gold and clothing verse 37. Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Ramses to Sukkoth about 600,000 men on foot plus children and women.

And the mixed multitude also went with them. Verse 41, and it came about at the end of 430 years to the very day that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out from the land of Egypt. This night is for the Lord to be observed by all the sons of Israel.

What a night. Can you go back and you're thinking to a night or a day or an afternoon, you may not remember the date, I don't, but I can remember the night when I knelt beside my bed all alone upstairs in that little room. And I said, Lord Jesus, as an 18 year old, I surrender my life to you. Unsure of my salvation, unsure if I was part of the family.

I said, it's time to stop the battle. Perhaps you can go back in your own thinking and remember a time maybe on a college campus or in the cafeteria of some corporation or in your home with your parents wherever. But can you go back to sometime when you have been redeemed? Not a time when you turned over a new leaf or you started becoming a moral person, but a time when you applied the blood of the lamb on the doorpost of your heart. I fear I fear for people who may stand before God one day with hands full of good things, good deeds, morality, integrity, church. The problem is, my friend, the heavenly home is reserved for people whose names are in the lamb's book of life. How do you get into the lamb's book of life? By applying the blood of the lamb. 1st John chapter one and verse seven says the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin. It is acknowledging him as your savior. There are a lot of things to be learned from this.

Let me draw the strings two ways. First of all, for the believer, obedience marks the lifestyle of faith. Can you imagine more than two million people in the early morning hours? The women, they run and they take the dough from bread they plan to make and they just wrap it in clothing. They put it over their shoulder and they head out of Egypt.

Two million! I heard one individual comment, it's rather earthy, but how do you handle the sanitation problems for two million people? Where's the next meal coming from?

What do we wear? God says, go, we're just going. Man, that is the lifestyle of faith. Willing to change, to move, to follow, whatever it may be.

I see dust being kicked up by two million people dancing all their way out of Egypt. Although in their hearts, they're probably wondering why. I think Moses was probably the one who was weighed down with the thoughts, Lord, where's breakfast? But obedience as seen of them marks the lifestyle of faith. For the unbeliever, if you've never trusted Jesus Christ, surrender marks the beginning of life.

And by accepting that sacrifice as our way into heaven, we can also be saved. I read this past week again, the story of John Wilkes Booth, who you know assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Not many people know what happened after that, and I love history and my readings came across that story. But John Wilkes Booth joined up with his co-conspirator and they headed out of Washington. Well, two thousand soldiers galloped out of Washington after them. They knew basically where they were headed.

Finally, a detachment of twenty-five soldiers along with two detectives tracked them down. They were hiding out in a plantation in a tobacco barn that was filled with tobacco leaves and hay. Now, Stanton had ordered that these men be kept alive, so they were hoping that they would surrender. Booth was fairly determined to fight his way out, but his companion by the name of Harold decided to surrender. And so there through the slats of the barn door, he held out his hands and the soldiers who had now surrounded the barn, manacled him and drug him out and tied him to a tree.

Historians record that he began to babble his innocence delirious, knowing that he would be hanged until they finally said, Be quiet or we'll gag you. And then they centered their thoughts on Booth, who was still in that barn and all of the soldiers surrounding it. Finally, one of the lieutenants, Lieutenant Daugherty, decided the best way to do it would be to smoke the quarry out with fire. And so he had one of the soldiers make a straw rope and he lit it, threw it into the barn and it lit fire on the hay there.

And the tobacco leaves instantly became a blaze of fire. And Booth, it said, leaned toward the slats of the barn door to get away from the flames. But one soldier noticed he was struggling with the crutch with one hand, trying to raise his carbine with the other as if to fire. And this soldier impulsively against orders raised his and fired.

The bullet struck Booth in the back of the head and he slumped forward and they drug him out to escape the flames. And it seemed he was dead, but they dashed water on his face and his lips began to move. They all leaned forward to hear what this dying man would say. And he said, Tell my mother, I thought I was doing the best that I could do. And then he asked the soldiers to raise his paralyzed arms so that he could view his hands. And history records his last words as he looked at his hands where the words useless, useless.

Two hours after Corbett shot had struck Booth in the head as the sun was rising, John Booth died. My friend, salvation for you will begin when you view your hands and say the words everything that I do to gain salvation. All of the works, all of the acts are useless, useless. That is surrender to the plan of God, who in his divine council had a lamb we know as Jesus Christ die, go through the fire of judgment so that our acceptance of him and his shed blood would give us eternal life. As a believer, do you have that obedient mark where you are willing to move if God says, If you don't know Christ, would you accept him today? You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen pastors the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. If you'd like to access more of Stephen's teaching ministry, it's available on our website at All of Stephen's full length sermons are posted there and you can listen to Stephen teach or read the written manuscript for each one of them. Access all of that at then make plans to join us back here for our next broadcast of Wisdom for the Heart. Thanks for watching. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 13:43:44 / 2023-03-25 13:54:40 / 11

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