You can’t worship God without Pesach! (Passover, Pasaka..)

In Exodus chapter twelve, we read the account of the actual event this book is named after. The interesting thing is that instructions that clearly indicate they are to be observed for generations to come, of an act that has supernatural consequences for eternity, are given to Moses and Aaron. As I meditate on the work of the cross and what Jesus did on it I am led to see that somehow, without the cross, we cannot worship God at all!

Prior to this event God commissioned Moses to ‘go to Pharaoh (Exodus 8:1) and say to him, This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’ After many signs and wonders and plagues, Pharaoh and his folk kept being stiff-necked and stubborn and still wouldn’t capitulate. I get the feeling God was not just setting up the Egyptians for a major confrontation, but the rest of humanity for a supernatural revelation of their state and need for His deliverance. You have to remember that the Israelites had been slaves for 400 years as foretold to their forefather Abraham, and the time for deliverance had come.

In Exodus 7:1, the LORD tells Moses “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” If you know your Egyptian history well, Pharaoh was god as far as the Egyptians were concerned so God had to empower Moses so as to make him a suitable ambassador of the Kingdom! All these years they had served Pharaoh and his ‘gods’ and now the Lord was about to deliver them. He would deliver them from this cruel and enslaving kingdom so that they would be able to serve Him, the God who created them, loved them and had promised their forefather Abraham that they would live and prosper in a promised land.

We often come into this season, some calling it Easter, others Resurrection Sunday, others Pesach (at least in Swahili we call it Pasaka, which sounds closer to the Hebrew!). Since our childhood, many of us, especially in East Africa, looked at it as a time for eating special meals like chicken, roast meat and rice pilau (pilaf). It also was synonymous with getting new outfits which we would show off at Sunday easter service and so on. We regarded it as some celebration day that delivered us from those tight worn out shoes and clothes we had outgrown! What we never realized is the eternal significance of this powerful weekend as far as our deliverance from sin and its enslaving consequences. Sadly, even till today, many of us confess Christ, live lives fearful of God and mostly obedient to His word but still serve in ‘Egypt’! We still are slaves to sin, sicknesses, poverty, unforgiveness and fear, to name a few bondages that enslave us.

If you have time read and take note of certain things that happen in the Exodus. I will name a few:

1. The Israelites were freed from slavery, where they labored and others gained from their labour.
2. The Israelites stopped serving the Egyptian gods.
3. The Israelites left without lifting a finger in uprising and in fact their captors begged them to leave.
4. The Israelites even got silver, gold and other precious things given to them to get them on their way
5. When the Lord struck down the Egyptians, those who had the blood applied on their homes were spared.

These are but a few of the unmerited benefits they got from the Passover! What a mighty God we serve! Going back to Exodus 12:2, we find God declaring that that month was to be the first month for the Israelites. Here we see the Passover also being made an event to overturn seasons and in fact usher in a new calendar, a new beginning. So it seems that Pesach becomes symbolic with ushering in a new beginning: people being delivered to serve (worship) the Lord. By the way the Hebrew word used for worship is the same one used for serving (abad pronounced aw-bad). In fact the King James Bible uses ‘serve’ while the NIV uses ‘worship’. In fact the word means to ‘work’ and can also mean to enslave, keep in bondage, use, compel to do (Strongs 05647).

This shows me that worship is not just a song or a Sunday service, but acts of obedience that show God’s power and love enabled by His Holy Spirit. Adam was created to serve (worship) God by taking charge and care of God’s creation. By sinning, he put man in a position that required deliverance from slavery to sin. In verse 12 of Exodus 12, the Bible says: ‘On that night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-both men and animals-and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD…” He adds in verse 14:”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. Three times in that chapter the words ‘lasting ordinance’ are repeated. Now fast forward to resurrection week, when Jesus is handed over to be crucified. Notice any similarities?

You and I today are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (1 Cor 5:7,8: Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.) Revelations 5:9 tells of how the Lamb was worthy because He was slain and with His blood purchased men for God ‘from every tribe and language and people and nation’ and has ‘made them to be a kingdom (rulers with dominion and authority!) and priests (mediators between God and mankind) to SERVE..’ God and they “will reign on the earth”. Notice it doesn’t say they will reign in heaven!

Now we can clearly see the passover work of the cross in a new light. Here we have God using the Exodus as a way of foretelling the future act of a Messiah who comes to restore us, not just from slavery in ‘Egypt’ but also to reign and serve our God in this manner. Let’s fast forward to our state of being today. Are we living as rulers or the ruled? Are we really worshipping God in spirit and in truth? Have we understood that worshipping God and serving Him go hand in hand? Perhaps we need to rethink our understanding of the work of the crucifixion and the power of the blood of the Lamb. Remember that He also said that if He did not leave He could not send us the Helper (The Holy Spirit). Use this time and season when there are open heavens to call upon Him so that He can set us completely free from the Egyptians that are within and without us. Him whom the Son sets free is free indeed. As you meditate on the power of the Passover, the Lord will give you a fresh new thirst and hunger for His righteousness so that you will be filled with power from on High to serve Him in spirit and in truth.

Be blessed! Be free! Be-lieve! (repost of archived article)

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