“Exposing the Exodus”
Redemption Received, Reformation Required – (Chapter 12 Verses 11-20)
The remembrance required of Israel here is two-way, backwards and forwards (v14). In looking back remembering what a great deliverance the Lord has wrought for them. In looking forwards embedding the history of the deliverance in the minds of future generations. So that they don’t lose sight of their heritage in the Lord. Of course, remembering doesn’t add anything to what the Lord has done for them. Nor does any supposêd repetition of the saving the act. It simply reminds them of what God’s done for them and of his presence in their midst. Exodus, the going out, the deliverance marks a new start for Israel, deliverance from the wrath of God and the judgment to come. All this and more is signified in all of this story. God has prepared them for departure and for the last manifestation of his wrath against the power of Egypt. This you see pictures the gospel call does it not. God’s people in every day and generation are called out of the world, of which Egypt is a type. Out of the state of sin, of which their oppression and its misery is a type. And out from under the wrath of God manifested against the world power, which is typified in the powers of Egypt. The church by nature is in that world, God continually calls us out of it, spiritually speaking. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2Corinthians 6:17-18). He not only calls us out but he justifies them and he glorifies them (Romans 8:30). And so on the basis of what God has done, he calls his people to reformation of life. They are like Israel here, to be prepared for action. Your loins girded, shoes on your feet, staff in hand, expresses a preparedness for action (v11). It is departure, not flight. We are in the world but not of it, we live our reformed lives in and before the world, we do not seek to fly from it as did the Anabaptists at the time of the Reformation. This for Israel is not the end, it is just the start, the anticipated victory along with their new lives has been begun. Now the work of reformation begins.
They are to celebrate the Passover with sincerity (v15). All leaven is to be removed. We have been called and justified before God, but corruption remains and if not held in check it will indeed spread, like leaven. Jesus warns us of the danger spiritual hypocrisy and falsehood, “beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). For the true believer, this would spell exclusion from the fellowship of God and his Son. It doesn’t mean that we cannot fall, we do. And we are assured that restoration and forgiveness are also a reality with God when we walk before him in transparency, everything out in the open. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1John 1:8-10). But this points to the gravity and danger of spiritual hypocrisy, “purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1Corinthians 5:7). The celebration of the Passover would serve them as a reminder that they’ve come out of Egypt, i.e., the world. There is to be no going back. They do not live by the edicts of the world anymore, they have an entirely different worldview now. They do live to gratify and exalt self as once they did for that would be to exclude God. God’s salvation demands everything of us, a God-centred mindset, not man centred. There has to be a radical break with our fallen nature, with the idols of Egypt, of the world. To go back, to adopt their idols again would be to put us once again on a war footing with God. “Neither shall ye fear other gods” (2Kings 17:38). You shall not fear. The implication is clear: idolatry begins with fear. When people fear other gods instead of the true and living God, they begin to bow down to them and serve them. But why are people tempted to fear other gods? Because they are the gods of the people in power. They are the gods of the celebrities, the gods of the rich, the gods of the mighty, the gods of popular opinion. These are the gods that fail. These are the gods Israel, God’s people today have been delivered from, well does the New Testament warn us, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1John 5:21).