Passover Regulations & the Feast of Unleavened Bread
We spent two lessons harmonizing chronological considerations regarding the exodus, noting that it was 430 years from the giving of the promise to Abraham until the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. A practical lesson that we have yet to mention is that God keeps His promises. It didn't matter that it had been over 400 years. God had given His word that the Israelites would inhabit Canaan and He would make it so at the right time. Today, we should be encouraged by this truth, knowing that Christ will return when the time is right (cf. Matt. 24:36ff; I Thess. 4:13ff). We must not doubt this teaching, even though it has been nearly 2000 years since His ascension. Why not? Because God keeps His promises!

More detailed information is then provided at the end of Exodus 12 regarding keeping the Passover. Foreigners were not to partake of it, though servants who were bought for money and circumcised could partake. Merely working for an Israelite was not enough since that relationship could end at any time. Only those males who had been fully incorporated into Hebrew society via circumcision were qualified to partake of the Passover. One might wonder why these instructions were even necessary. The answer: Because there were foreigners who would leave Egypt with the Israelites (cf. 12:38). They would need to know what God expected the following year when it was Passover time again. For more information pertaining to the Passover, please refer to our prior lesson from 11/24/12.

The chapter closes with these encouraging words - "Thus all the children of Israel did; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. And it came to pass on that very same day, that the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies." (Exo. 12:50,51). Obedience brought physical deliverance for Israel. Today, obedience brings spiritual deliverance to us.

Exodus 13 begins with this command from the LORD - "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine." During the final plague, God had spared the firstborn of Israel because He had sanctified them to Himself (cf. Num. 3:13). They are now His in a very special sense. More information is provided later in this chapter regarding consecrating the firstborn, so we will comment further at that time.

Moses then reviews God's expectations for the people regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread - "And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in your quarters" (Exo. 13:5-7).

This feast was to be a memorial for the deliverance God was providing them from Egyptian bondage. They were to teach it to their children, explaining what God had done for them.

Memorials of this nature remind me of I Samuel 12:24 - "Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you." We would be wise to follow this course today. Fearing God and devoting ourselves to serving Him (as Scripture dictates), while remembering the great things He has done (and continues to do) for us, will always lead to success. If the Israelites had been more faithful in these matters, their history recorded in the Old Testament would have been much different (cf. Jud. 2:7ff; II Chr. 36:14-21).