Passover is about salvation – salvation from life as slaves in Egypt.
The Word of God informs us that slavery was a horrible experience for us. Brutal slave drivers. Crushing, hard work. The Egyptians made our lives bitter, forcing us to mix mortar and make bricks and build cities and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands.
It got worse. Next followed a satanic attempt to kill us. Pharaoh instructed the midwives to kill our sons at birth. The courageous midwives refused.
Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”
What a nightmarish situation to be in.
Moses was born and was saved from death by being placed in a basket in the Nile. By God’s providence, Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him. Years later, after killing an Egyptian who was mistreating a Jewish man, and after being discovered, Moses fled to Midian. He married a daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian.
Years passed. God heard our groaning, and remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.
With God’s blessing, Moses went back to Egypt. He went to the new Pharaoh and demanded that the Jewish people be freed. Then, one of the greatest confrontations in all of human history took place: Moses and Aaron and the God of Israel confronted the king of Egypt, his magicians and the gods of Egypt.
God plagued Egypt ten times. The plagues not only afflicted and humbled the Egyptians, they also showed the superiority of the God of Israel over the gods of Egypt. For example, when the sun did not shine for three days, Egypt’s sun god was shown to be inferior to the God of Israel.
The tenth plague was the worst – the death of all the first-born sons in Egypt, humans and animals too. However, the Lord made it possible for our sons to survive. Families were instructed to kill an unblemished, year-old lamb, collect the blood and apply it to the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where the Passover lamb was to be eaten.
The Lord went through Egypt that night, striking houses everywhere, but passed over those houses where the blood of the lamb was applied. The first-born sons were protected from death; and the next day, our nation, now grown to several million, was freed from slavery.
That’s the story of Passover – or at least part of it. What do I mean – “at least part of it”? There’s more to the story of Passover – much more. And that “much more” is important for us to understand. We can greatly benefit by the “much more.”
This morning I want to focus on one aspect of the “much more” – and that’s the presence of God leading the people out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the promised land.
Egypt represents slavery, suffering, sin and death.
The death of the Passover lamb represents salvation, freedom and life.
The journey through the wilderness represents our life in this world after we are saved.
The promised land represents the New Jerusalem.
After being saved from slavery in Egypt, the Lord led us to the shore of the Red Sea.
And God Himself went with us on our journey. The presence of the Lord went ahead of us in a pillar of cloud by day, which turned into a pillar of fire at night. He guided us during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. He did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.
When word reached the king of Egypt that the newly freed slaves had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds and decided to enslave us again. The Egyptians chased after us with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army – all his horses and chariots, charioteers and troops. They caught up with us as we were camped beside the shore of the Red Sea.
The Lord protected us. The pillar of cloud went from the front and to the rear. The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israeli camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. The Egyptians and Israelis did not approach each other all night.
Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side. Amazing!
Then all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers followed us into the sea. But just before dawn the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive.
When we reached the other side, as the sun was rising, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers – the entire army of Pharaoh.
Of all the Egyptians who had chased us into the sea, not a single one survived.
The Lord’s presence in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night continued to be with us for the next 40 years.
On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it by day and then from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire.
The Lessons For Us
We live in a fallen world that is satanically controlled and is in rebellion against God and under a curse. This world is dangerous. It is deadly. Satan and the fallen angels are real and they are deadly.
If we are saved, they want to kill or enslave us again, like Pharaoh wanted to do to us.
We need the presence of God to prevent that from happening.
After we are saved by Messiah Yeshua, the Passover Lamb who takes away our sins, we need the constant, continual presence of the Lord. We need the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. We need His presence day and night.
We need His presence so we can be guided in the right way, so we make it to the New Jerusalem.
We need His presence so we can be protected.
How do we experience the presence of God so we are guided and protected?
It’s simple. We are saved by our faith. We know that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, the ultimate Passover Lamb whose blood was poured out for us. We know that He is alive in a new and immortal body. We know that He is at the right hand of God the Father, full of life and grace and power.
Then we make a serious commitment to follow our risen Lord, and love Him, obey Him, serve Him.
When we do this, Yeshua sends us His Spirit to us. The Spirit of God lives in us. He dwells in us. He takes up residence in us.
The Spirit of God is like the pillar of cloud and fire – but better.
He is the presence of God – but living in us – day and night.
Like the pillar of cloud and fire guided and protected Israel, the Holy Spirit guides us and protects us.
Successful, blessed living is the result of living with the presence of God day and night.
If the Spirit of God is living in us and filling us, we will be alive to God, aware of God, and dead to sin.
If the Spirit of God is living in us and filling us, we will live with God, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.
We will have continual communion with God. We will pray to Him throughout the day, talking to Him and praising Him and thanking Him and praying for our needs and the needs of others.
If the Spirit of God is living in us and filling us, we will be heavenly minded, not earthly minded.
We will be concerned about telling everyone we can the message of salvation.
We will love our brothers and sisters and want to serve them and help them grow to spiritual maturity.
If the Spirit of God is living in us and filling us, and if we sin, He convicts us of sin. He awakens our conscience. He helps us feel guilty – which is a good thing. The Holy Spirit helps us repent, and turn back to God and obedience and holiness and Spirit-filled living.
Being filled with the Spirit, walking with God, living with God, is the way we must live in this fallen world after we are saved.
What happens if we don’t follow the cloud by day or the fire by night? What happens if we are not filled with the Spirit and are not walking with God?
The same things that happened to Israel in the wilderness.
The Amalakites may defeat us. We may experience defeat.
Instead of being thankful, grateful and content, we will grumble and complain and displease God.
We may turn against our God ordained leaders.
We may refuse to go forward and enter the land. We may not grow to spiritual maturity or accomplish the things God wants us to accomplish.
We may want to return to Egypt. We may return to our old sins and bad habits and wrong ways of thinking.
Lord, help us to be saved, but not be satisfied with merely being saved, but seek You until we are filled with Your Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, and live in Your Spirit – all day, every day. Amen.