Old Testament Exodus A Night of Liberation

A Night of Liberation

If you were to walk through the streets of Goshen that night you would not have heard any noise of commission on the streets. The moon in full splendor with the lunar beams providing light. The doors were all shut to the houses and murmurs and muffled noises could be heard inside each house as fathers and mothers were telling their children that we cannot go outside tonight, tonight is a different night and tomorrow will be a brand-new day. You could imagine little Joshua and his father Nun having a conversation as Joshua asked his father questions, as any child does, why? Why did the lamb have to die? Because God told us that he would Passover the houses that have the sign of the shed blood upon the door posts. What about me, I am the firstborn just like you, how can we know we will be safe? Because God has promised that if he sees the blood of the lamb he will Passover that house, the lamb died for us to live. What if I wasn’t good today? My son, the lamb is sufficient to atone for you and my sins and everybody’s sin who he covers. What will happen to the people who do not have the blood on the doorposts? God has told us that he will strike them down and the first born in their household will die. Why did we ask our friends for gold and jewelry? Because God told your great grandfather that when we leave here we will have great possessions. Why did you not put leaven in the bread? Because God told us that we wouldn’t have time for it to rise. Why do you have your sandals and belt on? Because God told us that we need to be ready to leave when we are set free. Where are we going to live? God has a land that he is going to give us one that is flowing with milk and honey, that he has promised us. Father, how can we know any of this is true, does God keep his promises? My son, God never lies, God is always faithful. We are called to live by faith. Our great grandfathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all trusted God’s promises through faith. We have the assurance of the things we hope for and the conviction of things not yet seen. God told Abraham that all of this would happen, he has shown these great signs and wonders to those wicked people who have enslaved us, but tonight is the night when both you and I will be free from this slavery. Don’t take my word, trust God’s word. You will see, tomorrow these silent streets will be filled joyously singing from God’s people.

Today, in this passage we see how the same night can lead to different mornings. The Night for those who did not spread the blood on the door posts was a day of Judgement, for Pharaoh and his people. This judgement was pronounced and instantaneous, this judgement was non-discriminatory striking the first born in Pharaoh’s palace to the, hand maid to the prisoner. This judgement was somber and serious. Yet on the same night we do not see a night leading to mourning (m-o-u-r-n-i-n-g) but a night leading to liberty. Under the same moon came freedom. The night of darkness for some was the morning of light and celebration. So what do we learn about this liberty that set these captives free.

Liberty is pronounced and instantaneous

Just as judgment was pronounced to Pharaoh we must see God’s way is to also reveal the way of salvation through his word. He warns people of their sin and the folly but does not stop there. He had told the people how they could be saved. We see Egyptians in the seventh sign and wonder of hail obeying the word of the Lord because they feared him (Ex 9:20). The Bible does not only tell us that we are sinners with no hope of saving ourselves but it also tells us that there is hope of salvation for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. He sends prophets to warn and to call people to repentance. Jonah was sent to Nineveh to preach judgment, but the word moved in the hearts of the people and they repented. God has told his plan right back to Genesis chapter 15, he has told the people that he would save them and deliver them. They did not need to go out into the world and try and crack some code or solve some riddle. This is how most religions work they require the person to live by certain rules or accomplish certain tasks or live a certain way. Yet God from the very beginning has told us how he is going to save his people. He has pronounced the good news of salvation. I hear one preacher describe it recently that people think salvation is like ascending to a top of a mountain, that everyone just needs to get to the top of the mountain. He explained that Christianity is the only religion where God comes down from the mountain to save his people. The truth is that is we have this view there is a flaw in thinking and living this way, it assumes that we can climb the mountain. It either makes the mountain the size of a mole hill, or it assumes that once we get to the top we can stay there, but the most flawed aspect of thinking this way is that no one wants to climb the mountain, people make up their own mountains and rules that they can live and keep. The Pharisees did this, making their own traditions. Jeroboam did this with his own altars, priests and festivals. The basis of this is that it is man-made. That it depends on how man relates to God based on man-made rules. However, right from the very beginning the message of the Bible is about God saving sinners, not sinners saving themselves. God has told how we can be saved, through faith in his Son. God has pronounced his way of salvation. Time and time again in this chapter we see the people doing what Moses that told them to do (Eg. Ex 12:34). God did not tell them he is going to Passover them if they work out some way, he provides the way, instructs them in the way, they need only obey.

Notice also how instantaneous this salvation is. We see in verse forty they were in the land of Egypt for 430 years. But notice how quickly they were saved on that very Moses writes. They were saved in a moment. The whole nation thrusts them out, we are told in verse 39. IN great haste that they didn’t have a chance to prepare any provisions for themselves. We see it is not only Pharaoh who tells them to go (vs 31-32) but also the people of Egypt were urgent with the people to send them out. They were to eat the Passover meal with their sandals on and belts fastened (Ex 12:11). Just as the pronounced judgment came in an instant, so to did the pronounced redemption come in a moment. There is no probation period for those who put their faith in Christ. Jesus on the cross as he was talking to the thief who had previously mocked him did not say, sorry, I need to see at least six months of change before you can be saved. Sorry, you need to at least raise your hand and pray a prayer. Sorry, you need to give to the church. Sorry, you need to make everything right first. No, he turned and said, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). Salvation is free and pronounced it is here for you today. The Philippian Jailer asked the question what must I do to be saved? Their answer is simple, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). This work of God (Eph 2:8-10).

Liberty is nondiscriminatory

This liberty comes to all people. Notice in this passage the great number of people who are mentioned in verses 37-38. Now if you want to ask about that number is it too big too small, I am happy to talk to you about the different perspectives. However, let me just say that this number is realistic. It might seem large, but we had already been told in the opening of Exodus, “But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” (Ex1:7). They increased in number so much that the Pharaoh who did not know Joseph said they are too many and too mighty for them (Ex 1:9). And even after enslaving them they continued to grow and increase in number (Ex 1:12). Even after further attacks through Pharaoh trying to get the midwives to destroy the baby boys there was more increase (Ex 1:20). Pharaoh was afraid in verse 8 and nine and they continued to increase and multiply. One commentator said, “The idea of a people group growing from 70 to more than 2 million in 430 years is not implausible. It would require a population growth rate of 2.6 percent. This is extraordinarily high but not too far beyond the 2.2 percent growth rate seen worldwide in the middle of the twentieth century.”

This salvation comes to all people, children, men and women. Even we are told in verse 38 that a mixed multitude came up with them. We had seen God tell Moses in chapter 7 verse 5, “The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them” (Ex 7:5). We had already seen Egyptians fear the Lord just as the Midwives feared the Lord. You even see a clear inclusion that appears in verses 43-49 that the Passover could be kept by strangers if their males were circumcised. There is no mention of this circumcision prior to their Exodus.

Salvation is for everyone. Paul explains as the preacher goes out to pronounce the free gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:10–13). Jesus said that he is the door, “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9). If anyone enters he by Christ he will be saved. I do not know how the church got to preach a different message or labeled as haters. We should preach the same message to everyone, now not everyone is going to like that message. Paul said if our message had a smell it would smell like a newborn baby to some filled with life and to others it will have the smell of rotting flesh and death. But we need to preach to the gospel, you are a sinner and God has made a way to save us from our sin, his name is Jesus. The apostle Paul rebuked Peter for hanging out only with the Jews, Paul said it was not in step with the truth of the gospel (Gal 2:14). I think one of the most miserable aspects of our faith is that we are not accused as much as Jesus was for eating with sinners. Now notice they did not accuse him of approving of sinners, nor did they accuse him of becoming a sinner, but eating with sinners. Salvation is for all people and we do not discriminate, we all as one person gave me the other day have a recall notice out, it starts by saying, “The maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.” We preach that Christ saves sinners but do we believe it. Do we preach Christ to sinners? Do we eat with sinners? The Gospel is for everyone, everyone in this room today, and everyone else.

Liberty is victorious and joyous

Just as the judgement that the Egyptians faced was not some symbolic so to be this night a great day for the people of God and those who left Egypt. Redemption was now theirs, and freedom was something to have and to hold. Freedom was not a dream, a hope, an object of distant future but was now theirs. Given to them not because of their actions, but because of their gracious and merciful God who herd their cry and saved their lives. They left that morning as the Egyptians were mourning their loss, celebrating, and rejoicing. The People of God we free, no longer owned by Pharaoh, but they were to serve the Lord, the one with the outreached arm who set them free. God had judged the nation and its ruler and their gods. He has defeated them and conquered their enemy. Salvation had come to his people. You see this victory more subtly than the other points. You see it in the term used of the 600,000 men on foot, a term commonly used of an army marching, infantry. You see it in the term that the Israelites plundered the Egyptians. Like a victorious army would then go through the defeated city and plunder the goods throughout, now the Israelites did the same. The Israelites did not put on a sword and fight that night the Lord did it all for them. Notice in verse 29 that we see the Lord striking the Egyptians, and then in verse 36 the Lord had given the Israelites favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And in verse 42 it was the Lord watching over his people. This salvation came only through the hand of the Lord, as Moses points out in verse 42 that when they remember this night it will be kept for the Lord.

It is truly hard for us to fathom what happened this night. We were born into a countries known for freedoms and liberties. One that people from other nations seek to come to. We woke up this morning free to be able to worship our God. To choose an occupation, to have particular rights and freedoms. It is hard for us to imagine that we would belong to another person. That we wake up and build their house, living in slavery, and then in a moment everything changes. What song would you sing the next morning. We will see the song of joy they sing after they cross the Red Sea (Ex 15). But we have been set free we have hand the shekels of slavery broken. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:6-7, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Christ has died so that we might be free. The last enemy has been defeated (1 Cor 15:26). The famous Christmas carol Joy to the world was written by Isaac Watts based on Psalm 98, in this Psalm we see the themes of Salvation that is pronounced and instantaneous, open to all and one that brings forth praise and adoration.

The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!” (Psalm 98:2–6)

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