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Apr 10, 2020 08:00am
The Very First Shelter-in-Place Order was Given to Israel
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I’ll admit that I’m resisting too much change from my routine, although I’m getting my mind right for that eventuality. As I’m hearing about the states that are imposing “shelter in place” regulations, in Exodus I see what may be the first shelter in place event ever recorded. You remember that event?  Sure, it was Passover. Charlton Heston was there. Yul Brynner was there, too. 

In Exodus chapter 12 we see that in preparation for God’s wrath on Egypt for the abuse of God’s people, that Moses told the people, “None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.”  The folks involved in this situation were lucky:  

Only a few hours were involved, so their toilet paper supplies weren’t at risk.  Anyway, I digress. Here is God’s command: 

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: “This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ households, one animal per household . . . then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them . . . 11 Here is how you must eat it: you must be dressed for travel,[c] your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. I am Yahweh; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. 13 The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 “This day is to be a memorial for you, and you must celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. You are to celebrate it throughout your generations as a permanent statute

 So, I’m thinking about the Passover and the shelter in place and considering what applications we might take away:

1) It was a new beginning – v2.  Every major event in our lives is an opportunity for a reset.  A chance to start over.  I’ve been thinking more about the interruption and disruption of these days rather than the opportunity for something new. I’m praying that this situation will give me a perspective that’s positive and not negative.           

2) It was a family/community event – v3. The night of the Passover families, and in some cases neighbors, huddled together. I wonder what they talked about?  I’m sure they talked about their fears.  I’m also sure that some used the opportunity to calm fears. All across the world today there are families and groups who are huddled together and doing the same thing.  I’m praying that I’ll lead my family in a way that calms fears by remembering who is really in charge and trusting Him.    

3) It involved sacrifice – vv3-6. It isn’t obvious just yet, but there are going to be needs that show up from this event.  When it happens I pray that I’ll be ready to respond with an “offering”.  Not just a so-so offering, but the best offering I have.    

4) It involved a profession – v7. In order to escape God’s wrath, people had to be willing to make a public statement . . . in blood.  Events like these are windows of opportunity for us to tell the world who we’re trusting.    

5) It required readiness – vv11. I don’t remember that the people were told “how” to eat, but they were told to eat “in a hurry”. There it is! (Now I have a verse for my wife when she tells me to slow down and not “wolf down” my food.) Why did they have to eat in a hurry? Because God was at work! While they were sheltered in place, being obedient, remembering who God was . . . he was doing a work in Pharaoh’s heart so that when God’s perfect plan was accomplished, they needed to be ready to get out of Dodge!  To mobilize, to take advantage of an opportunity, to be free. 

I believe that God is at work in this event. I really do.  While it may seem like the world has hit the “pause button”, God is doing a BIG thing. We need to have our sandals on and be ready to move out when he gives the signal. When will that be? I don’t know, but it’s coming.                    

6) It required confinement – v22.  Are you getting cabin fever?  I confess that I don’t like the feeling of confinement.  However, it serves a purpose – our protection. I talked with someone yesterday who told me, “I’m not going to let anyone tell me that I can’t go out!”  He’s a good guy but he’s also being a knucklehead. There is a time to be confined, restricted, restrained, or subdued. The Bible tells us that God said, “Be still and know that I am GOD”.        

7) It included worship – Exodus 12:14, 25-27. Notice that the Passover event was a worship service.  Are you worshipping these days?  Are you thanking God for his protection for you and your family?  Are you praising God that he knew about this before it happened and that he’s in control?     

8)  It included remembrance – Exodus 12:17, 24-26.  In these verses the people were told to remember what was happening . . . for the future.  I like how God said it in v17: ”. . .  on this very day I brought your divisions out of Egypt.”  Notice that?  He said brought out . . . past tense.  God said he had already done it.  Know why?  Because God had already experienced it!  He had already been with them as they struck out toward the Red Sea, saw them pass through, saw them roasting quail and eating manna, and drinking spring water out of a rock.  He had already seen their deliverance and was telling them to celebrate it in the future!  

Man, that’s good! Later in v26 God tells them to be ready to tell their children about his faithfulness and how he spared their homes. I am praying that I’ll also use this opportunity to tell my family about a certain future and a God that can be trusted.         

9) It required obedience – Exodus 12:28. Who was spared in the Passover event? The obedient. Those who offered a blood sacrifice.  It’s sad to think that there will be folks who lose their lives to this virus. However, it’s even sadder to think that some of them will leave this life and be separated from God in eternity because they didn’t “apply the blood of the Lamb” in their lives. 

I pray that you are ready.  

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