A Permanent Law

A Permanent Law January 25, 2023

Scripture:       

Exodus, chapters 12-13; Psalm 21; Acts, chapter 1

Exodus 12:24-27 (NLT):

“Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped.

Observations:

A permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever.  That leaves little room for doubt about how important the Passover was!  This event established the nation of Israel as God’s people. God led the people out of Egypt and out of slavery, and they began their journey to their new home. All those years before, God had promised the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a permanent possession for their descendants. In the intervening years, surely people doubted whether it would ever happen. But God honored his covenant, and now he told the people to remember it forever.

Passover represented God’s deliverance, his faithfulness, and their identity as the people of God. You would think that no one would have to remind them about that! But God understood the way we are. All of us have had watershed events in our lives, events which shaped us and formed us into the people we are.  We would never forget those events!

But we do.  Oh, when we stop and think about them, we remember – but as time goes on, those events lose their power in our lives.  That is, unless we make a point of remembering them, reliving them, reminding ourselves of their importance and what they mean to us.  That’s the point that God made in making the Passover a permanent law, and in instructing them to tell their children about it.  The Passover was not just for that generation; it established Israel for all time, and they needed to intentionally remember it to stay connected to the God who had redeemed them.

Application:

What events are there in our lives which are foundational for us? For those of us who follow Jesus, our salvation experience would have to rank at the top of the list. After all, our salvation is for us what Passover represented for Israel: God’s redeemed us and established us as his children.

Unfortunately, as time goes on, we tend to become less diligent in remembering and reliving what our salvation means. Our children grow up without truly understanding what it means that God redeemed us and adopted us as his own. Think about it: even with the annual Passover celebration, the Israelites struggled to stay connected and faithful to God.  Why would we be any different?

In chapter 13, Moses tells the people: “On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt’” (13:8-9, NLT).  I believe that God is reminding us that we need to remember how he saved us – a permanent law.  Not a “law” in the sense of a “rule” to be followed, but a “law” in the sense of a governing principle of our lives. Because of who we are – because of what God has done for us – we need to always remember and relive God’s work in our lives!

Prayer:

Father, thank you for redeeming me. Help me to remember – to make it a “permanent law” to celebrate and proclaim what you have done for me.  Inspire your people to live so that people will know that joy and peace come from you.  As Paul put it: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT).  Amen.

 

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