blogging Exodus 12: 8-39
8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover
. . . 31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.”
33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.
36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
. . . 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves (Exodus 12: 8-39).
Be honest. Sometimes you pray, “I trust you, Lord, but this right here: it don’t make no sense.”
I’m not talking about the moments when God asks you to do something extraordinary like face Pharaoh, or part a lake big enough to be a called a sea, or hit a boulder with a stick because that will produce --- water?.
I’m talking about the mundane directions God gives that seem unrelated to the thing you’re praying about. Like when you pray for a financial help and the Holy Spirit tells you to volunteer.
“Lord, volunteering doesn’t pay anything.”
Like when you pray for marriage and God tells you to break up with your significant other and move out.
“Umm, Lord, I wanted to be married, not ALONE.”
Like when you ask God to emancipate you and your entire enslaved community and grant ya’ll prosperity in the land of your ancestors, and God responds by telling you to season your food badly, eat it fast, burn the leftovers, and go into debt.
with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it (Exodus 12: 8)
eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste (Exodus 12: 11)
let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire (Exodus 12: 10)
. . . let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold. (Exodus 11: 2).
“Umm, Lord, I get the symbolism of blood on the doorpost, but why are we messing over perfectly good lamb meat? And why I gotta be all uncomfortable when I eat my dinner? And why did I go into debt, borrowing from the Egyptian folks when I can’t afford to pay them back.”
“I trust you, Lord, but this right here: it don’t make no sense.”
But then, while it was still night, when they Israelites had stuffed themselves with all the lamb they could stuff and gathered the leftovers to be burned, while they were mumbling, “What a waste,” THEN, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said.” . . . And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste.” (Exodus 12:31-33).
In the hours after midnight, word spread through the Hebrew slave quarters that every Hebrew man, woman, and child, along with all their flocks and your herds (Exodus 12:32), had to be ready to exit Egypt at first light.
Why bitter herbs?
To remind them of their bitter days in servitude, but maybe also because God knew that the bitter herbs available in the area would help prevent digestive complaints when the fast meal was followed by hard travel.
Why stuff themselves with lamb in one night?
Because like distance runners and hikers, the Hebrew slaves needed to pre-load on calories and carbs because they’d be burning a lot of energy in the next few hours and days.
Why burn the leftover lamb?
Because there was not time to properly dry, smoke, or cure the meat to make it safe for travel and without the explicit prohibition, many people would have carried mutton into the desert to spoil, make people sick, slow their progress, and potentially spread disease through the tight camp.
Why unleavened bread?
To represent simple holiness, but also because unleavened bread last longer, travels better, and is more practical for a community that has to get on the road quickly.
Why borrow all those valuables from their former masters?
Because between Egypt and Canaan, the Israelites would have no land, no farms, no crops, and no other way to resupply or construct the articles of their worship except with the gold, silver, and jewels they brought out with them. And how were slaves supposed to get gold, silver and jewels?
And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians (Exodus 12: 35).
Passover night, none of this made sense to the Hebrews. Passover morning, and it all came together.
Full, fully clothed, and stocked with travel bread and bags of Egyptian wealth, the Israelites jumped off of the straw mats in their slave huts, baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves (Exodus 12:39); grabbed their stuff; and exited Egypt.
God told you to volunteer because God knows that you’ll make a connection there that leads to a better job than you’d find sending out a hundred resumes.
God told you to end that relationship because God knows that it prevents you from growing into an individual who’s whole enough to be a good spouse and who’s whole enough to recognize the right one when God puts him/her in your path.
This right here, that God is telling you: it don’t make no sense. But God knows some things you don’t. He knows that you’ll have to make some moves in the morning that you didn’t expect to make. You know what you’re praying for, but God knows how to prepare you to receive the answers to your prayers.
This right here, that God is telling you: it don’t make no sense; but trust the Lord. It will.
---Anderson T. Graves II is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.
Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com
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