By Faith V

28By faith, Moses had kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood in order that the destroyer would not touch their firstborn. (Heb. 11:28)

Both verses of Hebrews 11:27-28 occur at a time of flight from Egypt. In verse 27 Moses at the age of 40 flees Egypt to Midian for killing an Egyptian; in verse 28 Moses at the age of 80 is on the verge of leading Israel out of Egypt to worship God in the wilderness.


The first instance involves only Moses himself; the second instance involves millions of people, probably most of whom had never been out of the country.


The Old Testament context is Exodus chapters 11-12 where God instituted the Passover and executed it. It is the last of the 10 plagues and the one that broke the camel’s back. With it, Pharaoh will at last let all of Israel leave Egypt to go and worship God in the wilderness.


The final plague is the only one that actually involved the presence of God as he would pass over the homes that had lamb’s blood sprinkled on its door frames. With this plague, God was going to vividly distinguish Israel from Egypt in the loud nighttime wailing over the many deaths throughout the land of Egypt, but not even so much as a dog barking in the land of Goshen where Israel lived. The door frames of the Egyptian homes would have no blood sprinkled on them, whereas Israel’s would.


So Moses said [to Pharaoh], “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man of animal.’ Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’” (Exod. 11:4-8)


This is the war God would wage against Egypt. Israel would have nothing to do with it, atucked in their beds during the calamitous night. On the other hand, God would strike down the future heritage of Egypt in killing all of its firstborn sons. All his countrymen’s blood would be on Pharaoh’s hands because of his repeated refusals to let Israel go, especially in rejecting Moses’ words about this coming last plague.


God’s further instructions to Moses required Israel to make bread without yeast. Including yeast on the dough requires time for the bread to rise. By leaving the yeast out symbolized the immediacy of their flight. They were to eat the bread without yeast the night the Lord would pass over Egypt, for the next morning Pharaoh was going to let Israel leave the country. He would have enough, with his son, the heir to the throne, having died during the night.


Imagine if you were tasked by God to go and tell Israel to get ready to leave Egypt because of what God was about to do. It was the first plague of the 10 plagues that required Israel also to obey God, lest the announced plague would bring crushing heartache into their homes as well.

But all of this require faith. God had not done such a thing before. Moses had to take God fully at his word as surety for the coming judgment, which featured the redemptive quality of the lamb’s blood for those who obeyed God.


As God would instruct Moses later in the wilderness regarding the animal sacrifices the priests were to offer in the Tabernacle, life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11; Deut. 12:23). God’s passing over the homes of Israel in Egypt that had the lamb’s blood smeared on their doorframes meant life and deliverance from bondage in Egypt for all in the home—including the firstborn son.


Ironically, a time was coming when the blood of God’s ‘firstborn Son’ would provide full and final deliverance for all who accept it.


In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Eph. 1:7)


Jesus Christ did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb. 9:17)


For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)


As it required faith for Moses, so it does for us. Moses had to trust God’s promise that the Passover act would prompt Pharaoh to let Israel go, despite his continued obstinacy in the past. Through this act God was about to redeem Israel by taking them out of the country of their enslavement.


The same is true for us. We are trusting that through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish or spot, God will redeem us from slavery to sin and take us to live with him forever.


Both required(d) faith in a work yet unseen. But the common denominator was the blood of a lamb. But unlike the Passover lamb for Israel in Egypt, the second Lamb would come back to life, thus guaranteeing the promise of redemption that was yet future.


Faith is hope in what is yet unseen. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ shows that this promise is not ‘hope against hope, but only a matter of time.