Background: Abraham from our last lesson did have a son (Isaac) who had a son (Jacob) whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob had 12 sons and each became a head of their own family and collectively all these descendants of Abraham became known as the “children of Israel”.
Due to a famine the children of Israel relocated to Egypt where they spent 400 years. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, feared their growing numbers and made them his slaves. The Israelites cried out to God and sent Moses to deliver them.
Nine horrible plagues failed to persuade the king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go. God announced one final plague. “And the LORD said to Moses, “I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether”. That plague was the death of all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.
Reading: Exodus 12.
The Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb, to eat it in their houses, and to place the blood of the lamb over the doors of their houses. The purpose of the blood is explained in Exodus 12:12-13, ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 ‘Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
This was a great turning point for several reasons…
- The Israelite’s were set free from Egyptian bondage. Egypt awoke to the horror of death and they begged Israel to leave.
- The promise that Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation was now fulfilled. When they left Egypt they were independent. What does verse 37 tell us about the descendants of Abraham?
- This is the origin of the Passover feast. In addition to the original Passover night in Egypt, the children of Israel were also instructed to observe the Passover every year going forward. It is called the “Passover” because God passed over the homes of the children of Israel.
The Passover night in Egypt was both exciting (the Israelites were set free!) and horrible (every firstborn among the Egyptians died). For us the cross of Jesus is both wonderful and horrible. In what ways is this true?
Last lesson in Genesis 12 we learned about 3 promises to Abraham. Which of these 3 has now been fulfilled?
God’s promises to Abraham:
- A land I will show you.
- I will make you a great nation.
- In you all families of the earth will be blessed.
In this lesson we became acquainted the origins with 3 terms that most everyone has heard. Test yourself on this….do you understand the meaning of “The Children of Israel”, “The Exodus”, and “The Passover”?