Exodus 11:9-12:6 (NKJV)
But the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.’ ”
Christians, who are used to hearing about the Passover lamb, may be surprised to read that it can actually be either a sheep or a goat. The Hebrew word translated as “lamb” doesn’t distinguish, so the LORD takes time to make it clear. Either a kid or a lamb is OK, less than one year old and male only.
Goats are easier to care for than sheep and are a good source for food.
The other big surprise in this passage is that God declared the Passover as the start of the year. The modern traditional Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (literally “head of the year” in Hebrew) is celebrated in the fall. They still call the Passover the first month of the year though.
Putting something first is an ancient way to give it emphasis. That’s true in language as well as table seating. This will be the first month of the year forever. God is setting up a holiday.
He doesn’t want this forgotten.
Forgetting the great events of the past is forgetting the great lessons of history. Holidays remind us, but serious study is better. These devotionals were created for that purpose.
But don’t limit your study to just these devotionals, or even just the Bible. Find a passion for Christian history. Some folks love reading about the early church fathers. Others find the Irish Saints a rich source of wisdom and understanding.
The Reformation gave us great teaching too, as did modern saints such as William Wilberforce and Jonathan Edwards. Then there’s CS Lewis – my favorite.
A passion for Christ inspires a passion for learning.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: