I’m sure that most of us can recall a memorable new year’s eve, or new year’s day that we participated in with our families. The Hebrew people of God were about to experience a New Year’s Day like no other. It would be so significant, that it would begin their new calendar. Every time a new year rolled around, they would be reminded of what had happened to them, and their forefathers way back in Egypt, when God sent the death angel, and delivered them from Egyptian bondage.
“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” Exodus 12:2 (NIV)
I believe that we can compare this to our Christian experience, and recognize some important things that God wants us to remember every New Year’s.
- Remember GOD and Who He Says We Are
We are God’s redeemed people. A people who have been delivered from bondage. Theirs was physical slavery, ours was spiritual enslavement . God came down, and delivered us. He did not allow us to remain in agony and suffering, and despair. He sent Moses to the children of Israel in Exodus as their Deliverer. God sent Christ to us, to deliver us from bondage and darkness, so that we could walk free and in His light.
They had no power to deliver themselves. Neither do we. God had to send one who would lead them out of bondage, into the marvelous liberty of the children of God.
That first New Year’s Eve, each family was told to take a lamb of the first year, a lamb without blemish, and then slaughter it on the 14th day of Nisan.
Tell the whole community of Israel that each man is to take a lamb for his family” Exodus 12:3 (NIV)
Then, they were to take the blood of the lamb, and sprinkle it upon the two side posts of their houses, and upon the upper door post wherein they would eat it. It was to be roasted with fire, They were to eat it with their shoes on their feet, and with a staff in their hand. They were to eat it in haste, because it was the Lord’s Passover.
The next thing that God wants us to remember this new year,
- Remember GOD and What He Has Done
Everything about what they were instructed to do was significant. God promised that when He saw the blood, He would pass-over them, and not destroy them as His plague
of death struck Egypt.
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Exodus 12: 21-23 (NIV)
Every firstborn child of the Egyptians died, but the Israelite children were spared because the blood of the lamb had been smeared on their doorframes. So begins the story of redemption, the central theme of the Bible.
Redemption means “to buy back” or “to save from captivity by paying a ransom.” One way to buy back a slave was to offer an equivalent or superior slave in exchange. That is the way God chose to buy us back—he offered his Son in exchange for us.
In Old Testament times, God accepted symbolic offerings. Jesus had not yet been sacrificed, so God accepted the life of an animal in place of the life of the sinner. When Jesus came, he substituted his perfect life for our sinful lives, taking the penalty for sin that we deserve. Thus he redeemed us from the power of sin and restored us to God. Jesus’ sacrifice made animal sacrifice no longer necessary.
We must recognize that if we want to be freed from the deadly consequences of our sins, a tremendous price must be paid. But we don’t have to pay it. Jesus Christ, our substitute, has already redeemed us by his death on the cross. Our part is to trust him and accept his gift of eternal life. Our sins have been paid for, and the way has been cleared for us to begin a relationship with God
We need to always remember that it is by the blood of Jesus that we are redeemed, and that apart from that blood we would perish with the rest of the world when God’s judgment falls.
Our redemption is in the blood of Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, who gave Himself for us, that we might be saved, and given a home in Heaven. Nothing but the blood can cleanse us, and rescue us from God’s judgment against sin and unbelief.
Another thing that I notice is that God wants us to
- Remember GOD and Share Him with Our Children
24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.
25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’
27 then tell them… Exodus 12: 24-27a (NIV)
The meal was prepared for the family and was to be eaten by all the family members. God’s concern is for the entire family and not just for the parents. If the precious Jewish children were not protected by the blood and strengthened by the food, they couldn’t be delivered from Egypt, and that would be the end of the nation.
When local church congregations today meet to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, God sees each individual assembly as part of one body, the church. That’s why Paul could write about “the whole building… the whole family… the whole body” (Eph. 2:21; 3:15; 4:16). Israel was one nation because of the blood of the lamb, and the church is one fellowship because of Jesus Christ.
Not only was the Passover supper an ordinance to be obeyed (Ex. 12:14, 17, 24, 43), but it was also a “memorial” to be celebrated to keep alive in Israel. After Israel had entered and conquered the Promised Land, it would be easy for the people to settle down and forget the great acts of God on their behalf. The annual observance of Passover would give Jewish parents another opportunity to teach their children the meaning of their freedom and what God did for them. The adults were to be “living links” with Israel’s past so that each new generation would understand what it meant to be a member of God’s chosen nation. The same is true for us today, we must share with our children why we accept Christ, read the bible, go to church, observe baptism and communion.
Lastly we need to,
- Remember GOD Gives New Life and Opportunities.
That New Year’s eve night was a night like no other! There would be a strange silence, and terror, and screaming, and there would not be a house where there was not one dead in Egypt among those who did not follow God’s instructions.
After that awful night’s experiences, they would take all their flocks and herds, and go out-to leave the land of darkness and death, and go with God, towards a new land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised…
27 Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. Exodus 12:25,27b,28 (NIV)
Many experience yet lay in the future for them. There would be challenges, and miracles, and doubting, and disobedience, but someday their descendants would enter the Promised Land.
God wants us to live a new life this year, we can ask forgiveness for the mistakes of the past, and walk with God, onward in our new land, trusting Him, and going where He leads.
If we do this, 2017 will be the greatest year we have ever experienced.