Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 12:40-42 (NIV)
Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.
Exodus 12:40-42 (MSG)
The Israelites had lived in Egypt 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, God’s entire army left Egypt. God kept watch all night, watching over the Israelites as he brought them out of Egypt. Because God kept watch, all Israel for all generations will honor God by keeping watch this night—a watch-night.
“Now the period of time the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. At the end of the four hundred and thirty years, to that very day, all the hosts of the Lord [gathered into tribal armies] left the land of Egypt. It is a night of watching to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out of the land of Egypt; this [same] night is for the Lord, to be observed and celebrated by all the Israelites throughout their generations.” -AMPLIFIED
We are told that the children of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years. Can you imagine what the exodus looked like with 600,000 men, plus woman and children, exiting the land of Egypt in a great hurry? Can you see the long line of people snaking out of the land as they hurriedly grabbed what they could carry and quickly left before Pharaoh changed his mind once again? Can you envision the sights and sounds of the people as they streamed out of the land herding their livestock as swiftly as they could get them to move? What a sight that must have been!
The people set out with a purpose, but definitely without delay. It was turning out just as Jehovah had told them it would. Be ready to leave quickly, He had said. “This is how you are to eat it (the Passover meal): with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.”
It had been a long difficult 430 years. Remember way back in Exodus 1? “A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm, “There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We’ve got to do something: Let’s devise a plan to contain them, lest if there’s a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us.” So they organized them into work-gangs and put them to hard labor under gang-foremen. They built the storage cities Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the harder the Egyptians worked them the more children the Israelites had—children everywhere! The Egyptians got so they couldn’t stand the Israelites and treated them worse than ever, crushing them with slave labor. They made them miserable with hard labor—making bricks and mortar and back-breaking work in the fields. They piled on the work, crushing them under the cruel workload.” -Exodus 1:8-14 (MSG)
Notice the words of our text, “… the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt.” God was keeping guard. He was on watch all night long as the Israelites left the land of their oppression. Nothing was going to harm them because God was on the job! I am sure at this time, after seeing the mighty works of God against the Egyptians, the Israelites could testify to something that David voiced many years later; “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life -of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
Because of what Jehovah did for them, the children of Israel were instructed to remember this particular night throughout the generations by celebrating the Passover. It would be their watch-night; a time of remembering and celebrating what God had done for His people! It was a demonstration of the grace and mercy of God extended to mankind. On a side-note; Exodus notes that many other people left when the Israelites moved out from Egypt, “A mixed multitude [of non-Israelites from foreign nations] also went with them.” Many theologians feel that there were even Egyptians that went along with the Israelites; for they had seen the mighty works of the Lord and decided that this God of Israel, Jehovah, must be the One True God.
God is watching over us too. We are never alone. His mercy, grace and protection is extended freely to us. Trust Him; He has your back.
Lord, I will trust you; for you have promised to never leave me or forsake me. I believe that your love covers a multitude of sin; including my own. I thank you that your mercies are new every morning and great is your faithfulness. I praise you for who you are; the One, True God! There is no one like you; nor will there ever be! Jehovah, you are amazing and I am blessed!