“I must hurry. There is so much to do,” Azara thought to herself as she considered all she had to do for her family. Her husband needed her to be strong. Her sons and daughter needed her to be strong. The last several weeks had been so confusing and nothing seem normal. Moses, the renegade prince of Egypt, had returned with a promise to set them free.
Being slaves of the largest empire in the world had been an exhausting life for all of the 35 years she could remember but it was at least predictable. It was predictably hard, predictably hopeless, and predictably routine. Conditions were not good but at least they had a community of people surrounding them that loved them.
Getting married and building a family in this environment was discouraging. What kind of future was ahead for her children? What good could come from it? Her sons would grow into strong men who would be forced to use their talents, strength, and muscle to build a better life for Pharaoh, who already owned everything and had the best that life had to offer. Where was Yahweh? Where was the deliverer? Were all the promises of being the favored people just fairy tales?
Everyone had such hope when Moses came on the scene with a message of God stepping in and taking them to a land of Promise! A land of milk and honey! But then the suffering began. Moses’ trips to see Pharoah seemed to bring nothing but more suffering and grief to the entire land. The Children of Israel suffered right along with the Egyptians as Pharaoh continued to resist.
Oh, the things they had suffered! Each plague seemed to be worse than the one before it! The last six weeks had thrown the entire nation into a chaotic state. Nothing was untouched by the plagues. The water had turned to blood, the plants had been eaten by locusts, the air had the smell of death from all the frogs and livestock that died, and people were suffering from the boils afflicting them.
The plagues had disrupted every routine and created fear throughout the land. The children were experiencing nightmares about frogs in their beds and still scratched at their skin even though the problem had disappeared. And the stench that came from the river when it turned to blood! It made one want to gag with every breath. When would this end and what would happen to her family? There was so much suffering and uncertainty….
Azara tried to maintain some kind of stability for her family. Her husband was strained beyond belief with the new work orders imposed by Pharoah. He left before dawn and came home at dark exhausted from his day of making bricks. She could not bring him one more complication to deal with, so she handled the day-to-day things to the best of her ability.
But today…today was different. Her husband came home with news that made her stop in her tracks. Moses said the worst plague to come was going to happen in the upcoming weeks and it would be more devastating that all the others combined. It would change the present and the future of every family in Egypt including the Children of Israel. The Angel of Death would sweep through Egypt and the firstborn of every family, and every animal would die if the instructions were not followed exactly. (Exodus 12)
It was horrible enough to know there was an Angel of Death but the anticipation of it coming to their street was unimaginable. The news was at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts as soon as they woke up each morning.
She had to prepare and make sure they had everything needed to follow the instructions! How was one supposed to do this? This had never happened before. There was no one to ask. There were no reference points. All that was available to them was the assurance of solid obedience bringing about the best result…life, in this particular situation.
They knew what to do. The blood of a male lamb, unblemished and in its first year of life, must be painted around the doorpost. If the lives of those inside were to be saved from the Angel of Death, it would be because the blood of the lamb was on the doorpost of their home.
As the days passed, she kept her children close to her. She went about her daily business with one thing in mind - being as prepared as she could be to keep her family alive when the Angel of Death came to town. She felt so out of control. The daily tasks gave her somewhere to focus her nervous energy as the chosen day got closer.
She had never known freedom. She had been born into slavery. All of Israel had been in slavery for 400 years. She daydreamed about what freedom would be like for her family and those she loved. Would there be more laughter around the campfires at night? Would her children’s eyes sparkle with hope as they shared their ideas and dreams with her? Enough daydreaming. She had work to do and she needed to hurry.
TWO WEEKS LATER………………………………TONIGHT WAS THE NIGHT
That afternoon Azara had fixed the meal according to the instructions of Moses and her husband had painted the blood around the doorpost. This blood was different from what was in the river. This blood had the fresh scent of life in it from the lamb that had been sacrificed just this afternoon.
It was odd and a little unsettling to see it on the doorposts of all the dwellings around her. What exactly did this mean? Why was this required? She didn’t know but the fear in her heart wouldn’t let her dwell on it long. All she knew was that they had been told the Angel of Death would pass them by if the blood was put on the doorpost. So…they put the blood on the doorpost.
That night after eating dinner with the family, she and her husband checked the doorpost one more time just to make sure it was covered with the blood. Then they waited for darkness to fall. They sat up all night and watched their children sleep making sure their chests were still moving up and down as they breathed in and out.
As the sun rose, Azara heard a cry coming out of Egypt that had never been heard before. The cry of mourning.
The Angel of Death had visited the land. Things would never be the same after what became known as the first Passover. Not only were they alive but now they would also have freedom. The blood of the lamb had saved the Children of Israel and life was about to change…
Generations of Israelites had dreamed of freedom, but none could have imagined it would come by the blood of a lamb. How desperate was Azara for the blood of the lamb to save her loved ones? They had one hope. And the blood of the lamb was it.
It is the same for us….
When we take Communion, are we as grateful as Azara for the blood of the perfect lamb available to us? Eternal life is offered to us because Jesus shed his blood for us.
Jesus would have heard the details of that first Passover his entire life. His family would have celebrated it every year. But He knew this year would be different for Him.
I wonder what His thoughts were in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed. Did he think of the significance of the blood on that first Passover night and what was about to happen to Him on that Cross? I wonder if our faces flashed before Him as he willingly walked to that Cross for us.
What I do know is that He wanted us to take communion in memory of Him, the Perfect Lamb. Just as Passover symbolizes freedom from slavery, communion reminds us that Jesus set us free from the slavery of sin.
The blood of the Perfect Lamb and a resurrected Savior brings life to our life. Who the Son sets free, is free indeed! (John 8:34)