Hezekiah dipped another cloth into the water bowl.
As he swished it around, he watched as the clear liquid dissipated into a deep red.
A dark red.
A shiver went down his spine.
Let’s hope this is this only blood spilt at this house tonight.
Two weeks ago, they had gotten the news. God would be performing one final plague in Egypt. This plague would be worse than all the other plagues.
Worse than the bloody river.
Worse than the frogs and the bugs.
Worse than the dead cows, the painful boils, and the powerful hailstorm.
Worse than the three days of darkness.
Someone wants to say goodnight to you!
It was his wife. In her arms, their son.
“Papa!” He said with a big grin on his face.
Hezekiah smiled back as he gave him a big, bear hug.
Wow, buddy. You’re squeezing me so tight. Have you been working out?
Yes. I can’t wait to get my muscles big enough to move bricks like you do.
This was the reason that he was cleaning the bloody rag.
God had said, “About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt will die.” (Exodus 11:4)
It was hard to fathom.
Nahum was his pride.
He had his mother’s eyes and Hezekiah’s nose.
His mother’s smile and Hezekiah’s chin.
His mother’s gentleness and Hezekiah’s stubbornness.
He loved playing peekaboo.
He loved playing outside.
He loved making messes and refusing to clean them up.
Each day, Hezekiah slaved all day, in the hot sun, making bricks without pay for Pharaoh…
But when he came home…
And Nahum showed him strip of papyrus with an unrecognizable figure on it that Nahum pointed to and proudly proclaimed, “Daddy!”
It was worth it.
Hezekiah loved his son.
He was willing to do anything to save him.
No matter HOW crazy.
God had said, “Take a lamb…an unblemished year old male lamb…slaughter it…take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts.” (Exodus 12)
It hadn’t been easy.
The lamb was a good lamb.
A perfect lamb.
Hezekiah hated to slaughter it.
It was a mess.
Then, to take the blood and paint it on the door frames of the house.
As if some kind of horrific event had occurred within…
But it hadn’t.
And it wouldn’t.
God had said, “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (12:13)
It was as if the lamb had always had this purpose.
Since the time that bought it down at the marketplace a year earlier.
This lamb was never to be a meal.
But a substitute.
Tears streamed down his wife’s cheeks.
Do you think everything will be ok?
Do you think he’ll be ok?
Hezekiah gave her a kiss on the cheek. It took all he could muster to sound confident:
We’ve done all that we can.
We obeyed God.
Now it is in God’s hands.
I. God’s Judgment in Passover
The Passover is the climax of the plague. It is both a firm reminder of God’s seriousness against sin and an His incredible mercy. Before we finish the account, three lessons to take home.
God’s JUDGMENT is inclusive.
Inclusive is a nice thing.
It’s good to be inclusive of your friends to your BBQ.
It’s good for a workplace to be inclusive in hiring practices.
It’s good for a school place to be inclusive in teaching kids from a variety of social backgrounds.
It’s good for the playground when every kid gets recruited to play on a kick ball team.
God is ALSO inclusive…
With his judgments.
God said, “I will go out in Egypt and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh who sits on the throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill.” (11:4-5)
Again God said, “I will strike all the firstborn it the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments; I am the LORD.” (12:12)
Then, God did, “The LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon…” (12:29)
God brought judgment on Pharaoh.
And the officials.
And the assistants to the officials.
And the assistants to the assistants to the officials.
And the assistants to the assistants to the assistants to the officials.
God brought judgment on all the people.
And God will bring judgment on all people.
Psalm 96:13a says this, “God will judge the world in righteousness.”
Please don’t be foolish enough to think that you aren’t included in “the world.” Because it is so easy to think that way.
That the “world” means that Middle Eastern country over there.
That God will judge those atrocities in Asia.
That God will judge massacres south of the border.
But not you.
That God will judge that immoral celebrity.
That God will judge that phony politician.
That God will judge everyone in that other political party.
But not you.
That God will judge that guy on your Facebook feed.
That God will judge that gal at work.
That God will bring judgment to 101 Pine Street and 105 Pine Street, but skip 103 Pine street.
Because you live there.
No, God’s judgment is inclusive.
He will judge all.
That includes YOU.
Disobedience is DEADLY.
The word God uses here to describe his reaction to disobedience is STRIKE DOWN
That is a violent word, isn’t it?
It invokes anger.
It invokes cruelty.
It invokes decisive, destructive action.
For example, there was a mosquito who landed on my arm this past week.
He lifted up his blood sucking nose.
He inserted it into my skin.
So... STRIKE DOWN.
Pharaoh had been disobeying God for months.
The other Egyptians had joined them in his disobedience.
And anyone who disobeyed God and didn’t paint the lamb’s blood on the door would find out…
Disobedience is deadly.
It still is.
If you disobey God and speak harshly to your wife, it will kill your romance.
If you disobey God and send flirty text messages to the guy you aren’t married to, it will kill your marriage.
If you disobey God and continue in pornography, it will kill your ability to be intimate.
If you disobey God and continue your racism, it will kill community.
If you disobey God and drink too much, you’ll kill your friendships.
If you disobey God and pass on gossip, you’ll kill your reputation.
If you disobey God and hold onto pride, you’ll kill other’s desire for church.
If you disobey God and avoid time in God’s Word, you’ll kill your faith.
If you disobey God long enough…
God’s judgment will come.
And your relationship with God will be dead.
II. God’s Mercy in Passover
If disobedience brings death, then obedience must bring life… Right?
Just not YOUR obedience.
Around 10 pm the boy had fallen asleep.
For the next hour, Hezekiah had comforted his crying wife.
About midnight she passed out, exhausted.
But Hezekiah stayed awake.
4 am – Would God really be merciful to sinful him?
5 am – Would the blood of the lamb really work?
Hezekiah kept running that very thought through his mind.
To be fair, he wasn’t a genocidal Pharaoh, but he wasn’t perfect either.
He drank too much.
He was rough to his wife.
He didn’t worship God like he should.
He was too busy working to be with his son.
He had been disobedient before.
One night of obedience wasn’t going to make up for those sins.
But then again…
This night wasn’t so much about his obedience.
It was about God’s mercy.
He closed his eyes and prayed.
Please LORD, have mercy.
Suddenly, a warmth hit his cheeks.
He opens his eyes to see subtle rays of light coming through the window.
It was morning!
He looked over at his son.
His chest was moving up and down.
His nostrils were flaring.
His cheeks were flush.
He was alive.
God had had mercy on him.
And God has had mercy on you.
Our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, namely, Christ! (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Because what was the Passover?
The blood of an unblemished male lamb on the frame of the door moved God’s wrath to pass over that home.
Jesus was called the Lamb of God.
Jesus was without blemish.
Jesus was a male.
Jesus shed his blood on the frame of a cross.
And…God’s wrath has passed over you!
Jesus is our PASSOVER LAMB.
Jesus obeyed God perfectly.
He obeyed God by going to the cross.
He obeyed by becoming a sacrifice.
And his obedience brings life.
His sacrifice brings life.
Because of Jesus, you will live.
And as it said in that passage, this has already happened!
The sacrifice has already happened.
There’s no longer any kind of sacrifice left for you to make.
Which is freeing.
One of the reasons that guilt can be so difficult for humans to overcome is that sin has a way of imprinting itself onto our history.
Sometimes I can look back at some of my worst sins, I can so clearly see the event.
Maybe you can too?
We can see the faces of those that I hurt.
We can see the aftermath and tension.
We can see myself raising my voice, being lazy, being a jerk…
But…that’s not what God sees.
Because of Jesus, God sees something differently.
Where you see yourself raising your voice, God sees Jesus’ blood.
Where you see your sexual impurity, God sees Jesus’ blood.
Where you see the nasty messages you’ve type on Facebook, God sees Jesus’ blood.
See his blood too.
Trust in Jesus’ blood.
Because the blood of the Lamb means LIFE!
Later on that morning, Hezekiah and the Israelites received news.
Pharaoh was releasing them.
Not just letting them worship for a few days, but releasing them forever!
He hadn’t listened to God.
He hadn’t covered his doorframes with the blood of a lamb.
He hadn’t eaten breakfast with his son that morning.
Because he had died.
But the result was that the Israelites were free.
No longer slaves.
No longer stuck in Egypt.
The same is true for you.
Guilt no longer controls you.
Sin no longer controls you.
Shame no longer controls you.
Your Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.
You are free.