This, to me, is one of the most horrifying and touching passages. The thought of every family in the entire nation awaking to find their firstborn dead is pathos beyond my imagination.
Everything in these three chapters is about the children.
- God tells Pharoah that Israel is his firstborn--let them go...
- The Israelites ask for treasure from their neighbors, boldly as a child would ask and it is given to them as if a child had asked.
- The passover feast is specifically intended to pass the memory of the exodus down to the children of every generation
- At the beginning of the week, the whole family cleans out all the yeast from the house
- The passover lamb is to live with the family for three days before the sacrifice--becoming a beloved family pet--so they can understand the sacrifice God made for them
- Dinner is a family play, including a script and costumes
- After the Messiah, Christ, came, the tradition of the Afikomen was added (lit. "He had come" in Greek). During dinner the father breaks the second of the three matzo and hides half in a bag--the Afikomen--for the children to find at the end of dinner and the finder recieves a gift. The Afikomen is always hidden in the Father's chair and symbolizes the broken body of Christ that is hidden in the tomb and the one who finds it has indeed recieved a great gift.
- Since God "passed over" the firstborn of the Israelites, these all belong to Him and must be sacrified or redeemed.
- It is not wise to take children into battle. They must first grow up before they can face this difficulty. God sends the children of Israel around the violent Philistines because they aren't ready to face war. They leave Egypt "like" an army, but they are an army of slaves that have been treated like children. They are not warriors.
- Children must be led and accompanied. God Himself goes before them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
What do you believe is important to pass down to your children? How can you become intentional about passing it on?