Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Passover

Season:  7 Feasts   Buy

Dannah Gresh: Here’s Erin Davis with a sobering reality.

Erin Davis: Sin leads to death. It must! Because of sin our entire world lives under the long, dark shadow of death.

Dannah: But that bad news is not the end of the story. Today we’ll hear how light entered that darkness! This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for February 18, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Does the message of the gospel overwhelm you with gratitude . . . or have you grown a little complacent? I think the more we understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us, the sweeter our celebration will be.

Today Erin Davis will take us through the first feast in Leviticus chapter 23, the Passover. Nancy is going to introduce today’s teaching.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Here at Revive Our Hearts, we do everything we can to get you into God’s Word and to get God’s Word into you! This week we’re having the joy of listening to a new series by my longtime friend, Erin Davis. Erin, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts!

Erin: I am so glad to be here!

Nancy: And actually, I shouldn’t be welcoming you back, because you’re a part of the warp and woof of this ministry every day 

Erin: I am!

Nancy: You’re managing our content. You’re the host for our Grounded podcast/videocast. I love how you take us to the Scripture, and how you connect the dots between even this kind of obscure passage in the Old Testament that we’re looking at and how it fits into the grand redemption story. I can tell that you love it, and you’re helping us love it. 

For those who are just joining us today, you need to go back and listen to the last session so you can get kind of the backdrop for this series on theseven feastsin the book of Leviticus, chapter 23.

If you have your Bible, which I hope you do, I want to encourage you to open it up or scroll to it. I want you to see this for yourself. We’re encouraging you to read through this chapter every day while Erin is teaching this series so she won’t just be telling what she has learned, but you’re going to be learning for yourself.

These were feasts that were given to the children of Israel through the prophet, Moses. They were part of their calendar, part of their rhythms every year during those years that they wandered through the wilderness and went toward the Promised Land. 

And then, even beyond, God established these rhythms for His people to help them praise Him, to help them know Him, to help them remember Him and His ways. These feasts have things to teach us, these were written for our benefit, even though we live on the New Testament side of the Cross.

At the end of today’s program, Dannah is going to tell you how you can get a copy of the study that Erin has written. It’s an eight-week Bible study called 7 Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. 

We want you to have a copy of that study and to go through it, maybe, with women in your church, or to go through it on your own. We’ll be glad to send that to you when you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, so we can get teaching like this into the hearts of women around the world!

So Lord, open our ears, open our eyes, open our hearts, and show us Jesus as we look at this core feast in the Old Testament from Exodus chapter 12—one of the most important chapters that it comes from in the whole Scripture! So give us ears to hear and receive today what you have for us. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Erin: I celebrated my twentieth spiritual birthday with back sweat and blisters! I was fifteen years old when I surrendered my life to Jesus. It was a hot summer night at church camp! As the twentieth anniversary of that important day in my life approached, I knew I wanted to celebrate it in a big way!

So I decided to walk twenty miles in a single day in an attempt to raise twenty-thousand dollars, and then to give that money away to the ministries that had most impacted my walk with Christ. Now, don’t let me romanticize this for you. 

It was July, which meant it was hot; I live in Missouri, which meant it was about 200 percent humidity. Walking twenty miles stops being fun somewhere around mile number eleven . . . which meant, I was out of shape. So, why did I give up a Saturday in my air conditioned home to pound the pavement in that heat?

Well, I wanted to remember. As I think back, I needed to remember that before Christ I was enslaved to the terrible taskmasters of sin and death. My spiritual amnesia makes it so easy to forget everything that Jesus has delivered me from.

That long walk was five years ago, and I still remember the blackberries I ate along the trail as I walked. I remember the sweet group of friends who met me at the trailhead at 4 a.m. with headlamps on to walk some of those miles with me. And my sweet momma walked every single step of that twenty-mile walk beside me! That walk was a significant event that marked an even more significant event in my life. And now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it, I’m glad it was hot. I’m glad I was uncomfortable.

That’s because I need frequent reminders—and I need them to be jarring—that there are people around me still enslaved. These people are my friends, they are my neighbors, some of them are members of my own family. They’re the other moms in the car line with me. They’re the other shoppers in the checkout line, and they do not have a moment of freedom to celebrate, because they’ve not yet given their lives to Jesus. They don’t know that He is their Deliverer!

We’re walking through theseven feasts. They’re recorded in Leviticus 23, and those feasts were given to the children of Israel through the prophet, Moses. Now, don’t let that word “feasts” trip you up at all. What the seven feasts were, essentially, they were their calendar. 

God was marking in their calendars significant dates that they were to observe as they wandered toward the Promised Land . . . and well beyond. I like to think of them as rhythms. They were rhythms that God established for His people, to help them to remember to praise Him.

The first feast mentioned in Leviticus chapter 23 is the Passover. Let me read us Leviticus 23:4–5: 

These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord's Passover.

To understand the significance of this feast, we have to flip backwards in our Bibles to the book of Exodus. In the book of Exodus, we see Israel is a shackled nation. They’re enslaved and forced to work for Pharaoh. He was threatened by their numbers, and he was worried that they were going to stage a coup against him. 

So he made them slaves. To further seek to control the Israelites, Pharaoh ordered that all male Israelite babies were to be killed at their birth. So let’s summarize: the beloved children of God were oppressed by an evil ruler. They were shackled to patterns that they could not escape from, and they were forced to live under the long dark shadow of death!

Now, each of the seven feasts in Leviticus 23 points forward beautifully to the gospel. As I think about those enslaved Israelites, I can’t help but see us in their story. Because apart from Christ, we’re all enslaved. Satan is a powerful enemy bent on our oppression, and sin is our terrible taskmaster.

Romans 6:23 is a promise, although it’s not one you’re likely to post on social media surrounded by watercolor flowers. Romans 6:23 says this, “For the wages of sin is death . . .” That’s a promise; sin will lead to death. I am so grateful that the second part of that verse is there, “. . . but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That’s the promise we want to focus on, and I can see why. But the first promise is right there in black and white: sin leads to death. It must! Because of sin our entire world lives under the long dark shadow of death.

And whether we have walked with Christ twenty years or twenty minutes, we need frequent reminders that we are living under an edict of destruction, tooIt’s only because of Jesus that our hope shifts from a life of slavery, ending in death, to a life of hope ending in freedom.

As we consider both the first Passover, which we’ll read about in Exodus 12, and the Passover Feast commanded in Leviticus 23, it’s fitting that the weight of our own sin sits on our hearts a little bit.

We want to race past this uncomfortable first feast and get to the ones that are a little more celebratory. But the reality is that those celebrations aren’t as joyous if we don’t first sit in the dark painful realities of this first Passover.

It’s part of the story God is telling through the feasts. As you study the feasts, you’ll see that they are a progression, it starts with sin and death, and it ends with a seven-day party! But we need to feel the weight of these first few feasts first.

Perhaps that’s why this Passover reminds me of that long, hot walk I mentioned. Something in me just needed every one of those twenty miles to remember the weight of sin that I live free of because of Jesus! 

So if you have your Bibles handy, flip with me to Exodus chapter 12. This is likely a familiar story, if you’re familiar with your Bible or you’ve been in Sunday school or in church very long. As we review it, it will be clear to us why we love to tell this story. 

It's got drama. It’s got intrigue. It's got a hero. It's got a villain. It’s got plagues—ten of them. My boys love those, the frogs, the locusts, that’s fun to tell those stories. They’re like birth pains, those ten plagues. 

They start and stop, and they increase in intensity, and they lead up to the deliverance of God’s people. When we layer the first feast on top of the first Passover and we add the gospel, we see how much the details of this story matter!

So allow me to read to you Exodus 12:1–13, and I hope you’re following along with me in your Bible: 

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” (vv. 1–5)

I would love for you to circle that phrase, “without blemish” in your Bibles. Maybe even put an arrow pointing forward, because that’s a clue about why this feast connects to the gospel. We’ll circle back to it in a minute.

Let me pick us up at verses 6–7: 

“And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.” 

Go ahead and circle that word “lintel.”

“They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it . . . and you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.”

“The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.’” (vv. 8, 11–13).

Scholars have spent wells of ink considering the significance and symbolism of Passover. I’d like us to zero in on two things: the lamb and the lintel. No word in God’s Word is wasted, and three whole verses are dedicated to describing the type of lamb that the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice.

Maybe as you’ve read about this feast before, you just kind of mentally fast forwarded through all of that. But it matters as we connect this feast to the gospel. I want you to hear verses 3–6 again.

"Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.

"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.”

Now, I’m a farmer, and so I know that for practical purposes any lamb would have been okay. The Israelites were just going to kill the lamb anyway. So why didn’t God let them take their oldest sheep for the slaughter? 

Why didn’t he let them pick the ones that were not desirable for breeding? Why did it have to be young and without blemish? That would have seemed incredibly costly to them. Well, the reason is because God was teaching His people a parable . . . and not just for those who observed that first Passover, but for all of His children—for you and for me. 

If we flip forward in our Bibles to 1 Peter 1:18–19, we’ll start to see some connecting points. We do a lot of flipping as we consider the seven feasts, because they connect so beautifully to the rest of our Bibles. 

Scripture in 1 Peter 1:18–19 says this:

You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

I live on a little farm, and we have different kinds of livestock. We had several years where we were raising sheep. It was lambing season on the farm, and there’s nothing I love more than lambing season on the farm!

There’s nothing sweeter than a baby lamb. You think that momma sheep are white, and then they birth those little lambs, and by comparison, the momma sheep look filthy. The lambs are pure white, and they have these adorable little pink noses, and they are almost always born as twins. 

So there are these two baby lambs. Very soon after they are born, they start to run and play in the grass. I just love to watch them. One afternoon near Easter, I was standing at the fencerow watching my baby sheep play and this thought occurred to me, What if someone came to the farm and murdered my baby lambs?

It would be horrific! And that’s what happened to Jesus. It’s a picture of Jesus, our Christ. He was as pure as a newborn lamb’s coat. His life was spotless, totally free from sin, and still He was murdered for sins He did not commit. Worse, He was murdered for sins I did commit! Crucified for us!

So by sacrificing that first Passover lamb, God’s people were telling a story—a story that pointed forward to Jesus, the spotless Lamb who would be a sacrifice for our sins. Which brings me to the lintel . . . 

Of all the discoveries I made in the seven feasts, I think the lintel might be my very favorite. Let’s revisit Exodus 12:7, “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.”

If you are a write-in-your-Bible kind of girl, I hope you already circled that word, “lintel.” You can go ahead and draw an arrow there pointing forward. Because in addition to the doorpost, which would have been the sides of the opening to their doorways, the lamb’s blood was to be brushed on the lintel of each home.

Well, what is a lintel exactly? It is the horizontal support that spans the opening in a structure; in this case, it's a door. Again, not one word in God’s Word is ever wasted. This is more than an old-timey architecture lesson, because a lintel is not just a pretty feature that you might pin on one of your Pinterest boards.

God was instructing His people to put the blood of the lamb on the load-bearing structure of their homes. And that perfect lamb’s blood smeared on that load-bearing beam would be the sign that the Angel of Death would look for to know to pass over the homes of God’s children.

On that very first Passover night, the children of God obeyed Him, though it must have seemed insane. Can you imagine? Kill a lamb and smear his blood all over your doorposts! Every home in your neighborhood. Picture it—every home in your neighborhood dripping with the blood of lambs! And yet, because they obeyed, the Angel of Death passed over their homes.

They remained safely tucked in their beds, and Scripture says even the livestock were safe in their stables. The Egyptians, on the other hand, did not know the command of God. And even if they had, they did not believe the God of the Israelites was the One True God.

Scripture tells us that Pharaoh’s heart was hard toward God, and he did not listen when God spoke through the prophets Moses and Aaron. And his people followed suit. So there was no blood on their doorposts, which was a sign of their rebellion against God. As a result, they suffered the death of all firstborn sons in their nation and all firstborn livestock in their nation.

Whether you’re hearing this story for the first time or the hundredth time, I want you to dwell on the consequence of their rebellion for a moment. In my home that would mean the death of my husband, Jason, the death of my son Elijah, the death of my father-in-law, Mark, the death of my own dad, Tom, the death of my pastor, Tim, the death of many of my friends, and the death of some of the livestock which right this very moment are grazing in the fields behind my house. Rebellion against God is so costly! And that is what makes the Passover so beautiful!

Let’s read Romans 5:9: 

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his [what? by His] blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

What is it that covers our sin? What allows us to be spared from the death sin always caused? It’s the blood of Jesus!

This makes me want to stand up on my chair and “whoop!” (That’s a thing farm girls do.) Because when it comes to our sin, the blood of Jesus carries the load!–not smeared on our doorpost, but smeared on the Cross for our sake.

Both the first Passover and the first feast are declaring that Jesus is the perfect, spotless Lamb, and that because of His blood, death has passed over us and eternal life is ours instead. That’s why the lamb had to be perfect, because those little lambs they slaughtered on the first Passover were a picture of the Lamb who would be slaughtered on the Cross.

Consider the words of Messianic Jewish Bible teacher Zola Levitt. He says this, 

Back to the meaning of Passover, it is surely the feast of salvation. On this day because of the blood of the lamb, the Hebrew nation was delivered from bondage. Clearly in both Testaments, the blood of the lamb delivers from slavery, the Jew from Egypt, the Christian from sin.

Each new year would bring waves of darkness for God’s people, as each new year does for us. Yet, God established the Jewish calendar so that very early in the year at twilight, as darkness fell, God’s people would remember, “We were slaves set free. We are a people reborn. We were spared from death by the blood of the Lamb.”

We can trace the Passover from Exodus 12 through Leviticus 23 all the way to the Gospels. Within a few hours of celebrating the Passover feast with his disciples, Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified. In His divine timing, our Passover Lamb was killed on Passover, following the pattern He established way back in Leviticus 23. 

So how do we observe the Passover feast in these days? We proclaim the Lord’s death, our Passover Lamb, until He comes. And right now, right this very moment wherever you are, you can pray a prayer of thanks. You can thank Jesus, that because of Him, death has passed over us. And that, in the lives of God’s children, all of God’s children, the blood of Christ bears the load. Let’s pray.

Jesus, thank You for being our perfect sacrifice. Thank You that Your blood bears the load of our sins. And because of You, death has passed over us. We’re so grateful. Amen.

Nancy: As Erin was teaching, I was thinking of that old gospel song we used to sing when I was a child: “Tell me the old, old story of Jesus and His love.” That’s what we see in the Passover. You know, the Passover story is a story that was rehearsed over and over again throughout Scripture—the story of redemption.

It foreshadows and anticipates God’s grand plan to redeem His people from bondage to sin and bondage to Satan, and it’s a picture of what God has done for us in Christ for every believer. But it’s also a picture of God’s judgment. 

Because those who did not exercise faith and obedience to God’s command, who did not kill the lamb, who did not place the blood on the lintel . . . what happened to them? Their firstborn son died when the Angel of Death came through the land of Egypt. So, someone or something had to die. Either the lamb had to die or the firstborn son had to die.

You say, “Oh! That’s so gruesome!” The wages of sin is death; it is gruesome! So you see here this incredible juxtaposition all through Scripture, starting back here in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, of judgment for those who do not repent and believe the gospel, or the great amazing gift of salvation that we have through Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed so that we could be spared! 

His blood was shed, as the Lamb of God, in our place. That’s what made Erin tear up while she was teaching today. That’s what ought to move you and me, and as you look back to Exodus 13 where we have this account of the original Passover: “Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place.’”

Do you remember the day that happened to you? Do you celebrate that? Do you go back and think about it? Or have you just moved past that old, old story? Has it just gotten old and boring to you? Or is it fresh?

One of the things I love to do every year on May 14 is to celebrate, remember that day, the day that I first trusted in Christ, repented of my sin as a four-year-old girl. I didn’t know all this language, I didn’t know all this teaching, I didn’t know about all these feasts. 

But I love them more now because I remember that day when Christ found me as a little girl and just reminded me that I was a sinner who needed a Savior! You may not be able to remember the exact day, but remember back to where God found you, how He delivered you from His wrath and from His judgment and how He purchased you with the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God! 

Never, ever get over it! Remember this day! And as you do, give thanks, celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of that day (which we’ll talk about later in this series) and then remember those around you who are still under the judgment of God, still under the wrath of God.

I’ve got neighbors who need Jesus desperately. I want them to experience that blood of Christ on the lintel, the support beam of their heart’s home. So we pray for them, we share the gospel with them as the Lord opens opportunities. Remember this day!

Dannah: Are you filled with wonder for the Lord and what He’s done for you? That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with some poignant thoughts about God’s heart for His people. And before that, we heard from Erin Davis. I sure hope this teaching has stirred up a fresh sense of awe and gratitude in your heart, as it has mine.

Erin is teaching through a series about the seven feastsdescribed in Leviticus chapter 23. She’s been making the connection for why those feasts matter for our lives today. And as Nancy mentioned earlier in the program, you can dive deeper through Erin’s study called 7 Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament.

Over the course of eight weeks, you’ll walk through the feasts of the Old Testament and gain a more thorough understanding of the Bible as a whole. When you give a gift of any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you a copy of Seven Feasts. It’s our way of saying thank you for your support. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959 to donate today.

I hope today’s program has whetted your appetite for more teaching, because we’ve only just begun to study the feasts and their significance. Join us tomorrow as Erin Davis continues in this series. She’ll be talking about bread . . . as in carbs? I think so. We’ll see when she explains the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Reminding you that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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About the Speaker

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many …

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