The Deep Well with Erin Davis Podcast

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Episode 2: The Passover

Season:  7 Feasts   Buy

Erin Davis: Hey Dree, do you know the date of your spiritual birthday?

Dree Hogue: I do, very much so. It’s October 21, 1989.

Erin: That was back when the hair was good, and the music was good. That was back when the music was good but the hair wasn’t, I’m not sure.

Dree: Erin, do you know when your spiritual birthday is?

Erin: I don’t know the date. I’m amazed that you do. But I know that it was summer, the summer I was fifteen. I don’t know that I’d read the Bible for myself ever. But the Lord called, and I answered.

Dree: Every year that day, October 21, the reason I remember it is that it’s actually my mom’s birthday, and so that’s what helps me remember it. I don’t think otherwise that I would do that. But I always celebrate it with my family. Do you ever do anything special to celebrate your spiritual birthday, Erin?

Erin: Well, I don’t every year. I think that is precious. I love that idea. But when I knew it was going to be my twentieth spiritual birthday, I thought that was so significant that I wanted to mark that in some way. 

You know, all throughout Scripture God gives instructions to His children to mark things. Of course, the pile of stones and edge of the Jordan comes to mind, but there are lots of those kinds of things. So I thought, I’m going to find a way to just celebrate that I have been a child of God for twenty years.

So this won’t surprise you Dree, because you know me. This will probably sound like a very Erin idea. But I decided I’m going to walk twenty miles on or near my spiritual birthday, and I was going to try and raise $20,000 to give away to the ministries that had most impacted my walk with the Lord. 

So, I did! I didn’t raise $20,000, I raised several thousand dollars. But I did walk those twenty miles in a single day, and you know what? It was really hot; it was very uncomfortable. I didn’t train or anything. I just one day decided that I was going to walk twenty miles. So my feet hurt; it was uncomfortable, but I look back at that as such a sweet and remarkable day, because of what it represented.

Dree: Twenty miles didn’t seem like all that much until you were actually doing it, and then I was like, “Are you still walking?” 

Erin: It took me all day. I started at 4 in the morning, because it was July. In Missouri where I live it’s very hot, so I started at 4 in the morning to kind of beat the heat. I thought I’ll be home by lunch. But I was not.

But I did have some really sweet friends who met me at the start of the trailhead at 4 a.m. with headlamps. They walked the first few miles with me. My momma walked every single mile with me and did not complain ever.

There was a point where we both keeled over in the grass and decided we didn't want to go on. But then someone brought us some burritos; we ate some lunch trail side. And we finished; we finished the walk. Some other friends and family members gathered at the finish line and made a little finish line tape of toilet paper, and I crossed that. It was a happy celebration that I have been a child of God for two decades.

Dree: Welcome to The Deep Well with Erin Davis, a podcast from Revive Our Hearts. I’m Dree Hogue. 

In our last episode, Erin took us to Leviticus 23. We began exploring instructions God gave His people to hold seven feasts each year. Why did He do that?

These feasts were kind of like Erin’s twenty-mile walk; they reminded the people that they had been delivered. 

Here’s Erin.

Erin: We’re walking through the seven 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 is they were their calendar. 

God was marking in their calendar significant dates in their history that they were to observe as they wandered towards 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. This pattern begins with the first feast, the feast of Passover. 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 that 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 walked with Christ twenty years or twenty minutes, we need frequent reminders that we are living under an edict of destruction too. It’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. 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 that 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.

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’ll see how much the details 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 . . .

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 verse 6:

. . . 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.

Circle that word “lintel,” we’re going to come back to it.

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.

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 verse 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 that 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. First 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 raised 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. By comparison, the momma sheep look filthy. They’re pure white, and they have these adorable little pink noses, and they are almost always born as twins. So there’s these two baby lambs, and 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 fence row watching my baby sheep play and this thought occurred to me, What if someone came to my 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 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 a 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 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. And 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?] 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 causes, it's the blood of Jesus.

This makes me want to stand 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 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 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 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.

Dree: If you have come to faith in Jesus, you definitely have reason to celebrate! Erin’s been reminding us of that as we’ve studied the feast of Passover.

If you’re looking to learn more about this, I would really encourage you to get Erin’s Bible study that she wrote called Seven Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. 

It is rich and good and will provide an even deeper look into these truths that reflect the gospel in our everyday life. You can get a copy of that Bible study, 7 Feasts, by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com/TheDeepWell.

Erin Unscripted

Okay, it’s time for “Erin Unscripted!”

Dree: Erin, it’s hard to read about a story where the first born Egyptians were killed by God, and in your story you listed who you know who would die. That seemed really real to me. 

That triggered a little bit of this narrative that I’ve heard back and forth that if God was a God of love, if He was a loving Father, He would never fill-in-the-blank. So how would you respond to somebody who’s reacting that same way?

Erin: Well, I’m glad they’re asking those questions. I think if you read the story of the Passover and it feels warm and fuzzy to you, you didn’t read the story of the Passover.

I don’t know what you were reading or what version. I think maybe you were in People magazine or something. There are definitely many, many many places in Scripture that are hard to understand, are hard to accept, are hard to reconcile with our own realities and with who we want God to be. 

Often when I teach the Bible, I will hold it up and say, “If you’re not wrestling with this Book, you’re not reading this Book.” I mean, it is a wrestling match. So first I would give the women listening and all my brothers and sisters who struggle with parts of the Bible the permission slip to do that. 

Not that they’re waiting for me to give them a permission slip to do that, but there are parts of Scripture that are hard to understand. And especially related to the Passover, my sons will sometimes say, “That’s not fair.” And my momma response is you don’t want what’s fair, you don’t.

That’s so true of the Lord. We have this understanding of what fair is ,and God’s way of operating often doesn’t fit that limited human understanding. But I know one thing for sure, I don’t want what’s fair from God, because what’s fair from God is for me to be killed because of my sin.

For no one to be spared because we have all violated the holy law of God and the penalty for that violation is death. The fact that anybody was spared is a mercy. I don’t think I would look at it that way if I was an Egyptian momma who was burying my firstborn son beside perhaps my husband perhaps beside my livestock. 

That’s not necessarily a comforting thought, but I think it’s a reality that the way that God executes fairness is often not going to seem fair to me. But this is the gospel story. We like the good feelings of the gospel in that the gospel saves us and redeems us and man is that good news. It’s the best good news.

But it wouldn’t be good news without the bad news. And the bad news is that we’re sinners, sin leads to death, and that it’s gory and it’s bloody and it’s generational and it’s awful. We want to flee from it. 

So all of that is illustrated here in the Passover. I believe the Passover really happened. I believe that Egyptian women everywhere and men and grandmas and grandpas wailed on this night. But it was pointing forward to a bigger story, and you’ve gotta have the sorrow of sin. You gotta have the sting of death to really grasp the goodness of the gospels.

So, it’s uncomfortable. I get that. It’s uncomfortable for me too. But when you apply it to the gospel, I think it does help us see the gospel more clearly, more fully. So I’m grateful for that.

Dree: The Passover reminds us that there is something that we’re actually rescued from. There were a couple of things that you mentioned in the story that really stood out to me, really significantly.

One was the lintel, am I saying that right?

Erin: Yeah, that whole thing . . . When I wrote that, I yelled out loud in my little office, like, “What?” To me that whole discovery is worth the months long process of writing the 7 Feasts. If nobody ever read it and I just discovered that, that’s enough for me. 

It was that impactful to me.

Dree: I thought it was really significant because Christ bears our load. The other interesting thing that occurred to me was the generational impact that sin has. I just wondered if you wanted to unpack that a little bit more?

Erin: Well, I’ll do so cautiously, because I want to honor my own dad and my own people in my own family. I hope that my children someday when they talk about the impact of my sin on their lives are honoring me.

But it’s an absolutely biblical concept. Scripture talks about the sins of the father being passed down through the generations. So one thing that gets passed through the generations in my family is lying, we call it exaggerating, but we all do it.

Our spouses will all joke that every one of us exaggerates things by 20–40%, and it’s a form of lying. But we all do it. My momma does it; my aunts do it; my grandma did it. That’s kind of a benign example, there’s a lot less benign, except for it’s sin. And so in that way, it’s not benign.

Dree, I know your story, and you know my story. We’ve both been for better or for worse and some cases really for worse impacted by the sins of the saints that have gone before us, that are members of our family and chose to disobey God. It affects us still.

It makes me afraid, for lack of a better word, as a momma. I don’t want my children to inherit my sin patterns, but in doing so, they also inherit my need for Jesus. 

We see this with the Israelites. There’s just these patterns of sin that passed from generation to generation, even though each generation has these amazing encounters with the Lord. They still have a need for the Lord to redeem them, to rescue them, to restore them.

And so both get passed. The sin gets passed and some ways not all ways. Sometimes it just impacts you, but most of it has collateral damage, right? Jesus’ faithfulness is for every generation, so it’s good news and bad news. 

Dree: Okay, lastly, I just wanted to dive into this just a little bit. You’re a farm girl, and I’m a want-to-be farm girl. When you read stories in the Old Testament and you’ll see this in almost all the feasts, but when you talk about sacrificing an animal, we have such a disconnect with what sacrificing was all about. Talk about that a little bit. How do we, how do you connect with the idea of that sacrificial lamb?

Erin: Well, it’s extremely bloody. I think it’s possible that many of us go our whole lives without blood on our hands at all. That would have been totally foreign to the Israelites, who would have known to eat that you get blood on your hands.

We sacrifice some animals here on the farm. We raise our own chickens, and we slaughter them. We raise our own cows, and we slaughter them. We’ve never actually slaughtered our own cows until this year due to COVID; you can’t get butchering appointments, so we’ll be slaughtering our own cows.

So I know what it is to sacrifice an animal. I think you’re right; our culture could attach all kinds of things to that: that there’s some morality to it that it doesn’t exist if you eat that animal’s meat that has been sacrificed somewhere in someway. It’s bloody, and it’s gory. There’s no real way to bypass that.

So this Passover where they slaughtered these lambs, first of all, there’s nothing sweeter than a lamb. We’ve had lambs here on the Davis farm. You think your sheep are white until your lambs are born. The lamb’s wool is pure white, and suddenly the momma lambs look dingy. 

They’re so precious. They come out making that little “baa” sound. They’re usually twins, so you’ve got these two little faces, and that's who the Israelites are asked to sacrifice.

Not old sheep out in the field that nobody cared about anyway, but these precious, spotless lambs were to be slaughtered. That was what God instructed. The blood of these precious, spotless lambs was to be smeared on their homes.

Imagine that for a moment. I mean, we hang garland on our doorposts, and they are smearing the blood of animals on every Isrealite home—which we know from elsewhere in Scripture was in the millions. 

So, millions of lambs were slaughtered, millions of homes dripping in blood on the same night.. We want to sanitize that. We want to think that little lamb gladly went to the slaughter. No they didn't; they didn’t want to be separated from their momma.

We want to think that act of sacrificing that animal was somehow clean and tidy. No it wasn’t. It was gory, and it was bloody. We do not want to think about millions of homes with their doors dripping with blood. But that’s what happened. 

And so again, kind of like when we were talking about the hard truth of the Egyptian firstborns dying, I would encourage you to look hard at that when you’re in your Bible, and picture those lambs being slaughtered. Picture that blood, because it is a picture for a greater thing. We sacrifice animals on our farm. It’s a different kind of respect.

It’s what we eat. I’m so grateful to those chickens and those pigs and those cows. We don’t sacrifice them; we kill them and eat them. But their lives have meaning to us. And how much more so here. Of course, it was all pointing forward to our Passover Lamb, Jesus.

If you sanitize this story, and you take out the blood and the gore, then you’re going to be tempted to sanitize the crucifixion story and take out the blood and the gore there. If you take out the blood and the gore there, you miss what Jesus did for you.

It was brutal; it was bloody; it was gory; it was awful; it wasn’t fair. So you need to see it in both stories to try to at least on some level grasp what God did for each of us. 

Dree: So, we’ve talked a little bit about sin, about the consequences of sin, but in our next episode Erin’s going to take us to a deeper place.

Erin: Yes. Next time we’re going to talk about fleeing from sin, come back for that next time on The Deep Well. 

Dree: The Deep Well with Erin Davis is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ!

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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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