28. What Does This Mean?
What Does This Mean?
Exodus 12:26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, “What mean ye by this service? And Exodus 13:14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, “What is this?” that thou shalt say unto him, “By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage…”
These are questions that God had Moses put in this book. God asked the question for the purpose of looking back at this time in history. He had set down that the Hebrews would remember this event every year by celebrating The Passover. It is a looking back on what great things God had done for them to set them free from slavery. We know too, it was a type and a shadow of Christ, the Messiah, setting us free from our sin. It is a redemption story in that something was sacrificed to redeem the people from bondage.
It is also a looking forward, in that, the Hebrews would know there is a hope and a future for their children. The children will hear this story that they escaped, survived and thrived as God’s people. This created substantial hope for future generations. The Passover would be a rich heritage that would be observed every year. This is how God nurtures us. He puts things into our mind. So, for each child growing up in the Hebrew nation, this time of feasting would be put into their minds. The children would know what a mighty God they serve.
God also knew He wanted to provide not only a celebration to commemorate the Passover, but He wanted the fathers to teach their children. So, He prepared the dads to see there will be a time when your children will ask, “Why are we doing this?” “What does that mean?” And you had better know what to say to your next generation so they can tell their kids and so on. He opened the door for dads to have a teaching opportunity about God.
In the traditional Jewish Seder, the meal that is celebrated at Passover today, they have a child (or children) appointed at the right time to stand up and ask these two questions. It is representative of what Moses originally wrote but I believe it is formal and takes the responsibility away from the father to explain in his understanding what they are celebrating and why. Hopefully, it does open the door to curiosity as the feast moves forward. And confidently the father of the child takes this opportunity to bring the richness and depth to a traditional ritual.
I find it so thoughtful of our Lord to provide all this forward-thinking in families. It is refreshing to find these two questions amid commands about how to observe the event that happened in the lives of the Hebrews. That is Love. Helping the fathers to know that their duties are to revere the Lord, and to lovingly instruct the children about God and His amazing redemption of His people.
Here is an example of how much God wanted us to instruct and nurture (put in mind) these things in/with our children.
Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (emphasis mine).
Since we are God’s children, adopted in, do you think we can freely ask these questions of God about what He did and will do to miraculously save us from our bondage? I believe these questions here in Exodus, tell us God expects His children to have questions. It seems like He has opened a safe place for us to inquire about His work.
Matthew 18: 3 (Jesus says) …”Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Will you ask the Lord about what He did and why He did it? I encourage you to do so. He might just answer with a clarity that you would not have had if you had not asked!!! Become as a child, behold with wonder our Nurturing Father.
Leave me a comment.