Remembering God’s Activity
It can hardly be said too often, one of the great struggles of the Christian life is to remember what God has done. If we would accurately remember what God has done much of our fear, despair, and folly would be eliminated (or at least significantly reduced).
One way God called Israel to do this through feasts. Passover was one of these feasts. What, when, and how they ate was to remind them of God’s activity and to assist them pass these lesson on to future generations (Exodus 12:26).
Ceremony can give way to legalism and become sterile, but it can also be incredibly valuable. Might I suggest that families find ways to celebrate great acts of God with special family holidays? You might celebrate the answer to a significant prayer, the day of one’s salvation, a major event in the life of your church, or other significant events.
The goal of the celebration is to remember God’s activity, praise God for His goodness or faithfulness, and be encouraged in your on-going walk with God. The following lessons drawn from the Passover could build on the effectiveness of such a practice.
- Reserve this practice for major life changing events.
- Build the celebration around retelling the story of God’s activity.
- Decide on practices of celebration that are as much active/visual as verbal.
- Keep the focus on remembering God’s activity.
- Encourage questions as younger members participate and try to understand.
Unfortunately, our cultural calendar is built much more around national holidays, sports seasons, and gift-giving occasions than God’s involvement. As you create family celebrations of this nature, you will teaching your children (and learning yourself) to build your life story (and calendar year) around the significant acts of God in your life.
Exodus 12:7 In Light of Deuteronomy 6
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The instruction to put something on the “doorposts of your house” would have caught the ear of a Jewish audience. When they heard Moses’ instruction in Deuteronomy 6 they would have thought of the Passover from Exodus 12. When they were told to put something on their doorpost by the prophet Moses it was a matter of life and death.
Because we do not share the same heritage related to Exodus 12, we can take the instruction of Deuteronomy 6 much too lightly. We must also realize the message we are to place on the doorpost of our homes is not just the morality of the 10 Commandments, but the message of The Passover Lamb. We must seek to find ways to communicate to our children the same importance of knowing/responding to this story/message. This is part of the objective behind the celebration idea above.
Great & Awful Miracle
It might be that we reflect too little upon what it would have been like to have experienced the Passover. There was deliverance on a massive, historic scale. But there was also death on a massive scale.
Redeeming great sin and oppression comes at a great price. That can be a very difficult truth to swallow.
This need not merely be a reflection on the many “innocent” Egyptians affected by God’s judgment on a national sin, but also a reflection on the hard deliverance ahead of Israel. Their trip to freedom under God’s rule would be rocky and hard.
It is important for us to pause and reflect on this reality at this point in the Exodus narrative. If we miss this aspect of God’s work, we may question or doubt God’s goodness in our life or the life of those we love as God is redeeming great wrongs in our lives.
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.