In the days when Egypt was the most powerful country of the known world, they took in many people from other lands because of famine throughout the Middle East. Egypt had plenty and shared with many. But the Pharaohs changed, hearts changed, populations grew. By 1400 BC, the Egyptians felt the Jews had overstayed their welcome. Finding their growing population a threat, Egyptian leaders decided to make the Jewish people slaves. They became less than everyone else, doing the work that Egyptians wouldn’t do. As their times became more and more tragic and desperate, they cried out to God for relief and deliverance. God heard their prayers and with 9 plagues He tried to convince the Pharaoh of Egypt to release the Jewish population from slavery and give them freedom. But instead, Pharaoh's heart was hardened against them. God brought to the Egyptians a most unthinkable 10th plague - death to the firstborn of all households.
Passover is the celebration of the miracle God used to protect the Jewish families from this horrific firstborn judgment. He gave them advanced, specific instructions to follow the day before He was to take the lives of the non-Jewish firstborns. All Jewish families obeyed to the very detail, including that of painting their doorposts with the fresh blood of a perfect lamb. This Blood caused the Lord to pass over those homes and spare the lives of the children there. God had given them a way to obey and find mercy! His mercy was their salvation! Passover is a time to remember this God of Mercy and Grace.
For the Jewish people, Passover today is much more than a family dinner with required food items, repeated prayers, or something they do to be different. It is all of those things; however, the heart behind the celebration is sincere, and throughout generations the most blessed component of Passover is that of “remembering.” They remember that God delivered them from Egyptian slavery to freedom.
The Jewish people today begin Passover with a Seder dinner. This dinner sets the tone for the entire week of activities. They focus on the importance of remembering, faith, and family. They remember what God has done for the Jewish nation, the miracles performed in order to maintain their mere existence, Abraham’s seed and the promise God made through him. They remember how powerfully God has worked as their provider, protector, and source of life. Their ability to do so enables them to see that their future is in God’s hands and He has a good place for them.
Pray for peace in Israel as Passover is celebrated all over the world by saying the words they say:
“NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!”
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