A Meal of Remembrance with Dr. Darrell Hall

A Meal of Remembrance

Dr. Darrell Hall


"Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 


For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 

It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?' that you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.'" 


So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did." –Exodus 12:21-28 NKJV

Think back to some pivotal times in your life, whether negative or positive, where you’ll never forget the conversation that took place at a table. For some, hearts were broken at a table over a meal. Others may think back to happy times when meals accentuated some of the best days of our lives. 


Perhaps, it was a wedding followed by a meal at a party. Maybe, it was a birthday or a milestone for you. You were surprised as special people in your life gathered together for a meal to commemorate whatever event—graduation, promotion, or a holiday. Isn't holidays our favorite time of the year because we get together with people we most love and usually like to eat food you enjoy? 


Food is powerful, isn't it? So God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that when He created us to be communal, interconnected by design, meals were hardwired into the fabric of human tapestry so that we could bond with Him and one another over food. 


Simply thinking of your favorite food would leave your mouth watering, your heart palpitating, and your mind roaming. Since food is powerful, it's no wonder that in Exodus 12 God would institute a meal to stamp this annual ceremony for His people to remember the phenomenon of the tenth plague in Egypt.


In the first nine plagues, we've discovered the simple truths that God speaks to those who listen to Him. God strives with those who lie to Him, and God spares those who love Him. In the tenth and final plague, God shows us His capacity, His dexterity of holiness, to correct some and cover others simultaneously.


The annual Passover Feast in Exodus 12 reminded Israel of the power of God as they instituted this feast. Once a year, they celebrate this feast to be reminded of God's power. 


So, as we go along, be encouraged to ask a handful of questions, and if you ask the right questions, the text will give us clear answers, so by the end of this blog, you can leave with more understanding about this meal of remembrance.

What are the ingredients of the meal?


"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats."Exodus 12:5

The first ingredient was lamb. This lamb was fundamental for the feast to take place because, without this lamb, the Passover would not have happened. So, the Israelites instituted this holiday and holy day by slaying a lamb. 


There were divine specifications on the attributes of this lamb, so it could meet holy standards. The lamb had to be without blemish, which is to say, a pure coat with no streaks or spots. It had to be male, a particular young lamb, one-year-old or less. It had to come from among the flock, not from another flock in another country. You couldn't get a lamb that was speckled or spotted. You also couldn't get a female or an older lamb.


The lamb had to be without blemish because blemish is a symbol of sin. God wanted this lamb who was going to die to be pure. It had to be male, so it could be representative of those who would be covered by it. It had to be young because it was precious, innocent, and without sin, and it had to be from among the flock because God would call One from among us to die for us all. 


These factors are critical because they were qualifiers for the blood of that lamb to meet God's standard, so the people would slay this lamb and take that blood and cover their doorposts with it.


That's why John the Baptist said in John 1:29, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

The second ingredient in this meal is the loaf. Exodus 12:15 tells us more about this loaf:


"Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel."


Exodus 12:19-20 says, "For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings, you shall eat unleavened bread.'"


So, for seven days, no leavened loaf shall even be in the houses of the Israelites. Now, it wasn't just any old loaf. It was an unleavened loaf. The term 'leaven' means yeast, an agent you put in the dough that enables the dough, through baking, to rise in the heat.


On the other hand, the term 'unleavened' means without yeast. So, it's not just the agent that causes the dough to rise when heat is applied. What's interesting about 'leaven' is it only takes a little bit to leaven the whole loaf. So, when God told the Israelites to eat bread without yeast and not even to have yeast in their houses, God's telling us to be careful because a little bit can have a lot of impact.

That's why Galatians 5:9 says, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." For those who prioritize godly things in our lifestyle, all it takes is a little bit of sin to cause a lot of trouble. A little bit, even around you, can permeate the "dough" of what God is doing in your soul and draw you away from Him. 


Jesus said in Matthew 16:11-12,


"How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees."


Today, we can appreciate that we have access to so many ideologies, teachings, and teachers, but the same admonishment given by Jesus in Matthew 16 is given to us today. Beware of the teaching you allow to enter your heart and your mind. All it takes is a little to influence what God is doing in your life.

What are the impacts of the meal?


We've asked what the meal's ingredients are, and we know there's a lamb and a loaf. So, the next question we ask is, what are the impacts of this meal? 


The first impact of this meal is that it brings together the old and young. It was an intergenerational celebration kept in every generation and led by the elders.


Look at what Exodus 12:21, 24 says,

"Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb… And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever."

We see that God brought together the old and young over this meal. So, Moses is speaking to the elders. Notice that when we mention 'elders,' we're talking about those of age and seasoned by life. 


The Bible is also clear that if we're blessed to have elders in our biological and spiritual family, this is how we ought to respond to them. See Leviticus 19:32

"'You shall rise before the gray-headed and honor the presence of an old man and fear your God: I am the Lord."


Exodus 12:26 draws us to the truth that all generations were to be brought together under the same roof for this meal: "And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?'"


You're familiar with kids being naturally inquisitive for those who have children. Kids ask too many questions, right? But apparently, it's biblical. Kids are going to ask questions, so God says in His Word that He wants us to have this meal with both the young and the old because when we all sit down to eat the lamb and the loaf, the kids will want to be taught a lesson through a story.


The story is a harrowing one because the firstborn of every human and animal in Egypt is going to die if the blood does not cover them. It may be possible for some of us to understand mentally, but for others, it may be tough to accept in our gut why God would do something, such as picking on an ethnicity. 


If you dig deeper into Scripture, you will discover that it is the One true God categorically defeating the false gods of the people because they were polytheistic. With each plague, God led a categorical defeat over every god they served until they recognized who was the One true God.


It may seem on the surface like a divine being picking on ethnicity, but it is not so. It's a divine being giving instructions, and those who fear Him adhere and are spared. Those who ignore Him are not. 


So, God says to the Israelites when they have this meal that they had to bring everybody — young and old — into the house because whoever is in the house, those are who God is going to "pass over." So regardless of generation, whoever was inside the houses covered by blood was spared. 


This meal brought together the old and the young and was a bridge between the past and the future. Look at Exodus 12:17


"So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance."


What is God saying here? God says the first meal is in anticipation of what He is about to do. Then every year afterward, the Israelites were going to have the same meal in reflection of what God had done. So today, we are celebrating in advance for deliverance, yet still to happen. Once God delivers, we'll keep celebrating when we look back on how good God is.


This meal is a prospective and retrospective. Because wherever you are in your life, this meal can remind you that the God who was faithful to your past is the same God who will be good in your future. God will show up in your future. He says, "Trust me now. I'll bless you later." 


This meal we're talking about is the Old Testament precedent for Holy Communion. It's the same meal under different covenants. When we look at Holy Communion, we notice how Holy Communion bridges the past and the future. The past is Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. The future is Jesus' return. That's why he said in 1 Corinthians 11:26,


"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes."


Some may ask, "But, what about my past?" There's a secret life of iniquity, but there's an examined life of accountability in the future. That's why 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, 


"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup."


Whenever we take this meal, we're somewhere on the bridge between who we are and who we are becoming. In the past, there were our sins. In the future, there holds our salvation. Paul said, "If anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation. Behold, all things have passed away, and all things have become new."


Every time you take the Holy Communion, you are renewed. Aren't you grateful for the spiritual phenomenon that helps you reflect on the fact that you've been saved and you're being saved, and you will be saved? 


This meal bridges the old and the young. It bridges the past and the future and binds the great and small. Think about the many ways society subdivides us. The rich and the poor. Republicans and Democrats. Black and white. 


We can appreciate the complexity of diversity because God created us to be unified, not uniform; however, at this table, what would divide you in society can join you together spiritually. 


At this table, we don't come as rich or poor, black or white, we come to this table as a daughter of the Divine and son of the Sovereign. His table is illimitable, which means for all time and for all people. If you come by faith, you can pull up a chair and eat at this table.


Exodus 12:4 says, "And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb."


This verse means that if you've got a big household, you can have your lamb, but if you have a little house, you will partner with another little house to share a lamb. What's impressive is whether you were in a big family that had their land or a small family that needed a potluck to help share the lamb, whether you were great or small, everybody at the same time was eating the same meal and being saved by the same mercy of God. It's not how much you make. It's not how much you know, where you live, or what you drive or wear. We all eat the same meal because we all need the same mercy.

What are the implications of the meal?


What are we to do spiritually as we partake of this meal? It will be futile to eat it if it doesn't have any spiritual implications.


Reflect on our struggle—what does this mean? Look at Exodus 12:1


"Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying," 


We could be in the very place of struggle, but God will speak to us. Notice that they are in Egypt and have been there for 400 years. Egypt is a place of struggle. Pharaoh had treated them harshly and burdened them with impossible tasks. He had worked the Israelites relentlessly, so this meal was to cause them to reflect on this struggle. 


Exodus 12:11 says, "​​And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover."


The Passover wasn't a meal to recline. It was a meal for Movers who were about to be blessed by a move of God. God is about to deliver the Israelites from their struggles, and the Israelites won't have time to get ready after their deliverance. 


This tells us that we've got to be ready to run now. We're waiting on the hand of God. We're waiting on the move of God. We eat in haste because we are paying attention not to our stomachs but to our salvation. When we hear the move of God in our vicinity, we're ready to move with Him. 


This meal was for us to reflect on our struggles. It's also for us to realize we were spared. So, whenever you take this meal, it should cause you to pause to think back to what used to be your reality, what your reality is, and what was the differentiating factor between what used to be your reality. 


Exodus 12:13 says, "Now 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 the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."

God will judge everybody in Egypt except those with blood over their doorposts. You can think of it like this. When God showed up with consequences, He saw something in your life that made Him skip over you. 


So when we eat this meal, we must remember that you and I used to have an address in Egypt too. We lived on the same street with folk who died. So every time we take this meal, may this meal bring humility to our souls, not because we've been careful or considerate but because of the blood of the Lamb over our lives.


We partake of this meal, the Holy Communion, to remember our Savior. Remember the lamb and the loaf? Who do these describe? It's Jesus. That's why He's called the Lamb of God. 


Exodus 12:14 says, "'So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance."


God says this to be a memorial to us. A memorial means an annual reminder of something we don't want to forget. So we partake of the Holy Communion to remember our Savior. 


Jesus is the Lamb without spot or wrinkle. Jesus is the Lamb who was precious and sinless. Jesus is the Lamb of God.


We must have moments where we take time to commemorate the Holy Communion. We learn the precedent for it biblically so we can better appreciate this meal. We understand that this is more than just a little cut of wafers. This meal isn't a morning snack. It is a meal of remembrance. 

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