Read: Exodus 13:1-16
Consider: When you read today’s passage do you find it hard to relate to what the Jews were instructed to do? If so, keep in mind what is said elsewhere in the Bible. Firstly, in 2 Timothy 3:16 we read: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Secondly, in Romans 15:4 we read: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Writing to the Corinthian church, when speaking of Israel’s history, Paul says: These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11).
There is no escaping the fact that every part of Scripture has something to teach us. The key is to listen to God’s promptings as you read and study the Bible.
This should put a different complexion on today’s passage from Exodus 13. Instead of discounting it as history, we should look into it, asking ourselves what we might learn from it that would help us to live the Christian life as God wants. Looking at Exodus 13:9 and 13:16 we read these words: ‘This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder (symbol) on your forehead …’. In reading this the Jews would be reminded of what is said in Deuteronomy 11:18 about binding God’s law on their hands and foreheads. This became physical phylacteries (small boxes containing portions of scripture), tied to the hand and forehead. What can we get from this? If we take our ‘hand’ as indicative of what we do and our ‘mind’ of what we think, we could take Deuteronomy 11:18 as saying: Fix God’s Word in your hearts and minds; let it influence everything you do and everything you think.
This then ties in with some things said in the New Testament. Regarding what we do, in Romans 6:12-13 we read: Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. Concerning our thoughts, Paul sums this up in Philippians 4:8 where we read: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
There is another thing I noticed in the passage. In Exodus 13.8 it says: On that day tell your son, “I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.” This is further clarified in Deuteronomy 11:18 where we read: Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Can you see that talking to our children about faith should be as natural as breathing. It doesn’t need to be forced or laboured. Instead it should happen in a relaxed manner, just talking together about what God has and is doing in our lives.
Pray: Father, may we allow Scripture to influence what we do and what we think on a daily basis. Help us to talk about our faith with family in a relaxed way. Amen