SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Exodus 12:1 through 15:21
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
In spite of the devastation that had come upon Egypt, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart against God, thus setting in motion the painful consequences which precipitated the Exodus of the Children of Israel from bondage. By the hand of God, in a single night the Children of Israel exchanged slavery for freedom, and living in the land of Goshen for a journey to the Land of Promise. As Egypt buried their dead, the Children of Israel left the country, a free people at last.
God instructed the Israelites to commemorate the night when the Lord had “passed over” their homes and, through the sacrifice of an innocent lamb, had spared their firstborn from death. This annual feast, called the Passover, foreshadowed the death of the Lamb of God, who would be sacrificed at Calvary for the sins of all people. The Passover would remind each succeeding generation of the nation’s deliverance from Egypt, and would mark the beginning of the Jewish religious year.
God gave the Children of Israel a pillar of a cloud by day and one of fire by night so they would know that God was leading and protecting them on their journey to the Promised Land. He directed them to an encampment by the Red Sea — a seemingly defenseless position — and, at the miracle of the Red Sea parting, delivered Israel from the Egyptian military might. The people witnessed a miraculous event, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, while their enemies perished. After the triumph of escape and victory, they rejoiced in a magnificent song of praise.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- What did God instruct the Children of Israel to do in order to prepare for the final plague and for the observance that would become the first Passover? Exodus 12:3-13
Each household was to take an unblemished lamb, slay it, and put the blood on the two side posts and the upper door post of their house. They were to roast the lamb and eat it entirely with bitter herbs; they were to do this fully dressed and with their shoes on their feet, ready for travel. The household was to stay indoors throughout the night.
Point your students’ attention to Exodus 12:28, which records that the Israelites “did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.” The point can be made that in our day as well, we must completely follow God’s plan in order to be saved. We must accept the provision Christ made at Calvary by repenting and then believing in order to receive His forgiveness and justification for our sins.
- Parallel the lamb slain in the households of the Israelites to Christ, the Lamb of God, and His provision for our salvation.
As your students discuss the parallels, points made could include the following:
• The lamb chosen for sacrifice was to be without blemish — Christ was perfect and sinless.
• The blood of the lamb was shed — Christ shed His precious Blood for us.
• The lamb was a substitute for the firstborn, who would otherwise be slain — Christ was a substitute for us; we should have received the death penalty for our sins.
• None of the lamb’s bones were to be broken — none of Christ’s bones were broken during His crucifixion.
• The blood had to be applied to the two side posts and the upper door post or it would not avail — Christ’s blood must be applied to our hearts through repentance and believing that He died and rose again.
Conclude your discussion of this question by pointing out that Jesus was crucified during the Passover, thus fulfilling this feast which had been established so many centuries earlier.
- God had promised the Israelites deliverance. However, to obtain it they not only had to obey His instructions regarding slaying a lamb and preparing and eating the Passover meal, but they actually had to walk out of Egypt. What are some ways we must “walk away” from our former lives when we begin our new lives in Christ?
Your students will likely bring out that we will have to separate ourselves from unrighteous behaviors, as well as from close relationships with those who are not serving God. Worldly plans and ambitions will be surrendered to Christ. We may even be called to forego “lawful” activities that distract us from wholehearted focus on God. We will need to flee temptation and remove ourselves from situations that could compromise our Christian testimonies.
You could follow up this question by discussing the outcome of failing to obey, both for the Israelites, and for us.
- Moses was instructed to sanctify (or consecrate) certain individuals unto God. Who were they? Why do you think this commandment was given? Exodus 13:1-2, 12-16
Moses was to sanctify the firstborn of both man and beast because God said, “It is mine.” God had spared the lives of the firstborn of every house marked by blood, and thus He had a rightful claim to them. The firstborn of beasts were offered as a sacrifice to God, but since the firstborn sons could not be sacrificed, God told the Israelites to redeem (or buy back) their sons from Him by setting them apart.
Class discussion of the second question should point to three possible reasons for God’s commandment:
• To remind the people of how God had spared their sons.
• To show God’s high regard for human life in contrast to the heathen gods to whom human lives were sacrificed.
• To look ahead to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who would “buy back” all mankind by paying the penalty for sin.
- What circumstances did God consider when selecting Israel’s route to the Promised Land? (Exodus 13:17-18) What can we learn from this?
God led them through the wilderness so they would not face potential warfare. The Children of Israel, having come out of slavery, were untrained for battle. They likely had little or no knowledge of the people or obstacles they would have encountered if they had taken what was seemingly the most direct route — a distance of about two hundred miles, which could have been covered in a few weeks.
We can learn from this that God does not always work in ways that are understandable to us. We must trust our omniscient God to lead us safely in the way He knows is best. This question could present an opportunity for those in your class to share times when God has worked in “mysterious” ways which ultimately proved to be for good in their lives.
- What visible sign of God’s presence accompanied the Children of Israel on their journey? What did this visual indicator do for them? Exodus 13:21-22
The visible sign was a pillar of fire by night to give them light and a pillar of cloud by day to lead them. In addition to light and guidance, the visual evidence of God’s presence no doubt was a source of reassurance and inspiration to the people.
As an optional point of discussion you could ask your group: What evidences do we have today that serve to reassure and inspire us? Discussion could point to the witness of the Spirit to our hearts, answers to prayer, miraculous healings, and God’s divine intervention and providential care of our lives.
- When seemingly trapped between the advancing armies of Egypt and the “uncrossable” Red Sea, Moses said to the people, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today” (Exodus 14:13). Why would it have been difficult for the Israelites to “stand still” under those circumstances? What lesson can we learn from this incident for when we face challenges in our own lives?
It would have been difficult for the people to stand still because their destruction appeared to be imminent. Since the Red Sea was in front of them, there was no way forward. Behind them, the armies of Egypt were advancing upon them. The situation seemed to be impossible, but God brought a miraculous deliverance.
As your students discuss what lessons we can learn from this incident, they will likely come up with a number of suggestions. For example, they may conclude that with God, nothing is impossible. He will make a way for us through all circumstances if we will just keep our trust in Him. He is never too late. Your group also may observe that the Red Sea was the way that God chose for the Israelites — it was no accident! We may not understand why God leads us in a certain direction, but we can trust that He has a plan, and that He has our best interest in mind.
- After crossing the Red Sea, the Children of Israel expressed their gratitude to God in a song of deliverance. What attributes of God did they extol in this song (Exodus 15:2-3,11-12)? How can we express our gratitude to God for our spiritual deliverance?
The Israelites’ song extolled the strength of the Lord, the salvation (delivering power) of the Lord, the holiness of God, the glory of God, and the omniscient power of God to work wonders.
As your students discuss ways we can express gratitude for spiritual deliverance, they may mention testifying, witnessing to others about His transforming power, worshipping and serving Him, and remaining faithful to God in spite of tests and trials.
The Israelites stood, free at last, on the far side of the Red Sea. Their miraculous deliverance not only signified freedom from the oppression of Egypt, but it was also a physical demonstration of the power of God. What an encouragement for Israel to continue to place their faith and trust in the Almighty God as they journeyed toward the Promised Land!