CDPCKL · The Day of Decision (Exodus 12:28-51)

The Day of Decision (Exodus 12:28-51)

Early on in the Book of Genesis we are told about a great civilization built on a plain, a civilization that was centered around a man-made mountain that was really a temple designed to reach up to the heavens and bring the gods down, so that the citizens of that great civilization could bribe those gods into helping them centralize their power and enslave all the peoples of the earth. 

Unfortunately for them, this building project actually did catch the attention of the God over all gods. And he did come down to the earth. But he did not help them centralize their power; instead he decentralized them. He scattered them, along with all the different nations they had already enslaved and forced to work on their great blasphemous building projects. 

And out of the many refugees fleeing from that collapsing civilization, God chose one man and his family. And he said, “Look, if you trust me and leave your country, your people and your father’s household, and go to the land I will show you, then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 

Basically, God took this one man and promised to do what the city builders had hoped he would do for them: he promised to turn this one man into a great nation, and then centralize that nation’s power. But not so that nation could enslave all the peoples of the earth; no — so that nation could bless all peoples on earth. 

That man’s name was Abraham, as I am sure most of you already knew. And the rest of the Book of Genesis tells the story of how God gradually transformed Abraham into a family with twelve sons, the small beginnings of a nation. 

And right near the end of Genesis, Abraham’s family ends up moving to another great civilization built on a plain, a civilization famous for its man-made mountains: the land of Egypt. Egypt, at the time, was on the verge of collapse. God gave one of Abraham’s twelve sons — a youth named Joseph — some insight into what was about to happen and how to avoid disaster. Joseph gave God’s advice to the Pharaoh of Egypt; the Pharaoh submitted to God’s advice; he centralized Egyptian power around Joseph, and Egypt was saved. 

In short, Egypt blessed Abraham’s family, and Egypt was blessed in return. 

But then there was a regime change, and the new government forgot about how Abraham’s family had saved Egypt. The new set of Pharaohs began to fear the power centralized around Abraham’s growing nation, and they reversed policy: instead of blessing, they began to curse the descendants of Abraham, forcing them into slavery, forcing them to build massive cities centered around temples designed to gain control over the gods. 

Unfortunately for Egypt, these building projects caught the attention of the God over all gods — the God of Abraham. And once again — just as he had done several times in the Book of Genesis — God came down and destroyed the civilization that was cursing his people. “I will bless those who bless you,” he had told Abraham, “and whoever curses you I will curse,” and oh wow! has it turned out to be true in Egypt’s case. 

If you have been reading with us through the Book of Exodus over the last few weeks, then you know: God has been slowly and steadily deconstructing Egypt, stripping it right back down to the foundations. 

And now here we are: the countdown to God’s final judgement on Egypt has reached zero. And as we start into our passage here, we read that [28] the Israelites — Abraham’s descendants — did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. 

Now, if you were not with us last week then you are wondering: what did they do? 

Well, last week we learned that Moses has been called to be a second Noah. 

Back in Genesis, just before God brought judgement upon Cain’s man-made mountain building civilization, he commissioned a man named Noah to build a sanctuary that would protect God’s people from that judgement. In the same way, last week, God commissioned Moses to build a sanctuary that would protect God’s people from the judgement coming on Egypt. 

But Moses’ sanctuary looks really different from Noah’s. Noah’s sanctuary was a giant wooden box, a boat that saved God’s people from a physical flood. But this time God is not using water to judge Egypt, he is using an angel named the Destroyer, who is going to go from house to house and kill every firstborn child. Clearly a wooden box is not going to protect anyone from an angel, a spirit-being that can pass through walls! 

So what Moses did instead was call upon each Israelite family to sacrifice a lamb, and paint the lamb’s blood on the doorframes of their houses. That blood would be a symbolic spiritual seal that would prevent the Destroyer from entering. 

Basically, when it says the Israelites did just what the Lord commanded, it means they all transformed their homes into miniature models of Noah’s ark, which was a miniature model of the original garden of Eden. So at this point in the narrative they have all entered into their houses and sealed the doors behind them with lamb’s blood. They are eating the Passover meal in haste, they are dressed and ready to travel. 

And now the flood begins, the final judgement upon Egypt: [29] At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. [30] Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. 

There has sometimes been some confusion over this passage, because we wonder: why did the Egyptians all get up in the middle of the night? Did they hear their children dying? Was this loud wailing in Egypt the sound of the children dying, or was it the wailing of the parents when they found their children dead? 

Part of the reason for the confusion is because our modern sleep patterns are very different from our historic sleep patterns. Because of cheap modern lighting, we all go to bed quite late in the night. And we have trained ourselves to sleep for seven or eight hours at a time. 

But before the invention of cheap modern lighting, 99.99% of humanity went to bed when the sun did. We would sleep until about midnight, and then everyone would wake up for an hour or two: move around, go to the toilet, tell some stories to the children, and/or conceive some more children…then go back to sleep and wake up again at sunrise. So: 

What Moses describes here is actually very natural. The Egyptians went to bed at sunset. They woke up a little after midnight as they always did — only to discover, to their horror, that the firstborn child in every household did not wake up. And that is when the wailing began. 

Well, just as God promised would happen, [31] during the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. [32] Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go.” 

Now here, again, there has sometimes been some confusion over these verses, because: didn’t Moses tell Pharaoh earlier, “I will never appear before you again”? Doesn’t this contradict that? 

No. Because this word that is translated as “summoned” here is a word that can mean “summoned,” but more strictly it means “send messengers to”. So it is likely that Pharaoh did not see Moses at all; he just sent messengers to find Moses and deliver this message: “Go!” 

And as we read Pharaoh’s message, we realize he has finally stopped trying to make a deal with God. The bargaining is over. He simply says, “Go. Go now. Take everything with you. And don’t come back. 

“But,” he says, “also bless me.” 

This is the last time we hear Pharaoh’s voice; these are the last words he speaks. And what does he do? He asks God’s messiah Moses for a blessing. 

And this is one of those beautifully balanced moments that just delights the heart of a literary nerd like me, because this moment is the end of a story arc that began hundreds of years earlier, at the end of the Book of Genesis. 

The Pharaoh of that time knew that the only way to save Egypt from starvation would be through God’s blessing, by God’s mercy alone. He knew that blessing begats blessing. So he blessed Joseph and his family. He said, “the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father — Jacob — and your brothers in the best part of the land.” And in response, Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 

Now, all these centuries later, the story comes back around to where it started. The first Pharaoh gave Jacob’s family the best part of the land and received a blessing from God’s messiah. Here, this Pharaoh takes the land back and asks for a blessing from God’s messiah. 

He basically asks Moses to pray for an end to the curse. He has figured out that the death of the firstborn is actually just the beginning of God’s judgement, not the end. He has figured out that things could get much much worse before the end! So he begs for God’s blessing at last. 

And it is clear, as we read on, that everyone in Egypt has figured out the same thing: [33] The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 

Several months before this, Egypt began to experience a series of ecological and economic disasters. They were all caused by Pharaoh’s refusal to let God’s people go. But Pharaoh controlled the media; he made sure the common people of Egypt did not know that he was to blame. 

So God kept turning up the heat, until — over the last few episodes — we have seen the government’s media blackout begin to fall apart. First the bomoh were removed. Then Pharaoh’s officials began to switch sides. Then the common people began to really admire Moses. 

And now everyone in Egypt has finally realized that these disasters have come upon them because they have been abusing God’s people, the Israelites, Abraham’s family. They have realized that this is a life-or-death decision for them: they can support Pharaoh’s enslavement policy and die, or they can support God’s emancipation policy and — perhaps — live. 

And they have voted overwhelmingly to support God’s policy. In fact, as we read on we find that they do not just support this new policy with their votes, they support it with their bank accounts: 

[35] The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. [36] The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians. 

Basically, the Egyptians really really wanted the Israelites to migrate somewhere else, anywhere else but Egypt. The Egyptians also understood that migration is expensive. So, to guarantee success, the Egyptians financed the whole project themselves — that is how desperate they were. That is how much they wanted to live! 

[34] So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 

And they [37] journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth, 

travelling in an eastward direction, toward the traditional location of the garden of God, which — according to Genesis — God planted in the east. 

And Moses tells us there were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 

And here, again, has been a lot of confusion surrounding this last bit. 

Because if there were 600,000 men, and if each man had on average one wife and two children, that would mean the Israelite population numbered at least 2.5 million. 

Now, the problem with that number is this: archaeologists estimate that Egypt only had a total population of 2 million at this time — and Egypt was the largest empire on earth. 

Could the nation of Israel have been larger than the largest empire on earth at that time? No. And we know this because, later on, God promises Moses that when they get to the promised land, he will drive out seven nations larger and stronger than they are. Which suggests that there were seven Canaanite nations in Palestine with more than 2.5 million people, each one larger than Egypt, the largest empire on earth — which is just not possible. The land of Palestine could not have supported a population of 18 millions; even today, that part of the Middle East only has a total population of about 10 million. 

So what is going on here? Is Moses exaggerating? Lying? Is he just bad at counting? 

The problem lies in the way the names for Hebrew numbers changed over time. Every language evolves; the kind of Hebrew Moses wrote is a bit different from the kind David wrote 500 years later; David’s Hebrew is a bit different from the kind Jeremiah wrote 500 years after that. In Jeremiah’s time, this word translated “thousand” meant “thousand”. But in Moses’ time, this word essentially meant “ox” or “bull”. So: 

A more literal translation here would say there were about six hundred bulls of men, besides women and children. Meaning: there were about 600 clan-leaders. Just as one bull rules over a herd of 50 or 100 or 200 cows, one clan-leader might rule over a clan of 50 or 100 or 200 people, more or less. Which suggests that Israel’s population at the time of the Exodus was maybe 100,000 people? — a much more realistic number. 

But here’s the thing: all of this confusion — and even controversy — about Israel’s population is actually a distraction from the main point Moses wants to communicate here. And that main point is found in the next verse: 

[38] Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 

For several weeks now we have been waiting for this moment, for this day, the Day of Decision. 

At first, God’s slowly escalating judgements just felt harsh to us. We wondered together why he was deliberately driving Pharaoh to deliberately drive Egypt into starvation. 

But as we kept reading, we began to realize that God’s harshness was part of a bigger plan. He is not just interested in saving the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he also wants to save all the different nations that have been enslaved by Egypt. He even wants to give the Egyptians themselves a chance to escape from the tyranny of their Pharaoh, this proud and corrupt ruler who would rather starve the whole country than admit that Moses’ God is greater than he is. 

So by driving Pharaoh to drive Egypt into starvation, God has been carefully setting things up for this moment when every person in Egypt will be confronted with a clear choice: stay back with Pharaoh and starve, or join Moses’ nation and eat. 

And what Moses is telling us now is that a lot of different kinds of people — people from many different nations and cultures and ethnicities — decided to follow Moses’ out of Egypt so they could eat. 

And what did they eat? Well, they ate these large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds, that Moses mentions in verse 38. But more importantly — and more symbolically — [39] with the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. 

They ate thosai. 

The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves. 

And again we notice — as we did last week — that this whole ”without yeast” thing seems to be really important to Moses and to God: they keep talking about it. Come back next week to find out why. 

[40] Now at this point Moses includes an editorial note: the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. [41] At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. [42] Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come. 

And that is why the Jewish Passover is an all-night affair. 

But now Moses returns to his main point for this passage: this realization that a lot of different nations of people have decided to follow God’s people into the wilderness. 

Now, when we read this, we think: that’s great! How wonderfully gracious of God to allow other people from other nations to come along and live instead of starving! 

But for Moses and the Israelites, God’s grace actually created some practical problems. Because — look: they have limited supplies of food. They cannot really waste it on people who are only following for the food, right? So how can they tell if someone is following because they really want to worship Israel’s God, or simply because they don’t want to starve? And even if someone really does want to worship God, what is their status supposed to be: are they some kind of sub-citizens, are they supposed to be servants or slaves to the Israelites? How is this whole arrangement going to work? 

That is the question God answers next: 

[43] The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover meal: 

No foreigner may eat it. [44] Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, [45] but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it.” 

These first instructions emphasize that those who are truly joining for worship — more than for food — will demonstrate their sincerity by submitting to circumcision. Only after they are circumcised will they be allowed to fully participate in worship through this Passover meal. 

If they refuse to be circumcised, then they will have temporary resident or a hired worker status in the Israelite nation: they will get food, of course, but they will have to work for it, which is only fair. They will be friends, but not family. 

The Lord goes on: [46] “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. [47] The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.” 

These instructions emphasize how the Passover meal is all about the unity of God’s people: it must be eaten inside the house so that the heads of household can make sure only circumcised members are there; the bones are not to be broken so that everyone can tell they are all eating from the same lamb; and, of course, the whole church of Israel must celebrate it: everyone gets to join in. 

And when God says everyone gets to join, he means everyone: 

[48] “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. [49] The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” 

So this final set of instructions emphasizes the equality of everyone within the Church of Israel. It actually does not matter if a person is physically descended from Abraham or not; it does not matter if they are Israelite or Egyptian, rich or poor, high status or low status, slave or free — through circumcision everyone becomes equally precious in God’s sight, worthy to be fed in body and in spirit as a full citizen in the newborn nation of Israel. 

So [50] all the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. [51] And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions. 

In summary, then: God told Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” And it is all coming true — especially the last part. Abraham’s nation has not yet blessed all peoples on earth, but this is a good start: all the different nations in Egypt have been blessed. They have all been given the choice between death and life, and many have chosen life. And by choosing life in God’s new nation of Israel, they are now entering into a kind of social system they have never experience before: a system where everyone is equally valuable to God and to one another, a nation where even slaves become brothers — family members — through circumcision. 


That is our passage for today. So now we have to ask the kind of question we like to ask every week: does God’s promise that Abraham’s nation will be a blessing for all peoples on earth have anything to do with us? 

The answer is yes. As it turns out, this night of the Exodus from Egypt is just the first great fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to Abraham. 

Allow me to explain how the Exodus concept grew over the centuries: 

As Moses noted here, many other people went up and joined God’s nation through circumcision. And even those who decided to stay back in Egypt fully supported the migration with silver and gold and clothing; and so God’s people plundered the Egyptians. 

Well, the later prophets of Israel realized that these two concepts — the many people and the plunder — were actually linked. It is true that Israel plundered Egypt by carrying away the physical treasures of gold and silver; but the real treasures of Egypt — in God’s mind — were the people that Israel carried away. Gold and silver mean nothing to God! but people, human beings, are precious to him. God’s promise to bless all nations was not a promise to give everyone gold or silver or even just food — this was a promise to bring people from all nations back to himself, back into the garden he once planted in the mountains of the east. 

And the prophets, realizing this, predicted that there would one day be a second great fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to Abraham, an age when the Exodus would be repeated, but on a world-wide scale: when people from all nations on earth will go up from the low countries to the mountain of the Lord to feast at God’s table as his children. 

Were the prophets right? Have their prophecies been fulfilled? 

Well, let me outline the evidence and you can decide for yourself: 

About 2000 years ago a man named Jesus from Nazareth showed up in Israel. He claimed that he was called to be God’s final Moses, just as Moses had been called to be a second Noah. Like Noah, like Moses, Jesus claimed that he had been sent to build a sanctuary for God’s people — the last sanctuary from judgement that God’s people would ever need. He specifically claimed that he was God’s final Messiah who was going to take Moses’ sanctuary and open it up to include all peoples on earth, like the later prophets predicted. 

Now, if you recall from last week, Moses’ sanctuary was the Church of Israel. And the Church of Israel was officially conceived when the people ate the Passover meal together, and sealed their house doors with the lambs’ blood. And last week we learned how Jesus took that ancient Passover concept and completed its evolution into what we now call the Lord’s Supper. So, it was Moses’ original Passover meal that first formed the Church back in Exodus; it is Jesus’ completed Passover meal that transformed Moses’ Church into Jesus’ Church — a Church for all peoples on earth, not just the people of Israel. 

And if you were here last week, then you know that we Christians from many different nations did not question this Good News. We just accepted it, and we celebrated the Lord’s Supper together. 

But this week we have just read about an unexpected problem that Moses ran into: a bunch of non-Israelite people suddenly wanted to join God’s new spiritual nation also. After they witnessed — and even experienced — the death of all the firstborn, they realized their only hope was to eat the Passover and be woven into the Church of Israel. And so the question became: how can foreigners eat the Passover meal and join Israel’s Church when they were not born into Abraham’s family, God’s family? Or, in other words: how can non-family join in a family meal without violating the fact that it is a meal meant only for the family? 

Now, we have seen that God’s solution to this unexpected problem was simple and elegant: foreigners could join God’s family in the same way Abraham did — through circumcision. It was through Abraham’s circumcision that foreigners were able to come and eat Moses’ Passover and join the Church of Israel. 

But that raises a question for those of us who ate the Lord’s Supper here last week: since no one here has received Abraham’s ritual Jewish circumcision, were we wrong to eat Jesus’ Passover? 

No, we were not wrong. Because Jesus did not just transform Moses’ Passover into the Lord’s Supper, he also transformed Abraham’s circumcision into the Holy Spirit’s baptism by water. 

Now, for today I am going to ask you to take that statement on trust. Over the next few weeks, as we come to the end of Exodus, Part 2, the process by which Jesus transformed circumcision into baptism will become clear. But for today I just want to say clearly that if you have been baptised with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, by a legitimate minister in a legitimate church, then you are permitted — actually, commanded! — to come and eat the Lord’s Supper, which is Jesus’ Passover. It is through baptism that foreigners are able to come and eat Jesus’ Passover and join the Church of All Nations. 

We were wondering a moment ago whether the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled? The evidence says yes. This is the age of the final and greatest Exodus that the prophets foretold. The Church of Israel in Moses’ time circumcised people from just a few nations, the ones that had been colonized by Egypt. But the Church of Israel in Jesus’ time — over these last 2000 years — has been baptising people from every nation it comes in contact with. Jesus’ Church is the most diverse organization on earth, and that is because Jesus’ Church is the most inclusive organisation on earth. We are the evidence that the prophets were right. This is the age of the world-wide Exodus, the second great fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to Abraham. 

So, what should we do in response to this great fulfillment? 

Well, if you are here today and you are not a baptized Christian, then listen: today is your Day of Decision. I do not know what God has done to prepare you for this moment. Perhaps you have lost a job that your future depended upon. Perhaps you have lost a firstborn child, or a parent, or a friend. Perhaps you have recently come to realize that your family or your business or your government is actually enslaving you, deliberately limiting your opportunities. Or perhaps God has given you the wisdom to realize that ultimately you are a self-sabotaging slave to your own desires and inclinations. 

Whatever the details may be, I know that you have lived your entire life in a swamp of desperation fueled by inequality: judged for your ethnicity, your culture, your colour, your physicality, your sex. You have worked and worked and you have never managed to measure up. You have longed for a father who would accept you for who you are even as he pushes you to grow. You have longed for a mother who would feed you generously without the critical tongue. You have been starving for something more out of life than you have received. 

If that is you, then you have a decision to make: you can stay where you are and let God let the Destroyer consume what is left of your life, or you can join Jesus’ Church and be fed. 

Friend, you are the plunder that our Heavenly Father longs to win over to himself. He is not actually interested in your silver or gold, your marks or your performance, your KPI or how much you produce, he is interested in you. And this is his offer: study the evidence, believe, and be baptized, and you will finally be valued for who you are: a child of God. In Christ, it does not matter if you are physically descended from Abraham or not; it does not matter if you are Israelite or Egyptian, rich or poor, high status or low status, male or female, slave or free — through baptism everyone in the Church becomes equally blessed, equally valued by God. 

God is urging you to leave the land of Pharaoh. Leave in haste and in faith, carrying just what you need on your back. Follow Jesus into the wilderness, trusting him to feed you. Come. Be included. Be baptised. Eat. Become the person your Heavenly Father created you to be. 

Now, what about the rest of us who are already baptised, what are we supposed to do in response to all this? 

Well, we have been called out of all peoples on earth to be blessed by God. Our origins did not matter: Jesus loved us and gave himself for us. He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, not because of who we were born to or anything else, but simply because of his mercy. 

So it is our calling to carry on that same philosophy. Now, we know that in every generation of every church on earth there has been racism and class divisions and favouritism of every kind — all too often Jesus’ Church has looked too much like the kingdoms of this world rather than the kingdom of God, the fact that Jesus’ Church is the most diverse and inclusive organisation in the world is nothing less than a miracle of God, I can tell you! — even though these divisive sins have polluted the Church from the beginning, we are not allowed to be content with that. 

Brothers and sisters, when we decided to follow Jesus, we also decided to welcome the stranger into our families. Maybe we did not know that at the time of decision, but we know it now, and we are obligated by our love for Jesus to act upon it as a community. Just as Jesus accepts everyone to his table, we must also become known as a people who accept everyone at our tables — wherever we eat, whenever we eat. We must become known as the most inclusive kind of people in KL. So let’s do that! 

I do think we have made a good start, as a community. But let’s press on. Let’s be even more deliberate about including everyone than we have been in the past. Let us set aside our fears that we won’t have enough lamb to go around. As we learned theough Moses’ instructions last week, there is always just enough lamb to feed the family — no more and no less. 

But even as we work on being as inclusive as Jesus, this passage also includes a warning for us:  we also need to be as exclusive as Jesus. Inclusiveness only works when there is a community to be included in. And in order for a community to be a community, it does need boundaries. Moses’ Passover was eaten inside the house; none of the meat could be taken outside. Since Moses’ Passover was just a foreshadow of Jesus’ Passover — since Jesus’ Passover is the real completed meal eaten with the real Passover lamb — it is important that we appraoch the Lord’s Supper as even more sacred than the original Passover. 

This is why, as a church, whenever we eat the Lord’s Supper together, you will hear the minister say that this meal is meant for baptised believers who are living in community and unity with other believers; this is a meal for family, not for foreigners. And this is why we did not celebrate the Lord’s Supper virtually during the lockdowns, and why we do not celebrate small in-home versions of the Lord’s Supper: as the Lord commanded us clearly today, “The whole community must celebrate it.” 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus’ Church is both inclusive and exclusive. You have often heard us say that CDPCKL is a centered-set community: we are a community centered around Jesus Christ, centered around the Word of God. We don’t put up fences; everyone is allowed to approach the well of living water and receive a drink. At the same time you have also heard us say that we do put a wall around the well itself in order to keep it from being polluted through carelessness. So we distribute the water freely to all who ask, but we are also careful about who we ask to distribute the water. And every time we eat the Lord’s Supper together, we are passing around cups of living water even to people who are only allowed to observe. This is how Paul says it in the New Testament: whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. In other words, whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we call people to the water of life until he comes. And this needs to be done properly if we are going to avoid giving people polluted water. 

There is a lot more we could say about all this — but these things are actually the topic of the next passage, when all our unanswered questions about the firstborn and the yeast will finally be answered. So make sure to come back! 

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