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god’s covering at passover

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A few weeks ago we celebrated Passover.

The Feast days are important times for me. Keeping them gives my life structure, purpose and belonging. It is a time wherein I can pause and reflect on the covenant faithfulness of our Lord not only in my own life but also in that of my people, Israel.

At Passover, I always relish opening my Bible and reading anew the account of the Exodus, that great deliverance of my people from their bondage to Egypt… and then skipping to the New Testament and experiencing, through communion, the Love of My Lord and Saviour who gave His body and drank that bitter cup so that I too may enter into life. 

Passover forms a foundation

Passover, being the first of the feasts, forms the foundation of our walk for the rest of the year. And as our walk is not stagnant, each year I find that different details about the Passover account will grab my attention. This is how the Lord speaks to me. And it is by pausing and reflecting on these thoughts that my personal foundation for the year is being built. 

So in this episode of Caleb’s Journal I just like to share with you the message the Lord impressed upon my heart this Passover season as not only has it encouraged me but it has also inspired me with renewed energy to take heart and walk boldly forwards into the chaos of our world knowing that He has got me covered.

Was god distant or intimately close?

This year it really struck me at how close God was to the people of Israel at the first Passover. Previously, and perhaps sub-consciously, I had considered that God’s presence was in a sense fleeting – as He skipped over, or passed over, the houses of the Israelites whilst delivering His judgment on that fateful night. However, by taking a closer look at the Hebrew word for Passover I discovered that God was intimately present with His people that night. This is what I’d like to share with you in this episode of Caleb’s Journal.

the protection of the blood

Let’s take a look at the events of the first Passover. It was celebrated by Israel on the eve of their deliverance from bondage to Egypt. 

The tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, was about to be unleashed upon Egypt. God instructed the Israelites to take a lamb without spot or blemish, and smear its blood on the door posts of their homes. They were to stay inside that night, under the covering of the blood… and this would guarantee that death would not come to them. God said,

‘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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.’ 

Exodus 12:13

Did god pass over or hover over?

When God says “I will pass over you,” the Hebrew word פָסַח pasach is used. There are two פָסַח pasach roots in Hebrew, one meaning ‘to limp’ and the other ‘to cover or hover over’.

Meredith Kline, in his article ‘The Feast of Cover-Over’ takes a comprehensive look at this Hebrew word. I would just like to share with you a few excerpts of his research, but I have included the link to his article in the study guide if you would like to study this further yourself.

Kline proposes that the LORD did not merely ‘pass-by’ the homes of the Israelites but rather that during that dark night of death the LORD protectively ‘hovered over’ His people as an abiding, shielding presence.

The concept of פָסַח pasach indicating a “covering or hovering” presence is also illustrated in Isaiah 31:5

‘As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over (פָסַח) he will preserve it.’

Isaiah 31`

Here in Isaiah we read that the Lord would preserve Jerusalem by protectively hovering over her not unlike the image of the  wings of a bird covering and protecting her young.

If we apply the meaning of covering or hovering to the word פָסַח pasach in Exodus 12, we realise that the LORD was not distant on that dark night… He did not merely pass by the houses of the Israelites, but rather He was right there, intimately present with His people, protectively hovering over them. 

THE FEAST OF COVER-OVER

With this image now in mind, perhaps the word ‘Passover’ does not accurately convey what transpired on that momentous night for our people. Kline proposes that the word ‘Cover-over’ would be more appropriate – as it reflects the glorious reality that the Lord protected His people from the coming destruction by personally covering over them, by His shed blood, and interposing Himself between His people and the destroyer.

To me this revelation has far reaching effects on my own walk as a Christian as I now experience what the Lord Jesus has done, and is continuing to do, for me each and every day on a much deeper and intimate level. 

Being covered by communion

In celebrating the feast this year, renewing that covenant with my LORD by partaking of communion – the bread and the wine – I symbolically placed His blood on the doors of my heart and mind. 

He is my perfect Lamb and being under that covenant covering of His blood, I am not just assured that He is out there somewhere keeping an eye on me… no, He is personally present, intimately hovering over me, over my house… He is my shielding shelter. By His presence He is not only protecting me from the evils of the dark of night but He is also nourishing me with His Word, His Bread of Life so that I can experience and know what it is to live and not die. 

His personal presence strengthens us

Last year I shared with you some of my thoughts on Communion in the video’s ‘Breaking Bread in Emmaus’ and ‘The Calls of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly’. In these videos I explained that through partaking of communion we come to ‘know’ our Lord through a direct and personal relationship which grows as we walk and dine with Him. The concept of Passover being a “Covering-Over” has deepened that understanding in my heart. It is because of His personal presence, the fact that He is right there hovering over me, that He not only delivers me from death but that He secures in me His Life and Light. This is what it means to ‘know’ Him, this is His Love for us. He is not distant – out there somewhere… He is right here and He desires that intimacy with His people because He loves us.

This is the power that is available to us all as we gather together and share in this covenant and communion with our LORD. May He impress that realisation on our hearts and minds, as then we can walk boldly knowing that He is close by, covering and nourishing us with His shielding presence. 

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