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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


January 2022

Exodus 12:40,41: The sun will come out…

Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.

In God’s time, He brought His people out of their years of suffering in Egypt. They were brought into a new era of freedom, celebration and feasting.

‘And it came to pass.’ This is true of every trial – even though some of them last a long, long time; and even though certain ones  may feel endless.

An auntie wrote to her nephew after his wife died ‘prematurely’ (as we would say), and he was still relatively young. She too had lost her first husband when she was young. In a sensitive and thoughtful letter she said, ‘What I can tell you is that one day, however far away that day may be, the sun will come out again.’

As I write this, I am thinking about very dear friends who, I heard last night, have suffered a terrible and tragic loss. Maybe there are people similarly on your mind today: those you know who are experiencing some form of distress or pain. Let’s together lift them in prayer to our Heavenly Father, and ask that in His wisdom and love He will bring them through and bring them out in His own time.

May they feel the warmth of the sun once again.

Exodus 12:37,38:

The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

I am fascinated by the comment that: “Many other people went up with them” (See ex.9:20). These were Egyptians.

There is always a danger that we play at church – just going through the motions. But where the people of God are most genuinely the people of God, two things are likely to happen: a.) they will be hated and persecuted; b.) outsiders will be attracted to the spiritual reality evident in the church; they will be drawn to the presence of God among the people of God. It’s a bit of a paradox really, because these things seem to be moving in opposite directions, but they are two sides of the same coin.

A few years ago, I was interviewed for a Christian radio programme. I didn’t know what questions were coming my way, but I had a clear and definite and immediate answer when asked, ‘What do you most want to see as a local church pastor?’ My instinctive, from the gut reaction was, ‘To see people who are not Christians become Christians.’ There is nothing I want more.

PRAYER: Lord, may it be that ‘many other people’ join us on this great pilgrimage you have called us to.

Exodus 12:31-36: God’s way and God’s time

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. And also bless me.’

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. ‘For otherwise,’ they said, ‘we will all die!’ 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 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 favourably disposed towards the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

“Everything is subject to God’s timing and everything depends on it”

So you believe God is calling you to go somewhere else. It does happen! But time and again you are thwarted. Your way seems blocked. Still, the conviction that you are to leave does not go away. You continue to hear the Lord say ‘Go!’ What’s going on here? What are you to do?

Well, take heart from this story that in God’s time:

  • He will order the circumstances (see verses 31 and 33.) Now both Pharaoh and his people opened the door for the Israelites to walk through. They finally really wanted them out of the country. They were aligned with what God wanted;
  • He will provide all that is needed (see verse 36). As we have noted before, we may well find ourselves amazed at just how God provides.

“One morsel of God’s provision, especially when it comes in unexpectedly, and upon prayer, when wants are most, will be more sweet”: John Flavel

PRAYER: Lord help me to clearly hear your directions. I don’t want to be guided by my own fertile imagination. I know I can get things wrong. But when I do hear your voice, please enable me to trust your timing and provision

Exodus 12:29,30: The ultimate tragedy.

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.

Pharaoh had been warned times without number. Even so, who’s heart would not be moved by this portrait of heartbreak, pain and loss? You can almost feel it radiating off the page.

God’s judgment is without exception. It is a great leveller. You can’t find a way out of it because you are rich or powerful or famous. You can’t find a loophole; you can’t give a bribe.

If we take account of the Bible story as a whole, we have to see that unimaginable loss awaits those who repeatedly resist God’s Word and who finally reject God’s Son. As one commentator put it, in Scripture the ultimate tragedy is to die with one’s sins un-atoned for and unforgiven.

But we can take heart that God’s salvation is also without exception. It is freely given to all who trust Jesus – “our Passover lamb” (1 Cor.5:7) – to save them.

PRAYER: Lord, just as you made a way for your people to be saved in Egypt, thank you that you have ultimately made the way for us all In Jesus.

Exodus 12:24-28: Family matters

Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” 27 then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”’ Then the people bowed down and worshipped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

The family is a basic unit of Christian discipleship, a fundamental arena for spiritual formation. When you think about it, the early church community was composed of a number of households. Long before the existence of Sunday schools (for which many of us are profoundly grateful) the faith (both Jewish, and then Christian) was passed on in homes. Spiritual training/education was not outsourced to others. Others may well have been involved, but parents understood and carried out their God-given responsibilities.


  • The home as a place of worship: We have already seen that they celebrated Passover as families. All-age Christian education began in the home;
  • The home as a place of godly example: I remember one well-known preacher describing the huge impact of knowing his father spent 30 minutes on his knees every morning, before heading out of the door for work. Children saw their parents at worship in the Passover, and also participated in it themselves;
  • The home as a place of explanation and teaching. Children inevitably ask questions. They see and sense what is important to you, and they’re going to want to know why the gospel, for example, is so important in your eyes.

As I look back on my childhood, I do so with gratitude for a number of Sunday schools and Sunday school teachers. Similarly, I am thankful for various youth clubs and youth leaders. But I learned the priority of Christ and Christianity; of church commitment, and related things such as service, giving and hospitality, from two loving, if imperfect people whose memories I honour – my mum and dad. They were not flawless, but I could almost smell their dedication.

Their dedication was the backbone of my education in the things of God.

Exodus 12:21-23: ‘The Christian’s bar of soap’

Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

A friend loaned us a book by Joyce Huggett on ‘Listening to God’. In a chapter about ‘contemplative prayer’ she writes about a phase in the process where we open up our lives to God for spiritual diagnosis, as it were. Where is there something wrong that may need to change? What is God putting His finger on that requires repentance? She says at the heart of such prayer, as we become aware of the presence of God, we will often need to confess and receive forgiveness. She admits that as an introvert and an evangelical she does not find it easy to receive forgiveness.

Well, we see again in Exodus 12 that the blood of the Passover lamb had to be applied to “the top and on both sides of the door-frame.”

We must believe in the power of the blood of Jesus not in some theoretical way, but know its practical potency through repentance and confession:

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8,9) Verse 9 has been called ‘the Christian’s bar of soap’. I remember a sketch performed by a young man who came onto the stage looking dirty and unkempt, but he extolled the virtues of soap. He spoke about its cleansing properties and how wonderful it is. He went on and on at length. But it was obvious he never used it. Point made!

Exodus 12:14-20: Come on and celebrate

‘This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord – a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day until the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.

17 ‘Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.’

In his excellent book ‘Celebration of discipline’, Richard Foster wrote about the spiritual discipline of ‘celebration’ (alongside other more familiar disciplines such as prayer, worship, fasting, confession etc). More recently, his son Nathan also wrote a more personal story of his own journey with the disciplines in a book entitled, ‘The making of an ordinary saint.’ Here are some of his comments about celebration:

“The spiritual discipline of celebration leads us into a perpetual jubilee of the Spirit. We are rejoicing in the goodness and the greatness of God. As Saint Augustine said, ​“The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.“…

Perhaps the most important benefit of celebration is that it saves us from taking ourselves too seriously. It is an occupational hazard of devout folk to become stuffy bores. Celebration delivers us from such a fate. It adds a note of gaiety, festivity, and hilarity to our lives.

Celebration gives us perspective on ourselves. We are not nearly as important as we often think we are, and celebration has a way of bringing us the needed balance. The high and the mighty and the weak and the lowly all celebrate together. Who can be high or low at the festival of God? Together the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless all share in the goodness of God. There is no leveller of caste systems like festivity.

Celebration is not just an attitude but also something that we do. We laugh. We sing. We dance. We play.”

In verse 17 we read “Celebrate…because…”

In each ordinary day there are so many reasons to celebrate, if we can but see them. Maybe that is why Dallas Willard told John Ortberg, ‘You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.’ There are certain things we only notice when we slow down sufficiently to be able to appreciate them.

Someone wrote about the person who ‘when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He’s here but he’s not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then the it will be ‘here.’ What he is looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn’t want that because it is all around him. Every step’s an effort both physically and spiritually because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.’ (Quoted by Henri Nouwen in ‘The Genesee Diary’, p.8).

I know I can be that person at times. But the truth is there is so much of God’s goodness to celebrate right here, right now.

PRAYER: Lord, please forgive me for all that I miss right under my nose! Help me to see and savour your goodness in every single day.

Exodus 12:14-16: House-cleaning

‘This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord – a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day until the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.

“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The Israelites were to begin to celebrate Passover one year after coming out of Egypt. For them it would mark the beginning of a new year, and it was to last for a whole week. Today we note the prohibition regarding ‘yeast’ or ‘leaven’. Why was this to be absent from the bread?

  1. It relates to the actual circumstances of the first Passover night (12:8, 34 & 39), and calls it vividly to mind. Leaven takes time to rise, and Israel had to be ready to leave in a hurry;
  2. It was to become a symbol of sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:8; Luke 12:1).

The fact of the matter is repentance is not a ‘one off’.The Christian life not only begins in repentance but it also continues in that spirit. We are constantly challenged (and perhaps never more so than around the Lord’s table) to “Get rid of the old yeast…” If you were to clean your house once, on the day you moved in, but never again, you would eventually find yourself living in a filthy hovel. House-cleaning is a repetitive and continuous necessity. It’s also hard work, but  it has to be done.

“All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure” 1 John 3:3

Thought: Which ‘room’ do I need to clean today?

PRAYER: ‘Lord, I heard someone say that you are more interested in the production of my character than you are in my comfort. Help me to also be committed to making progress in holiness. Show me where the dust lies and the cobwebs lurk, and give me the grace to remove them, for your sake Lord. Thank you, in Jesus’ Name.

Exodus 12:14: Special days

This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord – a lasting ordinance.

Let it be said that every day is sacred, and provides many reasons for thanks giving. The abbot of a monastic community told Henri Nouwen: ‘…we form communities and we experience all of life as a gift of God – that is why praise is so central – praise for God’s gifts.’ (John Eudes: ‘The Genesee Diary’, pp.6,7). In the bustle and busy-ness, the stresses and strains of every day life, we may miss the wonder and specialness of each day.

But there are certain days which carry great significance, and they are to be noted and remembered and celebrated. For me, keeping a journal is an aid to memory. It reminds me of markers and milestones on my journey, and brings to mind facets of God’s goodness I might sometimes forget.

God wanted His people to always remember the miracle of the exodus, so he gave them Passover; Jesus wants His people to always remember the wonder of salvation, so He has given us the Lord’s Supper. You may recall that it was at a Passover meal that Jesus instituted what we now call communion. Again we come face to face with Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of Passover.

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