Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Reflection's: The Lord Kept Vigil (3 of 4)

Buried in the passover story of Exodus 12 is one of the most precious verses in all of scripture. It is Exodus 12:42 - "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." Eugene Petersen in "The Message" writes, "GOD kept watch all night." This night, passover night, God was Israel's night watchman.

I must admit something to you all. I can be scared of the night. I can be terrified as I awake in the stillness of darkness with only myself and my own thoughts. I can hear the sounds of branches and passing cars and manifest them into rapist and murders coming to attack my wife and children. I can spook myself in the darkness and lonlieness of the night.

This night, one of the most precious night's of our gospel story, is a story of protection. A story of a mighty guardian who spoke into the pain and captivity of slavery with a message of freedom. Coming into the darkness of an Egyptian desert, God served as the night watchman for this motley crew of slaves.

I relate well with the slave language of Romans 6. I have TRULY been trapped as a slave to sin. I have repeated the same sin, and struggled with the same sin patterns for years beyond count. I have been unable to change my behavior, because as Paul says, I am a "slave to unrighteousness."

God's heart, has always broken as he looked on the slavery of his people. He sent Moses as a messenger of this hope to his people in Egypt. We celebrate this day because of a death, because of another passover night, when the Lord would keep vigil to pay the most awesome of prices to redeem his people from a slavery worse than that of Egypt. We celebrate because of a love we can not even fathom. I think Tracy Chapman captured this love well in her song Change.

If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and Love
Would you change?
Would you change?
If you knew that love can break your heart
When you're down so low you cannot fall
Would you change?
Would you change?

The Love of God, the miracle of freedom from the slavery to sin, is a story that calls us to change because for us, the Lord kept vigil.

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