Heroes of the Bible

Hesed Saves Israel—Passover

Each year for more than 3,000 years, Jews have celebrated the Passover meal (called the Seder) with unleavened bread and a slain lamb in remembrance of their deliverance from the great tribulation of their slavery in Egypt. The Passover celebrates the hesed of the LORD that endures forever to force ALL pharaohs to let ALL people be free.

The Passover is one of the best examples of the hesed of the LORD that endures forever.

The word hesed in Hebrew is translated a number of ways in English:

     —Faithfulness. (Psalm 117:2 NIV).

     —Love. (Psalm 136 NIV).

     —Mercy. (Psalm 136 KJV).

     —Steadfast love. (Psalm 136 ESV; Exodus 34:6-7).

     —Lovingkindness. (Psalm 136 NASB).

     —Kindness. (Micah 6:8).

Since no one English word captures the richness of the Hebrew word hesed, I will use the word hesed in this blog.

Because of the LORD’s hesed, he told Moses to challenge the pharaoh to let God’s people go free.

God told Moses: “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:7-8).

How would God force the pharaoh to let people be free?

A series of increasingly catastrophic plagues, each one of which proved that the LORD God of Israel is more powerful than the corresponding false god of Egypt that Pharaoh relied upon to oppress and exploit people.

The LORD God told Moses: “I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood [from the Passover] lamb will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Exodus 12:12-14).

Each year for more than 3,000 years, Jews have celebrated the Passover meal (called the Seder) with unleavened bread and a slain lamb in remembrance of their deliverance from the great tribulation of their slavery in Egypt.

From generation to generation, Jews keep the memory of their deliverance alive by having their children ask during the Passover meal: “What does this mean?”. (Exodus 13:14).

In reply, the children are told: “With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. . . . [The Passover lamb] will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.” (Exodus 13:3,6-9,14-16; Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1).

Furthermore, the mighty hand of the LORD—the mighty hesed  of the LORD—saved Jews and non-Jews alike. 

In addition to the Jews, “[m]any other people went up with them” from Egypt (Exodus 12:38). These foreigners are “also to celebrate the LORD’s Passover.” (Numbers 9:14).

And so, the Passover celebrates the hesed of the LORD that endures forever to force ALL pharaohs to let ALL people be free. (Revelation 7:9-17).

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For more of my thoughts about the hesed of the LORD God, please read my blogs “The Hesed of the LORD Endures Forever” and “Hesed Saves and Nurtures Baby Moses”.

For more of my thoughts about Moses, including the Plagues and the Passover, please read my blogs “The Prayer of Moses”, “Immanuel: Moses”, “Places of Worship—Burning Bushes”, and “Building the Temple—Moses”; and please read “PART TWO—Establishing the Work of Your Hands: Moses” in my book The Promised Land, at pages 75-121.