By The Blood Of The Lamb - A Story for Passover - continued
As morning sun lasered through the stitched seams of Nahshon’s tent onto my eyelids, I realized I’d slept way passed dawn. I tried to get up, but since my circumcision, every move caused excruciating pain. With gritted teeth, I stood to my feet and peeked through the door flap. Our chosen lamb leaped and baaed in joyful play with Nahshon’s giggling children. Tonight I would have the privilege of celebrating Passover with my new friends. In these four days, I too had become very fond of the soft little lamb and it had become his children’s pet. Surely Nahshon would not sacrifice this lamb now when he could just as easily choose another.
I scarfed down the manna cakes left for my breakfast and went in search of Ithamar. As I drew closer to the Tabernacle, the curtained structure that seemed so ominous a few days ago, I heard Eleazar’s voice. Just outside the east-facing tapestry gate, he and Ithamar were instructing the priest trainees and Levites.
“In the past,” Eleazar explained, “Our twilight Passover sacrifices were unorganized. But this year, Ithamar and I are determined to perform them in a more efficient manner.”
“This where you come in,” Ithamar interjected, spotting me as I strolled into view. “Ah, here is our new proselyte. Meet Oreb, the Midianite.”
Although I was already acquainted with some, they did not know I was a Midianite. I saw fear in their eyes. My people had played a sad part in seducing Israel with Baal of Peor and because of this, God sent a plague. Twenty-four thousand Israelites died until Phinehas, Eleazar’s son, grandson of Aaron the priest, zealously turned back the wrath of God.
“I have come in peace.” I said, trying to calm them. “I believe your God is the true God and I want to know Him as you do. My traveling companions returned home when faced with circumcision. Meeting God was my quest, not theirs. But they mean you no harm nor do I.”
With tension eased and priestly instruction concluded, we returned to Nahshon’s tent and my lessons. For two days Ithamar taught about God’s miracles, why Israel is forced to wander in this wilderness, and the glorious day God spoke from the mountain. However today I would hear more of Passover; how Ithamar believes this sacrifice points to something greater, yet that meaning has eluded him.
My ears heard nothing but Ithamar, not even the children when they scurried into the tent after the lamb. Nor did I hear their mother’s scolding.
As Ithamar departed, Nahshon arrived and announced, “It’s time.”
Like taking a cue from a director, the children shouted in unison, “No Papa.”
Salmon clung to the little lamb and sobbed. Some ran to their mother in tears and the two youngest sat on Papa’s feet trying to hold him back.
Heartbroken, I blocked Nahshon and attempted to reason with him. “Maybe just this once you choose another. What would be the harm?”
When he raised his head, I saw agony in his eyes. “Do you think this is easy?” He whispered. “It’s the hardest thing I have to do. I don’t want to hurt my children. Nevertheless it’s God’s Law and it is much easier to sacrifice a lamb than my son.” Nahshon gently removed the children from his feet, detached Salmon’s arms, and lifted the lamb. Caressing the tiny creature, he continued, “Those were the choices Egypt and Israel faced. I was firstborn. The blood of a lamb saved me.”
Then, like a jolt of lightning I understood. This precious lamb is our innocent substitute. It dies in our place. Someday God will send the greater lamb and these painful sacrifices will cease. But until then, we sacrifice, because our salvation is paid by the blood of the lamb.
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. …Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…He was buried, and…He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures...”
(I Cor. 5:7, I Cor. 15:3-4).
(I Cor. 5:7, I Cor. 15:3-4).
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