“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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
Roughly three-fourths of Americans are now covered by a shelter in place order. This is unprecedented in the generations of our times. As I reflect on this I was reminded of the first recorded shelter in place in the Bible. In Exodus 12, the Lord said to Moses to instruct the people to paint on the threshold of their homes the blood of an unblemished lamb. The instructions were specific. It was to be a year old male, taken from the sheep or goats. They were to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month and then kill it at twilight. After putting its blood on their doorposts and lintel, they were to roast and eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. There were also special instructions about disposing of the leftovers and how they should dress for the occasion. It was to be done in haste and to be called “the Lord’s Passover.” The Lord said He will go through the land of Egypt on that night and strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast as God executed His judgment against all the gods they worshiped. The Lord then proclaims, because, “I am the Lord.” Meaning, there is no other God but Him alone. (Exodus 12.1-12)
What wisdom can we gain from this episode in Exodus? Here are seven things I reflected on.
First, the shelter in place protected God’s people from the plague of death that the Lord sent upon the land of Egypt. I believe we would all agree, that until a vaccine or cure is found, that the only defense against our current disease of COVID-19 is to shelter in place. It seems to be doing some good.
Second, the shelter in place was a sacrifice. Moses spoke to the people and said, “and when your children say to you, ‘what does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'” (Exodus 12.26-27) To shelter in many ways is a sacrifice for us today. We are sacrificing work, play, economy, fellowship, and many other areas of our lives. Many are finding their lives turned upside down and are having to make some hard decisions. Some of these decisions require sacrifice in order to remain safe.
Third, to shelter in place requires obedience and discipline. When Moses spoke to the people, it was a community service address to warn them about the coming plague and how to best protect themselves from it. They were to obey God’s word, trust in Him, and discipline themselves to carry out the instructions word for word. This is very difficult for us. Especially, those of us who live in a free society. But, for the good of your family, neighbors and fellow brothers and sisters in faith, it is important for us to work together to do what authorities instruct us to do as long as it does not call on us not to trust or believe in the Lord.
Fourth, to shelter in place provides an opportunity for worship in the home. When the families gathered at that time to make preparation, they did so in reverence and worship to God. Worship requires trust in the Word of God to follow His commands and proclamation of salvation by the covering of His blood over our souls through His only Son, our Lamb, Christ Jesus our Lord. Families celebrated it as a feast unto the Lord and would remember from that time forth How God saved them. As you shelter in place, take this time to pray unto God for His mercies, protection, and for others. Pray for their health, provisions, and salvation.
Fifth, to shelter in place provides an opportunity for the gospel. What did the blood of the Lamb actually represent? It represented the blood of the Lamb of God that was to come, when Jesus, our Lamb sacrificed Himself on the cross for our sins. That anyone who looks to Him alone for the covering of their sin for eternal salvation. So, as you shelter in place, be reminded of this and remind your family, children, and others this great promise by God. It was to be a memorial of redemption for God’s people forever (Exodus 12.23ff). We are coming up to good Friday in a couple of weeks, which corresponds with the Lord’s Passover. Even Jesus celebrated the Passover, and during His final observance, revealed to His disciples, He is the Passover Lamb that came to take away the sins of the world. (Matthew 26.26ff; Mark 14.22ff; Luke 22.17ff)
Sixth, to shelter in place reminds us that no nation, prince, prisoner, or person, great or small is immune to sickness and death. I am reminded in Romans, “for not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” (Romans 14.7-9)
Finally, to shelter in place to is remember God’s grace when this plague passes over. Remember this time. Cherish relationships. Remember what it was like not to be able to worship with your church family. Remember how you were able to live with less rather than more. Remember how this changed you. Remind your kids and others concerning the grace of God, His mercies, and great salvation through His only Son. To shelter in place provides opportunities to worship, walk, and witness unto the Lord.
I pray the Lord’s protection on you all, if not in this life, for the eternal life to come in Christ alone, by faith alone.
Grace and Peace – GT.