The front of the U-Haul is highly organized. It’s the back that’s in such a state of pandemonium you’re terrified to upon the door to unload. One might think we’ve come to the back of the U-Haul as the Israelites prepare to move, but God is packing, and the last items are a perfect fit. The tail isn’t loose and dangerous, nor are odds and ends haphazardly smashed in. These aren’t random leftovers. Note God’s fine packing skills, His organizational genius.
First, Exodus 11:1–13:16 concern the last wonder and their exodus. Where has the emphasis been? Not on how Israel was saved by judgment, but how she was saved from judgment. The emphasis isn’t on the judgment that falls on Egypt so much as the feasts of commemoration centering on how Yahweh saved them from the same judgment. So the end of this section emphasizes again what has been emphasized. The ending fits the same pattern of organization at the front of the U-Haul.
Second, another repeated pattern is that Yahweh speaks (v. 1) and then Moses speaks (v. 3). When Moses speaks he speaks what Yahweh spoke. See, packing skills displayed undiminished all the way through.
Third, both Unleavened Bread and the lambing, kidding, and calving of their livestock are spring events. They mark fruitfulness. Lambs are being born, wheat is being harvested (13:4). The God who slew the firstborn of Egypt, both man and beast, is the God who made Israel fruitful in Egypt and redeemed them. Further both the consecration of the firstborn and the feast are to be perpetuated from father to son, and God gives a sample liturgy tying both to the exodus (13:8–10, 14–15). Also, the further instructions are concerning how these things are to be observed in the land (13:5, 11).
Finally, these rites remind us these events are not just to be read historically, but theologically. By ending this section with the consecration of the firstborn and the redemption of Sons, great clarity is given as to the meaning of God’s redemption of Israel as His firstborn (Exodus 4:22–23). God provides a substitute for His people that He does not for Egypt. He purchases his son back unto Himself out of judgment by the shedding of a representative’s blood.
Jesus is the firstborn of many brothers. Jesus, the firstborn, represents the family. But for Him there was no substitute. He didn’t need one. We did. He is the substitute. Jesus is as the firstborn of Egypt that we might be as the adopted firstborn of Israel.
God packed these last so that they’d figuratively be the first things unpacked when they got to the promised land. God isn’t tired, haphazardly throwing in a few last odd shaped items. As they leave, they leave with feasts and rites to be perpetuated so they’ll remember His redemption.
Exodus Moving Company: Family owned and operated. Father, Son, and Spirit expertly moving souls out of the bondage of Egypt, paying the full price for the move in an unmatched display of glory.