ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 116


“On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating
what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ This annual festival will be
a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead.
Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong
hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’ So observe the decree of this
festival at the appointed time each year.
“This is what you must do when the Lord fulfills the promise he swore
to you and to your ancestors. When he gives you the land where the Canaanites now live, you must present all firstborn sons and firstborn male
animals to the Lord, for they belong to him. A firstborn donkey may be
bought back from the Lord by presenting a lamb or young goat in its
place. But if you do not buy it back, you must break its neck. However, you
must buy back every firstborn son.
“And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’
Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord
brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery. Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, so the Lord killed all the firstborn males throughout
the land of Egypt, both people and animals. That is why I now sacrifice all
the firstborn males to the Lord—­except that the firstborn sons are always
bought back.’ This ceremony will be like a mark branded on your hand or
your forehead. It is a reminder that the power of the Lord’s mighty hand
brought us out of Egypt.”
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the
main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the
shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced
with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God
led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.
Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons
of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you.
When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.”
The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the
wilderness. The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the
day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of
fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did
not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of
the people.

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