In the hours of a Passover Seder, the subtly of its message can get lost in the ache of sitting, mental boredom, or translation itself.
Yet, during the Passover Seder you will note a series of fours: children, questions, cups, and stages of redemption. Why?
While all of these elements are intertwined as one story, one lesson stands out, that of redemption. In the Hebrew text of Exodus 6:6-7, a prominent Passover text, we find four verbs to describe redemption. As we read:
“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
He will, 1) “bring you out … 2) save you … 3) redeem you … 4) take you …”
We note from this that deliverance is in stages; or we can understand it as a process. Yes, in messianic faith we understand the fullness of salvation to be a now, but not yet. Still, there is something more at work that gives encouragement.
First, the Lord delivers His people from oppressive bondage to sin and shame. Second, He releases us from subjection to the kingdom of darkness. Third, He redeems from the midst of destruction. Fourth, He takes us to Himself.
What do we learn from this?
Paul encourages us, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).
Wrongly applied, “fear and trembling” seems to imply that salvation can be lost, especially if we do not work at it. Not very encouraging, and this is not at all what Paul has in mind.
Fear and trembling describes the reverent humility of one saved, not by their own effort or moral goodness, but by the unmerited action (Eph. 2:8-9) of God in fulfilling His promises to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:13-14) by the promised lamb (Gen. 22:8).
Not in our own strength do we reach the goal (Ro. 10:4), but in the working of God’s will as it works in us according to His pleasure.
Recognize that we, as His people, are growing, not all at once, as that would be unhealthy, but gradually. While our souls are safely renewed in Yeshua/Jesus, we continue to mature in faith as He leads us out of our personal and corporate Egypt.
Let’s recognize the stages, given by the Lord, submit to His leading along the way, and rejoice in both the great and small victories in Him that manifest in our lives.
That is the message of these four verbs, and how we can deepen our understanding of them for today.
Be well. Shalom.