And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you…
(A Good Friday Sermon): —
I. I ASK YOU TO OBSERVE THE PROVISION WHICH GOD MADE IN THE PASSOVER FOR THE SAFETY OF HIS PEOPLE. The dykes of Holland, which shut out the roaring ocean from the fertile fields, and the levees of the Mississippi guiding a mighty river in its course, have more than once been cut. But he who thus enchains the fierce spirit of the flood is apt to find himself in the pathway of its devastation. So can no man cut through the great principles of right and truth without opening sluice ways of destruction for himself. Reckless injustice, cruel oppression, will sooner or later overthrow the very man who has thus wronged his fellow. And nations may equally beware of breaching the barriers of Divine judgment. The water will find out the hiding-place of a guilty people. France reaps to-day the ripening harvest of her martyred Albigenses and her bloody St. Bartholomew. The stroke had fallen with relentless impartiality "from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon." There was no distinction in the common and overwhelming calamity. So intertwined were Egypt and Israel. The slave was dependent upon his master, as the vine is upon the oak; but that very dependence only the more entirely involved the one in the calamity of the other. When death was on the wing of the pestilence, no power short of a miracle could separate the child of Jacob from the firstborn of Egypt. But a miracle did God work, a miracle so peculiar in its character that not one of all Israel's thousands died with the sons of the oppressor. But their deliverance was duo to no foresight of their own. The soldier who cuts his way out of the encircling hosts of the enemy, the pilot who safely threads the mazes of the dangerous channel, the statesman who foils the blows and parries the thrusts of his country's enemies on the battle-field of diplomatic controversy, can each point to the skill and prudence with which his web of plans was woven, and glory in his success. But when Israel was saved from the destruction of Egypt's firstborn, no one of all their mighty host could say, "I saw the danger, and by my wisdom provided deliverance." The whole method of safety for God's people was one that originated with God Himself. No man would ever have thought of it, or, if he had, would have had any confidence in its success. It is a lamb slain, through which the Lord would guam each household of Israel from Egyptian condemnation. In one word, it was a sacrifice that alone could stand between the firstborn and the destroyer. Oh, when the Lamb is slain, when the sacrifice is made, when the Son of God hangs bleeding on the Cross, wilt thou wait till the shadowy wing of the death-angel darkens thy door, dreaming that thou hast some better way than God's to save thy soul from righteous condemnation?
II. WHAT WAS THE ISRAELITE TO DO TO AVAIL HIMSELF OF THE SACRIFICE WHICH GOD HAD THUS PROVIDED? Perched on a grey crag, like the nest where the eagle rears her young, Quebec looked down in proud security upon the St. Lawrence flowing to the sea. With muffled oars and bated breath, beneath the mantle of midnight, an English army floated with the ebb ti de down the stream, and lay hidden at the base of the frowning heights. Inaccessible as the fortress seemed, a path had been discovered. A way there unquestionably was by which the precipice could be scaled. But to avail themselves of that approach, to make use of their discovery, was a task so perilous, a venture so begirt with difficulty and danger, that none but heroes ever would have tried. So did God reveal to the Israelite a path by which he could save his household from the dread visitation of the angel of death. The sacrifice was slain. The paschal lamb lay bleeding its life away. But how was the Hebrew householder to use the sacrifice? Here was the road to safety, but was it not some mighty effort, some gigantic labour, some costly addition to the sacrifice which would make it defence in the mysterious visitation of the fast-approaching night? How through this pathway could the heights of security be gained? In one word, when God had done His share in the provision of the offering, what was man to do to apply its protection to himself? There is a Divine answer to that question: "Ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it into the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side-posts with the blood; and the blood shall be for a token upon the houses where ye are, and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt." And this is all l No mighty struggles to make the sacrifice more costly. No pompous rites to render it more acceptable. Nothing in the world but sprinkling a few drops of the blood upon the doorway of the dwelling. And even that was no work; it was simply an acceptance of God's work. It was precisely equivalent to saying, "I cannot devise any way of defence to ward off the dread visitation from ray dwelling: but I trust God's way." Oh ye who are waiting on the brink of decision for Christ, I pray you hear this precious truth! I tell you, if you only knew what a glorious thing it is that a lost sinner can be saved just by accepting Jesus, you would not leave this church till His precious blood upon your soul bore witness to your salvation. Twenty years ago a venturesome whale-ship, driven from her course, found a deserted brig drifting among the ice-floes of the polar sea. Deserted by her crew, her rudder guided by no human hand, she had sailed, like the ship of the "Ancient Mariner," into that silent sea. Her gallant discoverers brought their prize through untold perils into port. But the tidings spread that the staunch ship, which for well nigh two years had sailed among the frozen horrors of the northern seas, without a living soul within her open sides, was one of an English fleet that the British Government had sent to rescue the heroic Franklin. Then it was that our country did a beautiful, as well as noble act. Our government fitted up the vessel in every minutest detail. From stem to stern her old aspect was restored. On the deck, in her cabin, not an article was lacking to render her complete. And then, with grateful courtesy, the costly gift was sent across the ocean and given back, a freewill offering to the Government of England. The glory of the deed belonged to America alone. No British seaman had helped to save her. Not a farthing of English money had aided in her restoration. Even in her voyage across the Atlantic, the crew that manned, the officers that commanded, her were of our own country's navy. For England there remained nothing to do. She could only accept the salvation of her vessel as a free and generous gift. Oh type of God's work for man; image of the simplicity of man's accepting faith! Brother, your soul has long been like a ship abandoned to the seas. God's mercy alone has kept it so long afloat. Drifting amidst icebergs, tossed on a heaving sea, it is a miracle of Providence that it has not sunk beneath the depths. And now God would save it. He would rescue it from danger. He would restore its long-lost peace, its heavenly hope, its shattered purity, and give it back to you redeemed and for ever saved. But God will do it all. He will not give His glory to another. He will not let you add one solitary item to redeeming love, or pay one farthing for the blessings of salvation. There is absolutely nothing for you to do hut to accept the gift. And this is faith. Oh take Him at His word!
Parallel VersesKJV: And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
WEB: The blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be on you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.