Wisdom and Zeal
For the most part, the old and the young in the faith have not embraced one another. The Holy Spirit moved in the early lives of the elderly in a particular, authentic way. Years pass, and the Spirit of God again moves, in a different but real way in the lives of a younger generation. But instead of making room for each other (and the Holy Spirit!) the two groups become divided.
This is a great tragedy for the Body of Christ, which desperately needs both the zeal of the young and the wisdom of the old: together, such a force would be a formidable threat to the kingdom of darkness; hence, Satan’s strategy to divide.
In the days ahead, however, I believe that impasse is going to change: a whole generation of young believers will arise and be met and embraced by the older generation. And together they will help usher in the Kingdom age. Psalms 110:3 (paraphrased) has been the source of that revelation to me for many years: in the day of His battle, He will have His people of a willing heart; His youth will come to Him as the dew…hallelujah! Zeal, renewed vigor, for the old, and tempering wisdom for the young…what a union! No more defeats like at Ai! (Joshua 7:1-5) Pray for the hastening of such a day.
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year…the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall eat it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it…” (Exodus 12: 5,7,8)
When a sinner comes to Christ as Savior, he is called to leave both the world and sin behind. This is beautifully illustrated in the Old Testament exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. Moses had been commissioned by God for this task of deliverance. But in spite of many miraculous signs, Pharaoh had refused to let the people go. One final plague was about to fall: the death of the first-born. The death angel would pass over the land, and the first-born of both man and beast would die.
To protect His own people, however, the Lord gave them very explicit instructions: they were to choose a year-old lamb, without blemish, to kill it at twilight, place its blood above the doorposts and lintels; then eat it that night, roasted,
with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. They were to eat it all in haste, for their journey out of Egypt was imminent.
The Lord Jesus is the spotless Lamb, without sin, sacrificed for our sins so that we will not be touched by the second death (the lake of fire). This is the meaning of the blood spread along the doorposts and lintels of the houses that night: the death angel would see the blood and “pass over” that dwelling and those inside.
But there was also the matter of leaving Egypt. Egypt in Scripture is almost always synonymous with the concept of “the world”…the world created by the enemy, the world system. We were natural-born citizens of that world, but upon salvation, we are to leave it behind; to be in the world but not of the world. Our Kingdom is no longer part of this world once we become believers in Christ. So in type that is exactly what the Israelites were doing that night in Exodus 12.
But to leave Egypt (the world) behind, they had to do three things: eat the lamb, prepared with bitter herbs, and eat unleavened bread with what became known as the Passover meal. The lamb of course pointed to Christ; it (He) had to be “in them” as the very strength they would need for the journey ahead. Without taking it (Him) inside them, they would never make it out of Egypt. But even that was not enough: they also had to eat the bitter herbs and unleavened bread. None of the three could be left out if they were to succeed in their departure from slavery in Egypt.
In type and shadow, eating the lamb pictures “Christ in us,” the hope of glory. This is basic, foundational: without the living reality of Christ in us, failure to leave the world behind is certain. But this crucial truth has been somehow hidden by the enemy, which leaves new believers trying to forsake the world and the things of the world in their own strength.
What is even worse, some do not even include leaving the world behind as part of their message of salvation! So as a result, many new believers take at least part of the world with them into their new life in Christ; or they pick and choose among the things of the world, avoiding those they deem “bad” but indulging in others they decide are all right. The Word of God, however, is quite clear on this issue:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
(I John 2:15)
The same apostle also declared that “the whole world lies in the evil one,” meaning Satan, who along with fallen man, have created the current world.
In addition to Christ in them as their very life-strength, they were also to eat bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Both of these items pointed to sin: the bitter herbs being representative of past sins, which had put them into bondage to the Egyptians in the first place. The eating of the herbs was both a reminder and a deep repentance for those sins.
The unleavened bread, on the other hand, stood for present sins, those transgressions they were guilty of committing even at the moment of their deliverance (salvation). They too had to be repented of and left behind.
How clearly this pointed to our own salvation in Christ: it is only by the strength of His Life within, and spirit-deep repentance for both past and present sins that we can ever truly leave the world and sin behind and make our way toward the Kingdom. The church today has grown lax and tolerant of sin within its very walls. An unscriptural form of easy belief has crept in: just be sorry for your sins and believe in Jesus and you’re all right. It’s okay if you still live with your girlfriend…bring her along and we’ll get her saved too…everything will work out by and by…etc., etc., etc.!
How far below the true gospel message we have fallen, to a “form” of godliness with no power.