Spiritual Migration

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Passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable.

Exodus(30) (Part of the Rescued(29) series)
by Stuart Johns(233) on March 10, 2024 (Sunday Morning(336))

Obedience(34), Salvation(82), Spiritual Heritage(1), Worship(25)


Spiritual Migration

(Exodus 12:21-30)



“A team of researchers studied a bird species called the Caspian tern. Using GPS, the team followed their annual migration from the Baltic Sea to the African tropics. One researcher explained the purpose of the project: ‘We wanted to get a better idea of how the migratory skills of birds are passed from one generation to another in a species where individuals normally migrate together.’


It has long been known that birds migrate communally, as witnessed by the annual migrations of large flocks of geese during the North American spring and fall seasons. However, little is known about interactions among the members of traveling flocks.


Having studied the Caspian tern's migration behavior, the research team found that father terns teach their young about the secrets of migration while defending them from dangers they encounter along the way. One researcher said. ‘This is very fascinating behavior, which we really did not expect to find when setting up our study.’


The scientists even observed a case of a foster father bird filling in for a father's role. Young birds always stayed close to the adult bird. Indeed, young strays died. The authors of the study suggest that young birds must remain in contact with a parent during a first foray to winter grounds.


The team also found that when the young birds make their first solo return flight to breeding grounds in Europe, they took the same migratory routes on which they were accompanied by their fathers. In Caspian terns, migration knowledge is inherited through culture from one generation to another. This has consequences on the decisions individuals make years after they first migrated with their father.”


Source: Martin M. Barillas. "Like learning to drive." NewsWeek (3-28-22).





  • ME

    • My father’s example

        • I remember coming down stairs each morning after getting ready for school and finding my father sitting in the living room either reading his Bible or praying

        • That had a significant impact on my life

        • I also watched my father and mother live out their faith every day

    • My example

        • I spend time with the Lord every morning, but I don’t do it in the living room where my sons could see, rather I spend time with the Lord in my bedroom (I wish I would have done it differently)

        • Judy and I have lived out our faith every day for our boys to see

        • They experienced our family moving from state to state as we followed the Lord’s leading

        • Our prayer is that they will follow our spiritual migration in their own lives and the lives of their families


  • WE

    • How many of us have lived out our faith for our family to see?

    • How many of us have guided the next generation, so they know how to have a personal relationship with the Lord?

    • How many of us have tried to show others what a spiritual migration looks like?


Moses shared the Lord’s command with the Israelites about the sacrificial animal and the doorposts of their homes, but he also shared the instruction from the Lord about telling the next generation about the meaning of the ceremony. ​​ Moses wanted the Israelites and us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable.


Let’s pray

  • GOD (Exodus 12:21-30)

    • Command Communicated (vv. 21-23)

        • Everything that we have read in chapters 11 and 12 so far was a conversation between the Lord and Moses and Aaron

          • What we see in verses 21-28 is Moses communicating everything to the Israelites that the Lord had told him

          • First he gives them the command concerning Passover and then he instructs them about sharing it with future generations

        • Engaged (v. 21a)

          • Moses summoned all the elders of Israel

          • We are not told how many there were

          • This was the fastest and best way to communicate the Passover regulations to the rest of the Israelites

            • The elders would tell the clan leaders

            • The clan leaders would tell the family heads

            • The family heads would tell their family members

            • They must of all did an excellent job of communicating, because no Israelites died during the final plague

            • There were no email or text lists, websites or social media accounts, or calling chains to use

            • It was all word of mouth

          • In Numbers 1:1, 46 we are told that the total number of men counted who were 20 years old or more were 603,550

            • This census took place two years after the Israelites came out of Egypt

            • It is also important to note that the Levites were not included in the census

            • So, the total number of Israelites including the women, children, and Levites was vast, which is why Moses and Aaron used the elders to communicate the Passover regulations

          • The elders were given the responsibility of disseminating the information, which would include the actions they needed to take, a warning, and a promise

        • Action (vv. 21b-22a)

          • Choose their sacrificial animal

            • The elders were to communicate that each household was to select a male lamb or goat that was a year old, without any defects (Exodus 12:3, 5)

            • If a household was too small to eat an entire year old lamb or goat, then they must share with their closest neighbor (Exodus 12:4)

            • Once they selected the animal, they were to slaughter it

            • The original Hebrew does not have the word “lamb” after “Passover” because it could be a lamb or a goat, which is why the word “animals” is used earlier in verse 21.

          • Spread blood on the doorframe

            • This was the responsibility of the male head of the household [share about Sight & Sound’s production of Moses and how the men spread the blood on the doorframe]

            • They were to have a basin in which to catch the blood from the animal

            • Next, they needed to take a bunch of hyssop and dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and both sides of the doorframe

              • What we call hyssop may not have been found in Syria and Arabia

              • Hyssop was either wild marjoram or a kind of thyme [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 334]

              • “While the identity of hyssop has not been definitively established, it has traditionally been taken as a species of marjoram, a small aromatic plant with many hairy stems and small white flowers, often found in rocky areas of Palestine.” [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 225]

              • Whatever the actual plant was, we see that they were able to use it to collect blood from the basin and spread it on the doorframe of the house

          • The elders were also to communicate a warning after giving the Israelites the command about Passover

        • Warning (v. 22b)

          • Once the blood was applied to the doorframe, the Israelites were to remain in their houses until morning

            • This warning also protected the Israelites from accidentally being with an Egyptian family when the plague hit [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 288]

            • ​​ “The blood smeared on the lintel and door-posts was clearly protective. ​​ It formed a barrier that the Lord would respect when he brought the tenth plague on Egypt.” ​​ [Mackay, 225]

          • This was the promise the Lord made for those who were obedient

        • Promise (v. 23)

          • The Israelites would be protected from the destroyer

          • The Lord would recognize the obedience of each Israelite household and not permit the destroyer to enter their houses and strike down their firstborn

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Being under the blood ensures God’s mercy.

            • Mercy is not getting what we deserve

              • What we deserve is God’s wrath

              • What we deserve is eternal separation from God

            • Israelites

              • The only way the Israelites would experience God’s mercy was by spreading blood on the top and sides of their doorframes – being under the blood of a perfect lamb or goat

              • If they refused to be obedient, they would have suffered the same heartache as the Egyptians – their firstborn would be killed

            • Us

              • The only way we can experience God’s mercy is by being under the blood of Jesus – having the blood of Jesus spread on the top and sides of the doorframe of our lives

              • Those of us who refuse to be under the blood of Jesus will suffer the heartache of being separated from God for all of eternity

              • Matthew 9:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. ​​ Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ ​​ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. ​​ Away from me, you evildoers!’”

              • Gospel

                • We cannot experience God’s mercy by doing any of the following things:

                  • Being a good person

                  • Going to church every week

                  • Tithing every paycheck

                  • Helping the poor

                  • Being a good neighbor

                  • Believing in God

                  • Prophesying in Jesus’ name

                  • Driving out demons in Jesus’ name

                  • Performing many miracles

                  • Fill in the blank with anything other than being covered by the blood of Jesus

                • We can experience God’s mercy if we accept Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross for us

                  • Hebrews 9:22, In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

                  • 1 John 1:7-10, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. ​​ If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. ​​ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ​​ If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

                  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Make sure I am under the blood of Jesus by confessing my sins, so I can experience God’s mercy.

        • Moses gave the elders the command from the Lord, but he also gave them some instructions from the Lord too

    • Instructions Issued (vv. 24-28)

        • The Israelites were to obey the instructions as a lasting ordinance for future generations

          • We talked last week about what the lasting ordinance meant – there was no limit to the number of years they were to observe it

            • They were to observe Passover and then the Feast of Unleavened Bread

            • Last week we saw when these two ceremonies were to be observed – month of Abib, days 14-21

          • The Lord even gave them a peek into the future when He instructed them to observe the ceremony when they entered the Promised Land (this meant they would be entering the Promised Land)

        • Educative opportunity

          • They were going to have the privilege and responsibility of teaching their children what the ceremony meant to them

            • Each year there would be a group of children who would be old enough to understand and ask the question, “What does this ceremony mean to you, Dad?”

            • The father of each household would then be able to share the miraculous deeds that the Lord accomplished in Egypt – they would share:

              • About being oppressed by the Egyptians

              • About crying out to the Lord for help

              • About God providing an unlikely leader, in Moses, who made it more difficult on them at first

              • About the miraculous signs the Lord did through Moses and how most of the plagues did not affect them, but only the Egyptians

              • About how they were protected from the Lord’s final plague by sacrificing a year old lamb or goat without defect and spreading the blood on the doorframes of their houses – when the Lord saw the blood, He would not permit the destroyer to enter their homes and kill the firstborn

              • That is why they continued to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread ceremonies every year

            • Passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Passing on a spiritual heritage is the responsibility of parents.

            • Going to church with someone other than our parents

              • How many of us grew up going to church with a grandparent or other family member other than our parents?

              • How many of us saw this happen with our friends as we grew up?

            • Spiritual instruction at home

              • How many of us grew up with little to no spiritual instruction at home, because Dad and Mom thought the Sunday school teacher or the youth group leader could handle that?

              • Perhaps our parents just felt inadequate at sharing about God and the Bible

            • This is an incredible opportunity for Dad’s and Mom’s

              • You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar

              • You don’t have to have a Bible degree

              • You just have to share what Jesus has done for you in your life

              • You just have to pray together with your spouse and children

              • You just have to read the Bible together as a family

              • We have so many resources at our fingertips to be able to share and pass on a spiritual heritage to our children

                • You Version Bible app has a Kids Bible Experience

                • There are all kinds of apps that are available to help teach your children about God and the Bible (just make sure they are teaching truth)

                • RightNow Media is another resource that is available for FREE

                • Reading Our Daily Bread together as a family is another way to connect with God and each other

              • Our children will love what we love, value what we value, and invest in what we invest in

              • We are only one generation away from being a completely pagan culture, so passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to passing on a spiritual heritage by ______________________.

          • The Lord wants us to pass on our spiritual heritage, just like He wanted the Israelites to pass on their spiritual heritage

          • What we see next is the Israelites reaction

        • Reaction of the Israelites

          • They bowed down and worshiped

            • How beautiful is that!

            • They acknowledged God’s protection and mercy by worshiping Him

            • “Bowing and worshiping says ‘I submit, I agree, I cooperate.’” ​​ [Stuart, 290]

            • That should be our reaction too

          • They obeyed what the Lord commanded through Moses and Aaron

            • They did everything that God instructed them to do

              • They went and selected a year old lamb or goat without defect

              • They slaughtered it at the threshold of their home

              • They collected the blood from the animal in a basin

              • They used a bunch of hyssop to smear blood on the top and sides of their doorframes

              • They ate the animal, after roasting it over the fire, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread

              • They remained in their homes all night

            • Because of their obedience, the Lord allowed the destroyer to pass over their homes and not kill their firstborn

          • Application

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Our response to God’s protection and mercy should be worship and obedience.

              • We can sometimes neglect to worship the Lord when He protects us from harm

              • We can sometimes neglect to obey the Lord when He shows us mercy

              • We need to be attentive to God’s protection and mercy in our lives

              • When we recognize it, we need to stop, worship Him, and be obedient to what He is asking us to do

              • Jeremiah 7:21-23, “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! ​​ For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: ​​ Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.’”

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship God for His protection and obey Him because He is merciful.

          • The Israelites responded to the Lord’s protection and mercy with worship and obedience

        • The focus shifts from the Israelites to the Egyptians in the final two verses

    • Plague Promised (vv. 29-30)

        • The final plague that the Lord had promised (Exodus 11:4-6) had arrived

        • At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt (human and livestock) regardless of their social status

          • Keep in mind that the firstborn may not have been a child

          • “This was not a case, however, of returning evil for evil. ​​ It was a case of divine retribution, justice meted out to those who deserved it, a judgment against an entire society and their absurd religious beliefs that led them to practice the horrible treatment they had given the Israelites in the past, thinking it appropriate.” ​​ [Stuart, 291-92]

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is both merciful and just.

              • We see His mercy in taking the firstborn in the middle of night while they were sleeping

              • We see His justice in holding Pharaoh and the Egyptians accountable for their actions

              • We are like Pharaoh and the Egyptians

                • We rebel against the Lord and refuse to be obedient

                • We worship other things above Him

                • We oppress and mistreat those around us

                • Fortunately, we can seek God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ

              • “Are you turning to the Substitute, Jesus Christ, that you might receive His mercy?” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 72]

          • This plague finally stirred Pharaoh’s heart to be obedient to the Lord’s command – “Let my people go!” (that is for another message)

        • Reaction of the Egyptians

          • I’m certain that Pharaoh, his officials, and all the Egyptian people did not rest well

          • They had probably heard what was predicted with this final plague

          • I would guess that most parents were checking on their firstborn frequently throughout the night

          • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

            • I remember learning about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when we were expecting our first child

            • That is a scary thing for a first time parent, because their did not seem to be any rhyme or reason to why it happened

            • Judy had the supernatural ears that most mothers have, so she was able to hear him breathing from the other room and knew when something sounded different

            • I was grateful for that!

          • Every household experienced death, which caused the Egyptians to wail loudly


  • YOU

    • Make sure you are under the blood of Jesus by confessing your sins, so you can experience God’s mercy.

    • How are you going to pass on a spiritual heritage to your children?

    • Worship God for His protection and obey Him because He is merciful.

  • WE

    • How are we going to pass on the spiritual heritage we have at Idaville Church to the next generation?

    • We need to worship and obey God for His protection and mercy on us as a body.



“What factors help Christian youth maintain their faith into adulthood? A major research project called the National Study of Youth and Religion found the following three factors:


  • The young person's parents practiced the faith in the home and in daily life, not just in public-church settings.

  • The young person had at least one significant adult mentor or friend, other than parents, who practiced the faith seriously.

  • The young person had at least one significant spiritual experience before the age of 17.


In other words, teenagers are most likely to retain their Christian faith into adulthood if they have had a meaningful and healthy relationship with their parents, a faithful Christian mentor outside of the family, and with God himself.


In conclusion, unless there is a specific adult in a teenager's life who shows the teenager by example and in the context of a meaningful, long-term relationship how an adult incorporates Christian faith into daily life, no program, camp, mission trip, youth group, worship style, musical trend, Sunday school, church reform, updated pastoral style, modernization, or even catechetical class will make a statistically significant difference. Further, to retain their faith into adulthood young people need to experience God's grace for themselves.”


Source: Adapted from Seraphim Danckaert, "Losing our Religion," Orthodox Heterodoxy (4-8-14).