It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. – Exodus 12:42
What is this watching? It’s more than observing from a distance. It’s a word meaning sheltering or caring for or protecting. Our translation follows the Latin translation of the Hebrew to use the word ‘pass over’ in verse 23 to say that the LORD will ‘pass over the door’ and not let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you. We can sometimes think of this almost like God ‘skipping by’ the houses of the Israelites, saying, “Oh, not that one.”
But there’s more here. In the night of judgment, God actively protects and guards His people. The LORD watched over these homes, like an eagle hovering with outstretched wings over a nest, so that the destroyer would not enter. This is the imagery we find in Exodus 19:4 where God reminds them, “You have seen how I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself.”
Here’s the big point: it’s true of the judgment which is still to come! God will not merely skip by those who believe in Him. He will actively shelter you beneath His wings while judgment falls upon the heavens and the earth! God will hold you tight and secure. You won’t ‘miss’ the judgment as it skips you. You will be taken from the scene of judgment so that you will only behold it while resting secure in the arms of your Saviour! Christ spent three days in the tomb – watching over you! He sealed you with Him into His tomb of death – so that you might also rise with Him!
Suggestions for prayer
Thank our Merciful Father for sparing us and covering us in His arms of love, mercy, and peace! Rejoice in His Covenant Faithfulness to His Chosen People and pray that many more would find peace and rest in Christ Jesus. In the words of Psalm 17, “Hide me in the shadow of your wings” so that I “will not fear the terror of the night” (Psalm 91)
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church in BC.