Chapter 37 Feasting Unto Ongoing

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover (Exodus 12:11).

When we assemble for worship and remembrance meeting, we look for something to strengthen us for the coming days. The twelfth chapter of Exodus records the institution of the passover feast in Israel. Every fragment of that feast holds within its embrace spiritual principles which apply to our Lord’s own remembrance feast. These ancient ceremonies are the pleasure ground of spiritual minds, and the way to ever-revealing views of Christ Jesus our Lord. The Old Testament is a boundless mine. The more we dig, the richer the treasure.

Israel’s Ongoing

The passover feast had this cautionary word: “Thus shall ye eat it;” that is, not anyhow, not with a slothful spirit, not with indulgent ease, but with “loins girded … shoes on your feet…staff in your hand.” They were to be ready for a forward movement toward the Lord’s promised inheritance in Canaan.

Though their deliverance would be wholly of the Lord— and that by a new and living way through the place of death in the Red Sea trough—the journey would require putting forth every ounce of strength on their part. This strength was to be derived from feeding on the slain paschal lamb. Thus, before beginning the journey, they were to be partakers of the same lamb whose sprinkled blood had sheltered and secured them on the night God passed over Egypt in judgment.

We read at one point that, after their deliverance and while journeying on, Moses said to his father-in-law, Hobab, “We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you” (Numbers 10:29). They were a people on the march. Life now was to be an onward progress to the promised land. God the Lord was to go before them; they were to follow Him. He would lead and guide. Unless He does so none can find their paths—for this world is a barren waste.

Moses pressed on Hobab an invitation to join them, and he did so with the promise of good: “for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.” So Moses reasoned. But Hobab was not settled. His feelings fluctuated. He hesitated. He looked toward the attractions of an earlier scene, and to that he returned—never to enter the promised land. To go back, as Hobab did, is to clasp a shadow, to grasp a nettle, to lean on a broken reed.

When Moses stated the fact about the promised land, there was no uncertainty about it though it was some distance away. In guiding, God does not deceive. The promised land was a heavenly pledge. What a happy state it is to be “in the faith”! Faith has an eagle eye and will quicken the step. It can see through the mists and darkness of the present. It cannot settle for anything else than God’s promised land.

The eating of the passover feast with such readiness meant a great urge in the Lord’s people to move onward into what surely would be rest. There would be no more burdens to bear, no more enemies to fight. The watchword, therefore, was “Let us go on.” Their new life in redemption called for that! The promised land urged them forward. The passover feast fortified them for the journey.

Our Lord’s Ongoing

At the end of His upper room discourse, the Lord said something similar: “Arise, let us go hence” (John 14:31). In that room the shadow of the cross had fallen upon the hearts of the disciples. But, said the Lord, “Let not your heart be troubled”—everything is going to be all right.

In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul shows us something of the Lord’s journey from the heights of glory down to the shame of the cross. It was a going down—a laying aside of everything in order to accomplish something. He would brush everything aside for man’s redemption. There was to be no delay. Nothing was to stand in the way. Love for us was the one pulse of His heart. He would come to purchase an eternal inheritance for us. That would be a gift worthy of God, who gave it; worthy of the blood the Son of God would shed to purchase it; worthy of the Holy Spirit who would call us to it.

So, also, when here on earth, the Lord set His face steadfastly toward the cross. There was no withholding, no loitering, no hanging back. When Peter tried to hold Him back, the Lord Jesus soundly rebuked him. In His sufferings and death alone could there be redemption. Then mark His firm step, His loins girt, shoes on His feet, staff in hand, as it were. There was no hesitation in His coming from Heaven to earth. Nor was there hesitation in His going to Calvary. He was journeying to a prearranged end—God’s end.

The Believer’s Ongoing

Believers are part of a marching host. Earth is not their rest. They live a stranger-life. They hold a pilgrim staff. They must march on. Their anchor must not be cast in sand. Their affections must not entwine around earthly stems. Their home and mansions are on high. A journey lies before them.

The note struck at the paschal feast reverberates also at the Lord’s Supper. “Let us go on,” wrote the apostle to the Hebrew Christians. There is a real link between Israel’s paschal feast—the note struck at our Lord’s remembrance feast—and the life to be lived by His redeemed ones. “I press toward the mark,” said Paul (Philippians 3:14). The theme is one. In each case, all impediments are to be laid aside for an ongoing—a pursuit—a quest. The whole Bible is taken up with this. To make ongoing the best possible, absolute obedience is required. There is something in this feast—something timeless, something strengthening—which will help us to go on in a spiritual way.

There are difficulties in the way. There were difficulties in Israel’s ongoing. There were such in the way for our Lord. There will be for us. Our foes are many, mighty, wily, restless. They lurk in every place, waiting to assault. The world, too, opposes with its snares, temptations, foul seductions, enticing lusts, siren smiles, terrible threats. But we are to go on. Nothing will better give us strength for the journey than the constant remembrance of the sacrifice of our Lord and our feeding upon Him.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me, Lord, some rapturous measure,
Meet for blood-bought hosts above;
While I sing the countless treasure
Of my God’s unchanging love.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to save my soul from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
Rescued thus from sin and danger,
Purchased by the Saviour’s blood,
May I walk on earth a stranger,
As a son and heir of God,

Robert Robinson