“Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.” (Exodus 12:42 NIV84)
Over the years, I have read the book of Exodus quite a few times, but today this verse just jumped out at me. It’s funny how the Spirit of God does that. What does it mean that the Lord kept vigil? Usually keeping vigil is something we make our responsibility. We fast, we pray, we set time aside to commit to the purposes of the kingdom of God. But not in our verse for today. It is the Lord who kept vigil on behalf of the Israelites. From the night of the Passover until the children of Israel made it to the other side of the Red Sea, God was the One who was vigilant to guide, govern and protect His people. The Israelites were told that they must annually keep vigil during the Passover in recognition and gratitude of God’s vigilance on their behalf.
As I read this verse today, my mind went to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His arrest. Was it not Jesus who kept vigil that night? People were conspiring, disciples were deceiving, napping and fleeing. Jesus alone was vigilant the night before His crucifixion. He was fighting the spiritual forces of darkness over our eternal disposition. It is in the garden that Jesus agreed to be obedient to the Father’s will no matter what the price would be. Even today Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven. He continuously keeps vigil over the workings of His kingdom. He daily guides, governs, and directs His church to fulfill the task laid out before them. And every Sunday morning we are given the opportunity to provide God our vigilance as we gather together for worship.
Today, let’s be a little overwhelmed and grateful for the vigilance God provides for us and our future.