I have long known, as it is I think with most, that I learn best by example and repetition. That is a good thing, since the methods I have observed most used by the Lord to teach His children is by example and repetition. This helps me to remember.
Take for example the ordinance of the Passover, practiced by the children of Israel since the days of their deliverance from Egypt. When instructing Moses on how to introduce the Passover to His people, Jehovah declared, “…this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. …when your children shall say unto you, ‘What mean ye by this service?’ That ye shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped’” (Exodus 12:14, 26, 27).
The Passover came as the culmination of the ten plagues brought upon Egypt because of the stubbornness of Pharaoh when commanded to set the children of Israel free. Each of the plagues vexed the people of Egypt, the servants of Pharaoh, and even Pharaoh himself, yet he refused to recognize the power of God and release the children of Israel. Before each plague Moses was commanded of the Lord to speak on His behalf before the pharaoh of Egypt, “Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me” (Exodus 8:1).
I do not know that I would say that the plagues became progressively worse, but they did have the effect of wearing down the people of Egypt to the point that they were ready long before their king for the Israelites to go. Ultimately the final plague was the one that convinced Pharaoh to free the children of Israel. So why not pronounce the most effective plague from the very beginning?
Clearly the Lord knew of the hard heartedness of Pharaoh, and that he would not let His people go without terrible hardship. God told Moses at their very first meeting, “I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go” (Exodus 3:19-20).
Jehovah had a greater purpose in showing forth His wonders than just freeing His people. He wanted them to remember their deliverance, to give them understanding of the things which were to come. None of the plagues, as terrible as they were, were sufficient to soften Pharaoh’s heart and save God’s people. The children of Israel needed to learn that salvation would only come from the blood of the lamb. Pharaoh and Egypt could be worn down, even broken, but only the Savior could provide real salvation as was symbolized to them in the marking of each of their doorways with the blood of an unblemished lamb.
The people of God observed that first Passover, and the destroying angel passed over each of their homes because of the blood of the lamb, yet spared not the firstborn of Egypt. These and this final plague would never be forgotten. Egypt was indeed broken, and God taught His people that singularly by the sacrifice of His Only Begotten, the true Lamb of God, could they be truly saved.
God commanded His people Israel to forever observe the Passover and remember always their deliverance. In observing these things they might remember, learn and understand the divine mission of the coming Savior Jesus Christ.
In like manner, today we as followers of Christ remember Him always, renewing our covenants, by partaking of His emblems, the bread for His flesh, and wine or water for His blood. As on the night of that very first Passover when only the blood of the lamb would save Israel, Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament on that fateful night before His death, when only His blood would save us all, declaring, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19-20).
Why are we taught and do we learn by repetition? We are commanded to remember, and remember always, that we might not forget, that we might teach our children to whom we must turn for salvation. Let us not be guilty of hardened hearts, that the goodness of God and His love may penetrate and bring us the everlasting peace that is in Christ Jesus. As the Passover is celebrated, and we partake of the emblems of His body and blood, May we remember He who saved the children of Israel, and He who saves us all. They are the same. That we might remember, never to forget, and return to His presence, is my prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.