Day 22: The Cup of Deliverance (Judgement or Plagues)
I will free you from being slaves to them. Exodus 6:6b
This second cup of the Seder follows The Telling. The cup begins full, but since a full cup represents joy, some wine must be emptied to be more appropriate to the meaning of this part of the ritual. Often a finger is dipped into the cup, and as each of the ten plagues is recited, a droplet of the wine is allowed to fall onto the plate for each judgment.
In order to redeem Israel from captivity, God chose to send judgments on the nation which had enslaved them. These judgments, or plagues, targeted the many gods of the Egyptians—gods that the people of Israel might have looked to themselves. Yahweh showed his people that he was more than equal to the power of any of the gods of the nation which had held them in bondage. They needn’t fear the wrath of these toothless deities.
This, perhaps, is why there are alternate names for this cup. It certainly was a cup of joyous deliverance, but it was also an awful time of judgment. Some of the plagues directly affected the Israelites as well, so they could get a little personal taste of how mighty their God was. But later God made a distinction between his people and the Egyptians. Nevertheless, even watching what God did to their captors must have caused a bit of trembling awe in the Israelites, as well.
We need to consider this as we long for the Lord to return and free us, to deliver us from this world. Yes, it will be a joyous thing when he takes us out, and we should look forward to it. But it will also be a horrendous cup of judgment on those who have not sought refuge under the blood of the Lamb. God warned his people not to crave to see the Day of the Lord (see Amos 5:18-20). Let us consider this cup with both joy and trembling!
• From what bondage has the Lord delivered you? Have there been sins or habits or fears that once held you captive?
• If you are still captive to something, what power can his promise, “I will free you from being slaves to them,” have for your situation?
• Are there people in your life for whom this would be a cup of judgment? Ask the Lord to bring them his redemption.
Lord, thank you that I am no longer a slave to sin, because you have set me free. For those places in my life where I’m not living that freedom out fully, teach me to hold on to your promise, “I will free you.”
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministires