24 Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.
What are these instructions for, what is this ceremony they are to observe? The next six verses tell us much of what the instructions are for and what the ceremony is, but let me be a spoiler and tell you it is the Passover that is still practiced to this day. The next verses tell us
26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
Beyond the Passover meal there was more to be done more instructions to follow so the destroyer would not bring death to the first born of a house.
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
This plague of the first-born was the 10th and final plague. It is the one that caused Pharaoh to finally permit the Israelites to leave Egypt although he would change his mind and send his army after them. The first time the Passover ceremony was followed was a matter of life or death and freedom or continued slavery. Not one home that followed the instructions had a death in their household and the impact on the Pharaoh was immediate after he discovered his son was dead.
31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
Sometimes the consequences of obeying or disobeying God seem rather far off for us unless we are very ill or very aged, but in this case the results were very near term and resulted in ending centuries of slavery to the Egyptians. However, we never know how immediate the results of our choices are going to be. Every day we read of children dying, young people dying, young adults dying, adults dying, and older folks dying. In almost every case none of them were expecting to die.
Some were prepared. Many (most?) were not. “Wait!,” you might say, “How does one prepare?” The answer is this: one simply accepts the free Gift of race from Jesus, repents of one’s sins, and begins the process (a lifelong process) of living as God wants one to live.