Exodus 13:17-15:18 Matthew 21:23-46 Psalm 26:1-12 Proverbs 6:16-19
There are some huge stories in today’s readings. In fact, it is hard to pick just one passage to write about, but I’m going to give it a try!
In the reading from Exodus, the Israelites are finally breaking free from the bondage of the Egyptians. God had sent the plagues to Egypt and after the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, including Pharoah’s son, he relented and “let the people go.” With this the final plague, Pharoah had had enough. But he soon changed his mind.
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.Exodus 13:17-18
God had a plan that included confusing the Egyptians, but the Israelites soon became unnerved. The desert was too much for them, and they soon lost faith.
How many times do we do that in our lives? We think something is going to be great (freedom from bondage in this case), and then when we get that thing, yet we still are not happy. The Israelites are freed from slavery, but because they are put into the unknown, the desert, without provision, they become fearful. They would rather go back to being enslaved rather than being free.
They knew what they had before, and even though it was slavery, at least it was familiar, thus was preferable to the unknown which caused fear. But the Bible says that God would, “harden Pharaoh’s heart” and cause him to pursue the Israelites so God would have all the glory. Now, I’m not going to pursue the issue of free will, I will leave that for the theologians, but it is illustrative of the human condition.
God was preparing something to show his power and providence, but because fear entered into the hearts of the Israelites, they lost faith in the God of Israel. Later in this passage, it said and “Angel of the Lord” was in front of the Israelites guiding them, even though he couldn’t be seen. And of course, we know that Charlton Heston, I mean Moses, lifted his arms and God parted the Red Sea and allowed the former slaves to walk across the sea on dry land while the sea swallowed up the Egyptians behind them, thereby truly freeing the Hebrews.
Have you experienced hard times in your life and felt fear, maybe felt like God was far away? Perhaps he was near, but just ahead of you preparing something that you couldn’t even imagine! Could you have imagined the parting of an entire sea? With God, all things are possible, Genesis 18:4. And if we know that is true, and as Christians we do, we need to remember that when we feel fear it just might be that God has sent an Angel ahead of us to prepare the way.
What do you think? Until next time, peace.
Tyndale. The One Year Bible NIV (OYB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 1511-1512). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.