Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jan 22, Ex 13-15

Today's readings are Ex 13-15

Look closely at Ex 13. The first of a series of feasts, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is commanded by the Lord. God has delivered His people. They are to remember this deliverance by celebrating a feast without leaven. But, embedded in the instructions concerning the feasts are a startling number of detailed directives (see Ex 13:5, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16), all of them instructing the Hebrews on what to do when they arrive in the Promised Land. They've seen the miracles, experienced the deliverance and have their guidelines for their new home in Canaan. They even have the presence of the Lord with them! He comes as a pillar of smoke and a pillar of fire and...He does not depart! He will never leave them nor forsake them!

Yet, Gen 13:18 tells us the people came out of Egypt equipped for battle. It's a warning that this may not be an easy trip.

Ex 14 shows us the Egyptians are fickle! They're upset that Pharaoh has sent the Jews away!  God tells Moses, and we assume, His people, that Pharaoh will come after them, and He will reveal His glory to Pharaoh and all his army. Of course, this happens. The surprise comes when the Hebrews see the Egyptian army. We find that they are fickle as well! They’re in trouble and seem to have forgotten everything they’ve seen and heard! They complain to Moses. Moses complains to God. God reminds Moses of the promises and tells him to do as He says. The waters are parted, the Hebrews cross on dry ground. The Egyptians follow, and God destroys them. It’s the most spectacular sign yet! We see their fear of the Lord and their belief in Gen 14:31. Surely, the Hebrews will have no problem trusting God from here on! We’ll see.

Moses composes a beautiful hymn in Ex 15, filled with even more promises of God. They arrive at Marah, where the water is bad, and the people complain! Once again, God delivers them miraculously, sweetening the water. This incident is a foretaste of Naomi, in the Book of Ruth, who was bitter (Ru 1:20) but is made sweet (Ru 5:15-16). It is a promise that any bitterness we may harbor, if we trust in God and repent, will be made sweet. 

This dazzling display of a people allowing themselves to be governed more by their circumstances than by the word of God should lead us to ask, "Am I ever fickle? Do I lose sight of the promises of God when my situation toughens? How often has God blessed me and I've turned right around and complained? Do I fret more over what I lack than I am thankful for what I have?"

1 comment:

  1. John,

    I'm so glad you wrote your last paragraph highlighting how the Hewbrews allowed their circumstances to govern their response to God, forgetting his promises and tending to complain. It's exactly what I was thinking when I was reading these chapters.

    Here we see a people complaining and worrying, after having just seen such amazing things. And I ask myself, "How many times do I worry and complain, forgetting the promises contained in God's word?" That is such a vital question for every believer. "Do we trust and obey, looking to God's word and believing his promises, or do we worry and complain, being governed by our circumstances and completely ignoring the truth of the word?"

    As you noted, he told Moses back in chapter 4 what would happen to Pharoah and his son. Let's all remember, he tells us in his word what will happen and how he will be victorious. We've read the book, and we know how the story ends. Let's believe it and walk by faith, not by sight.