Tag Archive: Israelite


Looking Back at God’s Provision

Photo credit: Greenfleet Forester, May 2013

Have you ever noticed it’s sometimes difficult to see God’s provision until after the fact?

After we walk through the valley or make it to the other side of the land between, that’s when it’s easier to look back and see where God was at work. But while we’re in the exhausting day-to-day of the land between, it can be harder to see the ways God provides for us.

We know what we’re looking for. We already have in mind what we need or want God to do, and when we don’t see it, it’s easy to assume He’s not doing anything.

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. In that time, God supplied everything they needed. The obvious was food and water. They were looking for it, and they saw God provide it.

But I wonder if during those years anyone said, “Hey, have you noticed how long these sandals have lasted? And our clothes—seems like they should be worn out by now.”

God provided what they needed, whether they noticed it at the time or not. But as Moses prepared to die, he looked back over those years…

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:

Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 29:2-6

The Israelites weren’t getting it—all that time God took care of them. He wanted them to trust Him for everything and know that He would continue to provide.

Are we any different?

We get bogged down and miss seeing God’s ways, but when we look back, our vision of God’s provision is clearer. We’re able to see that God knew just what we needed, even when we didn’t.

The perfectly-timed phone call from a friend that turned a bad day around.

The utility bill we dreaded receiving, but turned out to be less than expected.

A good night’s sleep that enabled us to deal with the events of the next day.

The direction we needed and found in His Word.

It’s so important to look back at how God has provided because it allows us to see the full picture; where before we could only see one piece at a time.

Looking back strengthens our trust. We see how God provided then…and our trust that He will continue to take care of all of our needs grows stronger.

And the more we experience and know we can depend on Him, the more confident we are that God will provide…even when it’s not in the ways we’re looking for.

When you look back, is there a time in your life when you didn’t recognize God’s provision, but you see it now?

 

In Christ,
Laura
Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith
 
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Emotional Meltdowns

The Land Between…life has been interrupted. What was normal is gone, and the future is unclear. Even in our grief, we must adjust to a time of transition and uncertainty.

We grieve over death, but we also experience sorrow and regret when there is a loss of a relationship (breakup or divorce), an unwanted change in lifestyle (loss of finances or home), or a change in family structure (child grows up and moves away).

Even when we know the change is coming, we grieve for the past. But there can also be regret over what might never be.

We may feel sadness or anger when what we hoped for in life doesn’t appear to be in God’s plans, and our dreams go unfulfilled…especially if we thought the dream was God’s plan.

Frustrated, discouraged, maybe even feeling lost in life, we have complaints and questions for God.

God, I thought this was Your plan for my life. Now what?!?

Really, God? One more thing?!? I can’t take any it more!

I’m barely staying afloat here, God. Where are You?!?

I miss ______. Why did You have to take ______ (him/her/it) away?

After a while, we are emotionally drained with nothing left to give.

Emotional meltdowns are not new to God. He knows there is only so much we can deal with—especially if we’re trying to cope all on our own.

Moses had reached his limit with leading the Israelites and listening to them complain against God over the manna He had provided.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” Numbers 11:4-6

With nothing of himself left to give, Moses cried out to God.

He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” Numbers 11:11-15

Don’t miss the difference in their complaints. The Israelites complained against God, discontent over what He had provided for them. While Moses, in distress, bared his heart and complained to God, in need of His comfort and help.

There is also a big difference in how God responded. The Israelites continued to make God angry with their complaints. But, for Moses, God responded by helping him.

The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you.  I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone. Numbers 11:16-17

God knew what Moses was capable of and how much he could handle. He didn’t get angry because Moses was worn out and emotionally exhausted. He had mercy on Moses and lifted a share of the burden.

He wants to do this for us, as well. He invites us to let the walls down and come to Him—with open, honest hearts and emotional meltdowns—where He will lift us up and give us rest.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

The invitation has been extended. How will you respond?

 

In Christ,
Laura
Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith
 

Unlikely Hero: Ruth

Chapter 9 of “The Story” is about outsiders. Have you ever been an outsider, someone who didn’t quite fit in with the crowd? I think Ruth is the story for you.

Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible named after a woman, and the only book in the Old Testament named after a non-Israelite.  Clearly the book is named for this woman of stellar character and strong faith.  However, she is really not the main character.  Naomi is the main character and her family crisis drives the plot.  Ironically, Bethlehem means “house of bread,” and there was a famine there that drove this family to Moab.  Once again, the future of God’s chosen people was in danger and therefore His agenda to bless the whole world through this family seems threatened. Elimelek, whose name ironically means “my king is God,” should know that this was a judgment from God for covenant disobedience; and you’d think Moab would be the last place any self-respecting Israelite would go.  Moabites were the descendents of an incestuous relationship between Abraham’s nephew Lot and his daughters.  Just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moabite King Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel.  Then Israelite men cavorted with Moabite women and their idolatrous practices which led to a devastating divine judgment.  Because of these events, Moabites were expressly forbidden to ever enter the assembly of God.  Israel should have repented and returned to covenant relationship with the LORD, which would have alleviated the famine conditions.

It is easy to read this story as a stand-alone episode.  However, its message will never be fully appreciated without remembering that it is set during the times of the judges.  Since Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David, who began his rule in 1010 BC, the events in the story probably took place during the time of Gideon.  Those years were gruesome and dark.  Although “The Story” did not include the two epilogues of the book of Judges, there are two episodes that illustrate the depth of depravity in Israel during that time.  They include a story of a Levite who should have served as a faithful priest but instead worshiped idols, and a second story of a Levite who gave his concubine to be raped and murdered by fellow Israelites in order to protect himself from sodomy. That triggered a very bloody civil war.

Both of these stories are out of Bethlehem, along with the book of Ruth.  Together they have sometimes been referred to as the “Bethlehem trilogy.”  The violence of the first two stories from Boaz’ hometown might explain why he told Ruth to glean close to his women and in his field only, because “in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”  It also sheds light on why he had Ruth stay with him at the threshing floor instead of returning home in the darkness of night.  By stark contrast to the times, these characters testify to the presence of a genuine faith during this period of widespread apostasy.  What a great reminder to readers today that we do not have to yield to the sin of our culture, but we can shine as people of faith in the darkness!

As a descendant of non-Israelite women, Boaz may have had a particularly tender heart for Ruth the Moabite—an outsider.  The text explicitly notes that Boaz came from the line of Perez, one of the twins born to Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar.  He was also a descendent of Rahab the harlot as noted by gospel writer Matthew.  Any number of births—or lack thereof—could have threatened the line of Messiah.  But with each miraculous birth, I am astonished by combination of both divine providence and human choices.  And those outsiders keep showing up!

Has your faith ever been the thing that made you an outsider? How did you feel? What did you do? What does the presence of the outsiders mean to you?

Perspective 1- Barb Miles

I seem to be impatient with Chapter 5.  It didn’t take long for the Israelites to lose their faith in God.  They wanted their lives to move faster.  Why was God willing to give them chance after chance?  Exodus 32:7

Aaron excused their behavior, collected their gold items and created a false god.  Moses was on the mountain at this time for forty days and nights.  Why did Aaron do that?  Exodus 32:22-26

They were struck down with a plague because of the gold calf Aaron had made.  Exodus 32:35  Were plagues a form of correction, like if they would not listen to God, then the outcome was assumed to be a plague?  So did the Israelites think about that before they gave up on Moses?

Perspective 2- Pastor Ron

“…then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  (Exodus 19:5b-6)

Theses words from God that Moses is to say to the people really jumped out at me when I read the fifth chapter of The Story.  Just let them sink in for a minute……treasured possession……..the whole earth is mine, you will be for me.   It is hard to imagine the impact those words would have on the people if they truly understood them, if they would focus on God instead of themselves.  God has singled them out from all of creation, from all of the other nations, in spite of their continued sinfulness.  Yet, when you continue to read the story you get the impression that either they have short memories or they didn’t get it in the first place.  Moses is taking too long on the mountain so they take matters into their own hands and have Aaron cast a golden calf, a god they can see and touch.  A god that will give them what they want, a quick fix to a complicated situation.  It almost seems unreal to me that they could do such a thing.  Then of course, I think of myself.  Did not God say to me; “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” Those are pretty powerful words as well.  The God of the universe would give up his one and only son for me.  He was willing to do that, then certainly everything else in life will fall into place according to his plan.  Ahhh, but not quite fast enough for me sometimes.  So I take matters into my own hands, come up with my own solutions, and now I wonder…have I constructed my own gods?

The take away for me as a first impression of the chapter is that I want to keep my eyes and ears open to the love and grace that God exhibits in my life.  To be constantly aware that He wants to have community with me and that He has a plan for me in the same way he had a plan for the Israelites.

Perspective 3- Dan Petrak

Perspective 4- Jade Miller

In Chapter 5 of The Story, God showed his incredible patience with His people. The Israelites broke His laws several times not long after He freed them from Egypt. At first, the Israelites agreed to consecrate themselves at the base of the mountain for God’s coming. When God came, they were filled with wonder and followed Moses’ rules for a little while. However, once Moses went up on Mount Sinai to speak with God, the wonder the Israelites experienced soon wore off, and they had Aaron build a golden calf for them to worship.

God is still incredibly patient with all of us today.  I sin so many times that I lose count, and sometimes I sin even without realizing it. God knows that I can never be perfect, and He is always willing to forgive me when I apologize. I want God’s forgiveness to help me remember to forgive others when they hurt me. God said “I am holy, therefore you are to be holy” (pg. 70). I’m always amazed by God’s outpouring of love, and I want to be as loving as He is.

Chp 4- Deliverance (Bible Study)

I don’t know about you but I have a ton of questions about this whole Israelite situation. Why would God promise Israel a land only to take them to Egypt?  Why would God allow this covenant community to become brutally enslaved to a pagan world superpower? Why make them go through all of this, plus 400 years, to get back to the same land they inhabited before Israel (Jacob) went down to Egypt to be with Joseph? I am sure there are many more questions…but we’ll get to those as we go. One thing is for sure you don’t want to miss this part of the story. This epic adventure stands out as the central story of the Old Testament. Missing it would be like trying to make sense of The Wizard of Oz without the yellow brick road. So get some courage, brains, heart and whatever else, as we journey through the Exodus story.

A lot has happened since Joseph was second in charge of the land of Egypt. It seems as though there is a new ruler in town many, many years later that has no clue who Joseph is or what he did for Egypt. All we know is that the Egyptians are afraid of the Israelites because they have grown to a number that far surpasses their own. Instead of coming to a peaceful agreement on living terms Egypt thought it would be better to enslave them and treat them harshly so they would feel broken and dejected. This is the state in which we find the people of Israel in the book of Exodus.

Read Exodus 1:8-22 to get a good idea on what the situation was like and how the Egyptians wanted to handle it.

People often react out of fear when there is an unknown. What reaction was set in motion because of Egypt’s decisions? Is there a time in your life when you reacted out of fear and later learned that it wasn’t the best way? What did you do?

At a stroke all the Israelites’ privileges vanished, but it was harder for them than for the mass of the Egyptians, for they had been accustomed to privilege for a couple of hundred years. It is always harder for the one who loses privilege, rank and freedom than for the one who never had them. At first, however, the shock of loss and their resentment prevented the Israelites acquiescing in their new condition, which in their fellow-serfs had led to early physical collapse and death. It was probably this that gave the impression of rapid increase of population.

Then steps in God…

“The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” Exodus 2:23-25

God heard the cry of his people and did something about it. We hear about a lower story plan that has upper story implications.

Read Exodus 2:1-10

It always amazes me that God would hear the cry of these people in Egypt. What made them so special that the God of all creation would hear them? We are only one book away from reading about God creating everything. We know our universe is big, but when we think of other universes it boggles my mind to think that God created all of this and yet still hears the voice of his people. I am amazed and humbled daily by the thought of this.

I am sure that some might have thought it was 430 years too late, yet God’s plan for deliverance was right on schedule. His servant Moses was born during the rule of a tyrannical Pharaoh whose infanticide program was aimed at annihilating the nation of Israel, or at best keeping them small.  Ironically, baby Moses was delivered from danger when Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him from the Nile, she hired his mother to nurse him, and raised him as a royal son.

Moses grew up in the palace but always knew he’d been born a slave. Feeling sympathetic to the plight of his people, he killed an Egyptian task master and was forced to flee.

What connection did Moses have with those people? Why would he feel the need to stand up and defend them? His family had him back only while he was nursing, was that enough time to instill in him a deep sense of connection?

As a member of the royal family, why did Moses run? Could he not find a way out of this problem?

Moses became a refugee in the far off land of Midian where he married and began tending his father-in-law’s flocks. Moses spent the next 40 years hiding from Pharaoh and like the Hebrew people, assumed this would be the way he’d spend the rest of his days.

Then he met up with a burning bush. God spoke from the bush and commissioned Moses as Israel’s deliverer. Not a bad promotion for an 80-year-old man with only “ex-prince” and “shepherd” listed on his resume. God revealed Himself to Moses as I AM, the covenant-keeping Redeemer of His people. Moses doubted his own qualifications and abilities, but God responded with the guarantee of His presence.

Read Exodus 3:13-14

Why does Moses want to know the name of God? Because that is what the Egyptians did with their gods. Once you had a name you could create a story with background information. This was important because once you had their story you could have a sense of control over that god. You knew what you needed to do to please that god. Once they were pleased you could get what you wanted out of them.

Now think about that as you re-read the story again. Moses says to God, “Tell me your name, so the people will know who is sending me.” Translate that to, tell me your name so that I can have a sense of who you are so that I can give you a story and background and have a sense of power. God says, “I am who I am” or better translated from the Hebrew “I will be who I will be.” God is telling Moses that he will not allow him to define him, predict him or have any power over him. God will be God with or without Moses. So tell the people I am has sent you.  God is showing himself to be in charge.

What does I am mean to you? What does that say about God and his character?

Moses returned to Egypt with the promise of God and the support of his brother Aaron.

This Lower Story is best understood through the Upper Story of God’s unique power to redeem.  He allowed Israel to be stripped of any reliance upon human strength to show a helpless Israel that He could be trusted to save them from any earthly or “heavenly” power. Their redemption would come by God’s mighty hand and their faith response to His revelation.  God showed Israel that His covenant with Abraham was still in effect.  Therefore, He cursed the Egyptians who had been cursing Israel.  But with every judgment of God comes a way of escape for those who believe.  The blood of the Passover lamb would protect believers from the judgment of God.  The two main events of the whole Bible are the Exodus and the Christ.  The importance of either should not be underestimated.  The first event points directly to the second.

Throughout Chapter 4, some key repeated phrases stand out.  God said repeatedly that His actions were so that “they may know that I am the LORD.”

How often is your goal to make sure people know your name, your work, your deeds? God repeatedly wants his name known, what do we do to make God’s name known? 

Israel was to see God’s mighty deliverance so that in the future they could trust Him to deliver from any circumstance.  If God could smite Egypt, then there would be no enemy that could threaten Israel.  God graciously revealed Himself to Egypt as the One True God with each plague.  These were not random plagues. Each one specifically targeted an Egyptian god, and Pharaoh who was thought to be on his way to becoming deity. Thus, the God of Israel is the only God to know and fear. The LORD’s power over their Egyptian gods had shown them that He was worth following.  These ten object lessons could also remind Israel that there is no other god and no earthly power that could oppose the LORD successfully.  God alone delivers. As expected, Moses’ demands of freeing the Hebrews were met with Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal.  So God sent a series of plagues and a cycle of challenge began: The plague strikes; Pharaoh relents; the plague stops; Pharaoh recants.

I have always found it helpful to understand the plagues and which Egyptian gods were being targeted. Below you can find a list that you might find helpful.

             1. Nile turned to blood             2. Frogs

             3. Gnats

             4. Flies

             5. Death of livestock

             6. Boils

             7. Hail

             8. Locusts

             9. 3 Days of Darkness

             10. Death of Firstborn

           Hapi & Isis, god and goddess of the Nile           Haget, goddess of birth with a frog head

           Set, god of the desert

           Re, sun-god, or Uatchit, possibly represented by a fly

           Hathor, goddess with cow head; Apis, the bull god

           Sekhmet, goddess of disease; Sunu, pestilence god

           Nut, sky goddess; Set, god of storms

           Osiris, god of crops and fertility

           Re, the sun-god; Horus, a sun-god

           Min, god of reproduction; Isis, goddess who protected children;

           Pharaoh’s firstborn son, a god

Then God presented a shadow of what would be the “ultimate deliverance” with the final plague. All the firstborn in the land would die in a single night, and there was only one means of rescue.

I.       The Feast of Passover– The Passover is a major event in the Exodus story. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Nine times God had warned Pharaoh to let His people leave Egypt.  Nine times God had demonstrated His power over Pharaoh and Egypt’s pagan gods.  The plague of death would be God’s final judgment upon Egypt and show His obvious favor for the nation of Israel.  The Great I AM was moved to continue to fulfill His covenant promise to “bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”
  2. Moses warned Pharaoh that this final plague would strike down the firstborn of every family and livestock, including Pharaoh’s.
  3. The LORD instructed Moses and Aaron to prepare.  Their obedience to do exactly as God instructed demonstrated their belief.
    1. First, God told Moses about the timing of the Passover.  This would become the 1st month of the year for them, even though it was the 7th month on their calendar.  This gave them a fresh start and a new beginning.
    2. On the 10th of the month, each household were to take a 1 y.o. lamb without defect and slaughter it at twilight.
    3. The blood from the animals was to be placed on the door frames.
    4. They were to roast the meat and eat it with bitter herbs and bread without yeast.
      1. Meat was to be roasted, not eaten raw as some pagans did.
      2. Bitter herbs symbolized sorrow for past sin or the bitter life in Egypt.
      3. Unleavened bread symbolized their leaving in haste.
    5. They were to eat the entire meal dressed ready to travel, with their tunic tucked into their belts.
  4. God would pass judgment upon Egypt and their gods that night by striking dead the firstborn of every household.  But the homes with the blood, He would Passover.
  5. With every judgment of God comes a way of escape.
  6. As a result, Egypt sent Israel away.  God showed all His power to redeem His people.
  7. God instructed them to remember His great redemption with a Passover Feast every year.

What parallels do you see in the Passover and the last supper of Jesus? Where are the similarities and where are the differences?

I.       Christ, Our Passover

Jesus perfectly fulfilled the meaning of the Passover ritual.

  1. According to Paul, Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) who has been sacrificed.  Therefore, we are to clean out the sin in our lives.
  2. John the Baptist declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)
  3. Peter reminds us that we are redeemed “with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  (1 Pet. 1:19)
  4. He was tested for four days and found to be without sin.  Then he was crucified during the annual Feast of Passover in Jerusalem while the other sacrificial lambs were slain.
  5. The blood on the cross looks eerily like the bloodstains on the doorposts.
  6. Jesus’ blood is the way of escape from God’s judgment of sin.

II.    Applications and Implications

  1. The appropriation of Jesus’ blood is a new beginning, a new life for me.
  2. God brings judgment upon those who refuse Him, but provides a way of escape for those who trust Him. Jesus is God’s ONLY provision for salvation.
  3. All other so-called gods are not gods.
  4. I am helpless to save myself.  God alone can deliver me from sin.
  5. Nothing in God’s plan is by accident.

I have been redeemed from sin, but also redeemed for God’s glory.

After learning about both of these events, can you see why I said that the Exodus event is one story you don’t want to miss?

The Hebrews left Egypt that same night, and later, an enraged Pharaoh took off in pursuit.  Trapped between his powerful army on one side and the Red Sea on the other, Egypt’s victory appeared certain.

How scared do you think the Israelites were when they saw Pharaoh’s army closing in on them? Would that fear have been enough to want to go back to slavery? Have you been in a situation that you were uncertain of the future and past was creeping up on you? Were you ready to give up hope and go back to what you knew?  

But God split the sea in two and the people walked to safety on dry land.  They celebrated when Pharaoh’s army drowned in the same sea…but only for a moment.

Israel says to God “What have you done for me lately?” Why is that such a dominate thought in the lives of human beings today? Why can’t we remember what God and others have done for us?

Their jubilation quickly turned to complaint when Israel forgot what God had done. They grumbled over the lack of water and food, but God again proved Himself faithful by providing water, manna and quail to sustain them, this time from their fears and inability to provide for themselves. God will have to figure out how to rule over and govern these people because things could get out of hand. Tune in next week!

When talking about Moses we should point out that Moses didn’t believe that he was the right person to go speak for the Lord. He came up excuse after excuse why he shouldn’t be the guy, but God responded to every objection and said you are the man, now go and set my people free.

Why are we so reluctant to go to the places we have been called to go? Why do we always feel like we are not the right person for the job? What are the places you are called to go or who is the person you are called to talk to that you have been avoiding?

Another noteworthy aspect of this chapter is actually the obedience of Moses.  Throughout the Exodus story it repeatedly says Moses “did just as the LORD commanded.”

How often are we willing to do just as the Lord commanded?

Important things for you to remember: Israel’s redemption required the blood stained door—a faith response to God.  So important was this event that God instituted the Passover as a perpetual, annual reminder to Israel that He alone delivers.  This Feast and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are fulfilled in Christ centuries later.

What other questions are you wrestling with in this chapter? Let’s talk about them.

Chp 4- Deliverance (4 Perspectives)

Perspective 1- Pastor Ron

One has to wonder what happened between the life of Joseph and when the Egyptians decide that the Hebrews are a threat. In the reading it would seem that there is no reason for the Egyptians to believe that the Hebrews will turn against them. The Egyptians get paranoid over the number of Hebrews not over any real threat.  The result is than the Hebrews are made into slaves, yet they grew to an even larger people group. They oppressed the Hebrews, worked them to death, and yet they could not stop the nation from growing.

No matter what the Egyptians did they could not stop the growth of God’s people, but the oppression of the Egyptians and the deliverance of God through Moses serves as a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate deliverance. Moses delivered the people out of the slavery to the Egyptians, but Jesus delivered all of mankind out of slavery to sin. This is one of the clearest examples of God giving us a glimpse into the upper story. Countless years before Jesus is born we see clearly what God is up to.

Perspective 2- Barb Miles

Moses – what a man, what responsibility.  He was taken from his own family to be raised in the Egyptian culture by Pharaoh’s family.  As a young man he saw the cruelty the Egyptians forced on his people.  Why do you think God picked Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? God chose a man who did not feel qualified – he believed he did not have the ability to be a speaker, an advocate.  So God chose his brother Aaron to join him as a team. And just how many times did that “team” of brothers go to bat for their Israelite family’s freedom?  Many more than I have ever done.  Time and time again plagues were put upon Egypt, and the Pharaoh would go back on his word of releasing the Israelites.  Talk about “going back on your word!”  Do any of you, like me, hear your parents telling you to honor your promises?

Perspective 3- Dan Petrak

Perspective 4- Jade Miller

In Chapter 4 of The Story, a new Pharaoh, “to whom Joseph meant nothing, came into power in Egypt.” (Page 43). The people of Israel were thrown into slavery, and the story of Moses soon followed.

Moses grew up in the king’s palace after being plucked from the Nile River by the Pharaoh’s daughter. God was already planning Israel’s freedom, and eventually after the plagues the Israelites flee to the desert. They were pursued by Pharaoh’s army, who drowned in the Red Sea.

Confused and weary, the Israelites already began to question God. “So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”… In the desert, the whole community grumbled to Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”” (Page 55)

I’ve done the same things as the Israelites- grumbled, got exasperated, and over all, just whined.   This chapter showed me that God’s patience is great.   Despite my whining, He provides my “daily bread”, and gives me more than what I need for the day.

God Will Amaze Us

Are you familiar with the saying “It’s going to get worse before it gets better?” It’s usually said as a way to make us feel better…“This seems to be worse than it was before, but then it has to get better.”

Although they didn’t know it at the time, this certainly seemed to be the case for the Israelites in Egypt.

The Lord told Moses to go talk to Pharaoh. Moses was obedient and went with Aaron to see Pharaoh. But later that day, life only got worse for the Israelites.

Pharaoh changed the rules. Instead of straw for the bricks being supplied, Pharaoh ordered the Israelite slaves to find the straw themselves and still make the same number of bricks as before. In other words, they had more work to do, with the same quota of bricks to be completed, in the same amount of time. And the slave drivers appointed by Pharaoh didn’t take kindly to the work not being completed on time.

Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me?Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” Exodus 5:22-23 NIV

Moses was discouraged. The Israelites were discouraged. But where this lower story did not make any sense on its own, the upper story tells of God’s plan for His people.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.’” Exodus 6:1, 6-7 NIV

I wonder if the Israelites were thinking, too little, too late. Just as they didn’t understand God’s timing, I don’t either. But I’m not called to understand. I’m called to trust Him and be obedient.

God promised the Israelites deliverance, but it would be in a way that was humanly impossible. God wanted there to be no mistake that it was His work for His people.

What does that mean for us today?

Often life gets worse through no wrongdoing of our own. But what about the times when life gets worse because we think we can do it on our own?

How often do we forget to take an issue to God before trying to solve it on our own?

Or when we do take it to God, but then take it back? Thanks for your help, God. I’ll take it from here.

It seems God will let us exhaust our efforts until we’re out of ideas and energy. Then when we see no way and think it’s impossible, we go back to Him. Whether it’s how we want or in a way we never dreamed of, God will amaze us. And He wants us to know it was of Him, not our own efforts.

The Israelites were understandably frustrated and discouraged. But what if they had chosen not to follow Moses?

Not only would they have missed the amazing miracle of walking through the Red Sea, but also receiving the Ten Commandments, and ultimately entering the Promised Land.

What will we miss if we don’t wait for God?

In Christ,

Laura

Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith

Click on the link to visit Laura’s blog

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