Exodus… To go out.
Today we started on the great story of deliverance from bondage into the long ago given promises of God. Abraham is long gone, as is Isaac, Jacob (Israel) Joseph and each and every one of his brothers, they had been blessed and as each day went by they grew these people who have come to be known as the Hebrews. Note: this name has nothing to do with men making coffee, just fyi.
What sets the stage for this story of Exodus is … um… well… I knew it a minute ago… hhhmmmm… oh yeah, forgetting.
So a new Pharaoh comes to power in Egypt and he doesn’t remember the blessings of Joseph, he doesn’t see in this growing population the blessing that his predecessors saw, he sees a threat! So trying to be a good xenophobic dictator, he takes steps to crush these outsiders. Now on the surface what he does seems mighty silly, ok, horrifying and silly, to the modern reader. He proclaims that all the male Hebrews shall be put to death at birth. Now if you are trying to control an expanding population, you don’t clear out the males. I mean one guy could um… well you get the point… make lots of babies if there are enough women around.
However, as in many cultures of the time they focused on the patriarchal line for identity and so much more. By killing off all the Hebrew males the Pharaoh hoped to wipe out the Hebrews by removing their identity!
But these were the chosen people and God hears their cries and as the story unfolds through this Moses guy who should have been dispatched long ago. It is a great story, but what I want to touch on today is the idea of remembering, trust and hardness of heart.
To tell you the truth I have struggled long and hard with God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. It seems well, it seems like so much over kill, like such a vindictive thing for this God I know to be a loving creative God to do. But there it is, over and over again.
As I read these passages once again today, these thoughts came back to me. But as I read the length and breadth of the Exodus story from the beginning, a thought dawned on me. We can be such a fickle people. One day we vow never to do something again, or to start doing something that we should have done long ago, only to bail without a moment’s thought.
What highlights this for me is the how quickly the whining begins; Pharaoh, the Israelites, heck even Moses himself. In particular is this scene the Israelites have finally been given their release they are going out not on the direct route, because God knows what is going to happen but more on that later. Pharaoh stewing in his misery gathers up his troops and goes out after them. Well they freak, and can you blame them. At first threat the Israelites start whining and want to go back to the way things were before even they were awful.
They don’t really trust, they forget the long-a-go promise, they forget what God has already done and they forget that God has promised to deliver them. How often when God leads us into a new place are we want to start whining when we confront our first challenges. I am not absolving myself of this one bit, I am as guilty as everyone else. I grow impatient I want it my way, I want comfort, I want sameness. But God wants me to grow into who he created me to be in the first place, God is a creating God and does this continually in our lives and promises to be with us and guide us in all things and yet we whine!
The good news that we find is that God comes to us and delivers us even in our whining in our need for sameness, and offers us new life in Jesus Christ our own great exodus into new life.
Finally you might have noticed the Lego pictures! COOL!
Just found this site today…. I will be using more of this as we go along because I love legos! It claims to be “The world’s largest, most comprehensive illustrated Bible.” It is really something! Check it out! http://www.thebricktestament.com/