The Parasha for this week covers Exodus chapter 13:7 – 17:16. Last week we left off with the plague of death and Elohim’s gift of Passover. As we look to this week, Pharaoh has decided to let the Jewish people leave Egypt. El Gabor, Mighty God, does not send the Jews the shortest way out of town, he has the Jewish people travel along the southern way towards Etham. God’s decision for this is because the destruction of the Egyptian army is not quite finished. When God is finished with Pharaoh, the world will know the power that our God possesses.
Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he realizes he cannot let the Jewish people go — for who would make the bricks and perform all the labor? Pharaoh gathers up his army of chariots. The Lord hardens the heart of Pharaoh, and Pharaoh retaliates after the Jewish people. As Pharaoh approaches the Jewish nation, the Israelis see Pharaoh’s Army approaching. Even though the Jewish people have the protection of God’s pillar of cloud in the day and the pillar of fire at night, they have great fear. The Jewish people ask Moses. “were there no graves in Egypt that you have taken us to die in the wilderness? What have you done bringing us up to this place?” How easily they forget. Even today, we have the Holy Spirit in our heart, but yet, at the first sign of trouble, we turn on each other and do not trust in the Lord just as the Israelis did on the banks of the Red Sea.
Moses calls out to the Lord and the Lord responds to Moses and instructs him to stretch out his staff to the sea and divide it so that the people may walk through the sea on dry ground. He tells Moses “the Egyptians” will follow in after you, you will not see them again.” The camp is on the west side of the Red Sea.
The Israelis are on the West Bank and the wind is coming from the East. This means that the water is divided on the opposite side of the bank and works its way across. God is all-powerful and if he chooses to split it right in front of the Israelis he can do so. It takes most of the night for the sea to be split, so you can imagine the fear they were feeling as they waited with the Egyptians just on the other side of the pillar of fire. The Egyptians are held at bay by the power of God’s presence. The sea parts and the Israelis, numbering over 2 million, cross. We know that there are 600,000 males accompanied by their wives and children and animals. The Lord divided the Red Sea in a great width for all the Israelis to cross. Because the sea is divided from the other side, as the Jewish people enter into the sea on dry land, Pharaoh’s army pursues after them across the sea. Pharaoh watches his army from a high spot. Pharaoh watches in fear as the sea moves in a way he has never seen before. As they are led into the water, the water begins to cover the dry bed of land across from the West to the East and traps the Egyptian army coming forward. The water overtakes the Egyptian army and they all perish. The whole world will hear this story and know what happened to Pharaoh and his army. God’s glory will be seen in this great event.
Moses and the Jewish people begin singing songs because they are so relieved. They sing “I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider are thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation. This is my God and I will praise him. My father’s God and I will exalt him.” The song continues on.
The Jewish people travel on for 15 more days, and food is becoming scarce. The people begin kvetching for fear of dying in the desert. The Lord tells Moses “I am about to rain bread from heaven, and the people should go out and gather a day’s portion every day, and that I might test them to see if they will follow my laws and decrees. ”
God instructed the Jewish people to gather only what they need for each day. If they need much, they will gather much. If they need little, they will gather little. But they will all have what they need. If they take too much, it will spoil on them. This is a test to learn discipline – what we need vs. what we want. I don’t know about you, brothers and sisters, but this is an area that I know I struggle with. I make a conscious decision to go out and buy the things that brings me pleasure and frequently not give a thought to those who may not have a meal tonight. Praise God for his grace and his mercy, and for the increase he gives us so that we may become more like him and not like our old selves.
On the sixth day, the Israelis gather a double portion because on the seventh day, (Sabbath) they will not gather. If they try to gather two days’ worth, on any other day, it will spoil. The people continue kvetching for more. God comes to them in a cloud and says to Moses “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, at twilight you shall eat meat and in the morning you shall be filled with bread, then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” In the evening, God delivers quail to cover the camp. In the morning, dew lies on the ground. As it dries, manna/bread, fine as frost, appears on the ground. The people can gather it to make bread and eat it.
As the Jewish people move from the wilderness of sin, they camp at Rephadim. The people begin kvetching for the lack of water. There is an awful lot kvetching going on here. The people spend too much time grumbling contrary to us. We spend our waking hours praising, worshiping, and following God faithfully don’t we, –well, no we don’t do we– we are just like the Israelis in the wilderness nothing changes in 3700+ years.
The Lord comes to Moses and says “bring some of your elders and follow me”. Moses takes them before the rock at Horab. God instructs Moses to strike the rock to produce water from it. Moses does this in the sight of the elders. They call the place Massah and Marebah because of the quarreling of the people of Israel and their testing of the Lord.
While camping at rock Raphadim, Amalek comes out and chooses to fight with the Jewish nation. Moses says to Joshua, “tomorrow I will stand on top of the mountain and have my staff in my hand”. Joshua follows Moses’s instruction and fights with Amalek. When Moses arms grow weary and he lowers the staff, Joshua and his men begin to lose the battle. Aaron and Hur hold Moses’s arms up and they win by the hand of God. The real fight was on top of the mountain. Moses’s dependence on the Lord, and his prayers, bring victory with the help of Aaron and Hur, won the battle and show the Jewish people that Moses was their leader. Adonai tells Moses to record this as a memorial to remember that I AM will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Joshua understands that God brought the victory.
Some thoughts to remember, in John chapter 6 Yeshua feeds the Israelis bread and they yearn for more. Adonai tells them, “do not labor for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life.” Yeshua tells them our fathers ate manna in the wilderness. He gave them bread to eat. Yeshua tells them “I am the bread of life — he who comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. All that the father gave me will come to me, whoever comes to me I will never cast out, for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
Brothers and sisters we can have things here — food, homes, cars– the real bread of life is Yeshua. To partake of this is a joy we can barely fathom. El Gabor mighty God has given us his Holy Spirit, so we can have God in us to lead and guide us to His righteousness and do His will. God creates in us a desire to pursue him and to be in his will. This is a great honor and a great responsibility. Will you seek and follow God and see his revelation through His creation on earth? Will you do it when you are tired? When is not easy? When others try to pull you into the ways of the world, will you do His will? Brothers and sisters that is his call for us.