For the week of April 30, 2005 / 21 Nisan 5765
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 13:17 - 15:26
and Bemidbar/ Numbers 28:19-25
Haftarah: 2 Samuel 22:1-51
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on." (Shemot / Exodus 14:15).
It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like for the people of Israel to finally be set free after so many years of oppression and yet then find themselves caught between the approaching Egyptian army and an impassable body of water.
I cannot blame them for their response:
Israel at this point was no mighty army. Without another miracle, they were doomed.
But a miracle is exactly what Moses expected:
Note that Moses directed the people to do nothing but wait for God's intervention. This is consistent with what God had done for them through the plagues. During that time, for the most part, they passively watched God unleash his power. But this time was to be different:
This time the Israelites were not to simply sit back and watch God do his thing. He would do his thing alright, but they were to move forward, marching away from the threat, walking head on facing their obstacle. They were no longer slaves and were to no longer live as slaves. They were free, and no earthly power could rob them of that freedom.
As they moved forward, God opened the way before them. The sea parted and they walked across on dry ground.
I don't think we should downplay how difficult it must have been for them to do what they did. Most of us don't face difficulties easily under normal circumstances, let alone doing so after being oppressed for many years. Regardless of how difficult life can be, we need to realize that we too need to move forward just as they did. Too often we give up, forgetting what God has really done in our lives and what he will continue to do.
Just like the ancient Israelites, we too, have been miraculously delivered from oppression. We don't have to passively sit by when we find ourselves caught between threats and obstacles. Yet how often do we live as if God has done nothing in our lives at all (I am addressing those who have experienced the freedom offered to us through the Messiah Yeshua. If you have not yet experienced that freedom and would like to know how you can, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here are three key things that God through the Messiah has accomplished on our behalf, without which we cannot move forward to effectively face life's obstacles. First, just like the Israelites of old, we have been freed from bondage. Our sins which had kept us enslaved to evil no longer have power over us. There is nothing - natural or supernatural - that can bring us into bondage again. We may think that we are still in bondage to those things that previously controlled our lives, but that would be to deny the reality of what God has done.
Second, we need never to feel guilty. Of course when we do wrong, we must deal with it, but for believers in Yeshua the threat of condemnation has been completely removed. There is nothing to dread, since God has secured our future.
Third, we are equipped to deal with any and all obstacles we may face in life. That doesn't mean that in ourselves we can do anything, but that God will give us whatever it takes to accomplish whatever he calls us to do.
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