Sunday, March 05, 2006

Day 14: Moses

Exodus 5:1-6:13, 14:5-31

- Moses and his brother Aaron ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave to make sacrifices to God in the desert. But the Pharaoh refuses, calling them lazy and increases their workload by forcing them to gather their own straw to make bricks.
- as a result, the Israelites and especially the foremen were angry with Moses and Aaron for causing them this hardship.
- Moses goes back to God and begins to question His motives. He doesn't understand why there has been trouble and not deliverance.
- the Lord tells Moses to go back to the Israelites and tell them that they will be delivered from the hands of the Egyptians and that they will be given the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But they didn't listen because of the harsh circumstances.
- then when God tells Moses to go and ask Pharaoh again to let the Israelites go, Moses questions God.

- in Chapter 14, it now jumps ahead to after the plagues of Egypt and after Pharaoh had finally let the Israelites go.
- the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and made him pursue the Israelites with an army of chariots.
- when the Israelites saw the Egyptians coming they began to complain to Moses. Just moment before they were rejoicing for being brought out of slavery and now they thought God was just going to abandon them and let them die at the hands of the Egyptians.
- But Moses tells them to stand firm and wait for the Lord's deliverance.
- Moses holds up his staff and hands and God parts the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross over on dry land. Meanwhile, to buy them time, an angel of God and a pillar of cloud stood between the Egyptian army and the Israelites so that could not reach each other.
- Moses held up his hands the entire night as all the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.
- during the last watch, the God threw the Egyptian army into mass confusion with His pillar of fire and cloud. He also jammed the wheels of their chariots so they could not move. It states that the Egyptians were afraid and realized that it was The Lord fighting against them and tried to flee.
- at dawn, the sea returned to its place and all the Egyptians were killed.
- only after the Israelites saw all the dead Egyptians floating on the shore did they fear the Lord and submit to Him by putting their trust in Moses.

When I think about some of the most reknown people from the Bible, Moses definitely comes to mind. Yet there is much evidence from his life of imperfection and almost typical human nature. But in spite of the questioning and doubting and even disobedience, God was still able to use Moses for great things. It gives me great encouragement that God will indeed use me with all my shortcomings to accomplish His greater purposes.

Another part of the Exodus that really struck me was how God made the Israelites wait. He could have brought them out of slavery with a snap of the fingers. However, God sent 10 plagues to Egypt which resulted in even worse treatment of Israel by the Egyptian slave drivers. God promised He'd save them and yet circumstances seem to only get worse. I think if I were in the same situation today I'd probably be pretty upset with God too. With our limited scope of view, we aren't able to see the big picture. God had a greater plan that involved wiping out the entire Egyptian army to show that He was indeed the one and only God. Only after the Israelites saw all the dead bodies floating to shore did they truly believe and fear God.



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