Monday, March 5, 2012

The Real Story of Deliverance from Egypt as Told by Exodus; Seven Things the Lord Hates

    Today's Reading:
  • Exodus 13:17 - 15:18
  • Proverbs 6:16 - 19
Read Bible Passages Online

Exodus 13:17 - 15:18
Today I finally got to read the most anticipated part of the Moses story -- the actual deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea.  I thought I knew most of the story as a whole (birth of Moses, plagues and deliverance) because it is one of the most famous stories in the bible.  But what I have come to find out is that there things I didn't yet know, as well as a few discrepancies between what I thought happened and things that actually happened.

The first thing I will note is that Joseph's bones were carried out of Egypt by Moses (13:19).  I knew that Joseph was the reason that the Hebrews were in Egypt and the reason they had grown to be so prolific.  I also recall that Joseph commanded that his bones be taken when the people were delivered from Egypt (Genesis 48:25).  Even then I didn't really connect those things into a contiguous flowing story until today.

I don't remember if I've mentioned this previously or not, but I also didn't realize the involvement Aaron had in this.  I've heard so much of Moses, Moses, Moses for my entire life, but I haven't heard much about Aaron.  I didn't realize that Moses played the more passive role while Aaron did the majority of all the speaking.  It doesn't matter who did the speaking because they were all God's words, but still I always pictured Moses fighting this battle by himself.

The next thing that drew my attention is how the people were actually led out of Egypt.  Verse 13:21 says that the Lord led the people with a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.  Later in the story the following is mentioned:
"the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp.  The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them" (14:19).
I will start by saying I'm a teensy bit confused; was that first verse (13:21) referring to the angel of God?  Verse 14:19 refers to the pillar and the angel as being two separate things -- could the people see this angel? 

The answers to my previous questions don't really matter, I was just a bit intrigued to see the reference to the angel of God leading the people out.  What does matter is that I didn't realize the people were led by God via this supernatural phenomena. 

I also didn't realize that the approaching Egyptian army and the parting of the Red Sea didn't occur simultaneously.  I always thought that the Israelites fled across the Red Sea as soon as the Egyptian army came after them.  Instead the bible says that the cloud/fire pillar moved to be between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, and there it stayed until the Hebrew people got far enough across the Red Sea to outrun the onslaught of the Egyptian army. 

The final thing I want to remark upon is the parting of the sea itself.  I never stopped to picture in my mind how exactly that would look or feel.  I have seen the movie The Prince of Egypt (fabulous movie for kids!) and I know that in that movie you see the people of Israel cross through the sea and there is literally a wall of water on each side.

I guess I always thought of that scene as being a theatrical interpretation.  I never stopped to ask myself how I would picture this event happening, or what would happen with the water -- I guess I just thought a dry path would just appear.  Tonight, however, I have learned that the people of Israel really did walk between two walls of water.  It doesn't say how tall those walls were, but perhaps the Prince of Egypt interpretation wasn't that far off.  Regardless it is pretty incredible when you truly stop to think about it.

Proverbs 6:16 - 19
These verses lay out seven things that the Lord hates:
  1. Being haughty (snooty, conceited, superior, arrogant, self-important, pompous, patronizing are just a few of many synonyms of this word)
  2. Lying
  3. Killing innocent people
  4. Plotting evil
  5. Jumping at opportunities to do wrong
  6. False witness/testimony
  7. Provoke discord within one's family
I am happy to say that I don't rush out to do or be any one of those things.  Most of the things on that list I would never do -- such as committing murder, plotting against someone, lying to get someone in trouble or causing or encouraging a riff in my family.

I think a few of those things we all do at some point ("white lies" anyone?) and it's also easy to forget sometimes -- no matter how hard you work to get yourself where you are -- you are nothing without God and it is God who grants you every step you take along the way.  So thank you, Lord!

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