Bread – Exodus

August 9, 2017


Psalm 77

You [God] led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”  Ps. 77:20

I normally start at the beginning of a Psalm and work forward, but this time I am starting at the end.  This Psalm begins in depression, works through memory, and then recalls who God really is.  The ending (the quoted) verse is a recollection of the exodus.

Wherever we are, whether it be in valley of despair or the mountaintop of joy, we need to remember that we have been brought out of slavery into freedom by the mighty hand of God.  We have been brought from death to life.  We are being brought into glory.  Our chains are gone in Christ and we have been set free.

It is God who led us out from slavery through the wilderness of testing into the promised land.  He may operate through men (in this case, historically, Moses and Aaron), but it not them who led but God.  It is God who created the circumstances of the exodus and God who brought it to conclusion.

That was the exodus of the Old Testament, but we can testify to our own exodus in the modern era from death unto life.  Yes, men and women were involved, agents of God, but it was God who decided and God who did.

I say all this because we too often are so wrapped up in our issue of the day that we often forget where we have been and where we are today by the grace, mercy, and power of God.

In fairy tales, the desolate maiden is locked into a high castle by a dark lord, only to be rescued by a glamorous knight in shining armor.  Who does not see that picture?  And we identify with either the damsel in distress or the knight come to save.  We recognize the dark lord for who he is and we celebrate that good has triumphed over evil.

But in this picture of human intervention to save us from human misery, what have we forgotten?

The knight in our fairy tale reports to someone.  That person is the king of the realm.  Who sent the knight?  Who empowered the knight?  Who stands behind and superintends the rescue?

We know who the king is in the fairy tale, although we may not see him and the story may not talk about him.

But do we know who the king is in our tale, our story, our exodus?

If we do, we need to remember Him, honor Him, worship Him … for He is indeed Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  He is Jesus the Christ.  He, with the Father and Holy Spirit, is (are) the author of our exodus.

Now that we remember our exodus and its Author, we are prepared to deal with both the lows of life and the highs as well.

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© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

Bread – Purpose

April 11, 2012


Readings for Wednesday, April 11, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Exod. 12:40-51; 1 Cor. 15:29-41; Matt. 28:1-16; Psalms 97, 99, 115

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There is an interesting factoid in today’s readings. “The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years.” Exod. 12:40 430 years; that is a long time, longer than the United States has been around. The entirety of Israel was a slave workforce for Egypt for 430 years. And the entirety of Israel was a bunch of people – “…about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.” Exod. 12:37.

Imagine a million and a half people walking across Texas to get to New Mexico. When we talk about the Exodus, we tend to think small, like “some” manna, “some” water, “some” quail, “some” people, but these numbers are massive and almost unimaginable. God did do a mighty work.

Why did they leave? The knee-jerk reaction is to answer this question from our experience – “to escape slavery,” “to escape the cruel hand of bondage,” “to follow their charismatic leader,” “to go to a better place, the promised land.” Another reaction might be that they left because Pharaoh got tired of the plagues and threw them out.

But they really left for a different purpose. Moses said to Pharaoh, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” Exod. 7:16. When Pharaoh released the Israelites and cast them out of Egypt, Pharaoh said “…go, serve the Lord, as you have said.” Exod. 12:31.

Why did they leave? To serve the Lord.

When discussing the “whys” of something, we often look toward cause and effect (Egypt got tired of the plagues; therefore, Israel was tossed out) or we look to the end “results” or, in the case of Israel, the blessings from God as they wandered the wilderness and possessed the promised land. When focusing on these things, our answer to “Why did they leave” focuses on either the pragmatic sequence of events, the cause and effect, or upon the blessings.

However, standing behind these “reasons” is a reality. Israel was chosen by God and released from Egypt “to serve Me,” to serve Him, to serve God.

What are your reasons for doing what you are doing today? Are they to manipulate or avoid cause and effect, the practical side of life. Are they to reap the blessings? Or is your reason, your purpose, for doing what you are doing to serve God?

Had Israel locked onto its real purpose, one wonders whether there would have been a golden calf. One wonders if there would have been doubt cast by the spies who entered into Canaan in advance of Israel and came back with a message of defeat. One wonders if there would have been forty years of cleansing in the wilderness.

If you lock onto your real purpose today, what difficulties might you avoid today and what blessings might you reap? You might not be able to answer that question, but God can. Serve Him and see.

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