THE EXODUS: HOLD FIRMLY TO THE VERY END…There can be no doubt that Jesus, the Son of God Almighty, has literally been parting the waters of our fallen world for millennia, providing the only way for God's chosen people to cross over to the heavenly Promised Land. He's still doing it right this very moment, perfectly in sync with His timetable for mankind.
3500 years ago when the Almighty delivered His chosen people from bondage, God laid the perfect foundation for His Word to resonate eternally by gifting His creation with a divinely appointed calendar. Sunset on August 1 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar began the 1st day of God’s 5th month. The Israelites 40 year journey was drawing to a close, marked by the death of their leader, Aaron. “At the LORD’s command Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor, where he died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.” Numbers 33:38-39
God had a perfect plan for His people. It was clearly stated 4000 years ago through Abraham’s words in Genesis 22:8 to his son, Isaac, originally appointed to be the sacrifice on the altar. “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
500 years later, like Isaac, the Israelites would not suffer the death appointed for them.The "death angel" would passover them and God's chosen people would be freed from their bondage of sin through the sacrifice of the innocent and perfect Lamb of God.
We should be able to see ourselves clearly alongside God’s chosen people who journeyed through the wilderness of their sin. At the very beginning, we are told how God deals with fickle human nature. “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” Verses 21-22
God IS faithful and leads His people ALL the time. Paul tells us this in Romans 8:14-15. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’."
Though God’s choice of campsites for His chosen people sometimes doesn’t make much sense to us humans, it’s always part of a brilliantly executed plan to accomplish two very important goals: to make us face our fears and overcome them; and to bring glory to the Almighty through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.” Exodus 14:1-4
We receive eternal hope in the words of Exodus 14:13-14. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
It’s the “still” part that seems impossible for us 21st century Christians. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 summarizes Exodus and also tells us exactly what NOT to do. “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.”
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
We stop here and reflect on our wilderness journey with this appeal from God’s Word in Hebrews 3:1-14. “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”
THE EXODUS: HOLD FIRMLY TO THE VERY END