Month: September 2010

September 22, 2010 / / Uncategorized

The fascinating and well known events surrounding the crossing of the Red Sea, found in Ex. 13 and 14 provide for us a fascinating account of the LORD’s provision and the protection of His people.  Interestingly enough, the story begins by immediately acknowledging the weakness of the men and women whom God is delivering. Indeed, these people are being led by Moses by the hand of the Lord out of captivity! Yet, we read that God has not led them down the road through the Philistine country, even though it was shorter.

“For God said, ‘If they face war they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’” (13:17b)

God is already preparing the Israelites for battle, setting in motion events that will help them to not turn back.  This is but a mere foreshadow of the grumblings and murmurings and outright complaints that would be forged against both God and Moses a few verses later and for chapters to come. However, amidst this often told story of God’s miraculous provision for his people (who again find themselves traversing between a promise and its fulfillment), we encounter a Moses who boldly and wisely proclaims the power of God before an immediately retreating Israelite people.

The questions and complaints begin pouring out in Ch. 14 as the Egyptians approach , “marching after them.”  The people begin to question the journey, the reasons, the difficulties, and even whether or not their original plight was all that bad to begin with.

And Moses replies to his people, “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.”

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (14:14)

September 15, 2010 / / Uncategorized

The book of Genesis presents its readers with characters who are easily criticized, men and women whose actions are far from irreproachable.  To look back at the events which took place, the decisions people made, and the results which came from them, the skeptic can easily critique the lives of these biblical characters.  In simply looking at Abraham, the dichotomy of faithfulness and faithlessness is evident.

After all, this is the man who answers to resounding “go forth” and leave your home with little hesitation (Gen. 12) and whose providential  journey reaches its high point on a mountain with his son in one of the purest expressions of faith we can find (Gen. 22).  Yet, it takes no scholar to realize that this is the same man who is introducing his wife as his sister and the man who utilizes the surrogate Hagar, when his patience runs thin. (16)

So what do we have in all these characters?

For Abraham, and those through whom his covenant goes forth, great things surely await.  Abraham, after all, has been promised to become “a great nation”.  He has been shown the stars and told, “So shall your descendants be,” by God himself.  The man was guaranteed “one who will come forth from your own body” as an heir.

Amidst all of this, the blessings, the promises, the voice of God, the families of Genesis continue to struggle with faith in God.  It is as if no promise can assure them.  No guarantee is quite enough. Note here that the divine will of God prevails regardless.  Yet any critic, to be fair, must now be self-reflective.

In these men and women, we find narratives of lives lived out in the most difficult arena of life: the time between promise and fulfillment.