The word “Exodus” usually brings images of the great palaces and burning sands of Egypt. Of Israelite slaves under the harsh whip of the Egyptian overseer. Of the burning bush that led to Moses standing on the brink of the Red Sea, his staff extended as God separated the walls of the waters with His mighty hand. Of the hard-hearted Pharaoh and his army gaining on the worried Israelites . . . of that same army drowning in the very waters through which the Israelites had just passed.
We usually see this Egypt:
But this version of Exodus is only part of the story. In fact, by Exodus 16, Egypt is no longer part of the picture as the Israelites begin their trek in the desert under the gentle and loving leadership of God.
Within the tapestry of Exodus, we see more than just the Israelites leaving Egypt. We see God’s timelessness and faithfulness. We see the oppressed and foreign Israel crying out to God for deliverance, only to morph their cries into complaints at every sign of trouble. Yet through Israel’s complaints and unfaithfulness, God remains faithful. He still carries them out of slavery and into the land of milk and honey, knowing that Israel will be a nation of ups and downs, of givers of praise to God and destroyers of their own loyalty to God.
And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re so quick to condemn them.
We read Exodus and think, “You saw all these plagues that attacked your overseers yet never touched you. You saw a staff turn into a snake. You saw the dry land of the Red Sea underneath your feet as walls of water surrounded you on each side. You saw manna rain from the sky—and it was always enough to fill your belly. You saw the literal presence of God lead you fire by night, cloud by day. You saw His presence cover Mount Sinai, and you were terrified. You saw His presence enter the tabernacle He instructed you to build so He could live among you, His people.
“Yet you still doubted. You still complained. You still built that golden calf.”
Pharaoh wasn’t the only hard-hearted person in Exodus.
Moses was hard-hearted.
The Israelites were hard-hearted.
We are hard-hearted when we judge Israel’s constant unfaithfulness but then fail to realize that they are only mirrors of ourselves.
But this unfaithfulness, as upsetting and frustrating and shameful as it is, pales in comparison to God’s faithfulness.
The God of Genesis and the God of all the books to come . . . the I AM WHO I AM . . . Yahweh . . . Elohim and Adonai . . . He kept His promise to Israel. He demonstrated, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, His faithfulness to His people whom He loved so dearly.
He didn’t have to hear their cries or remember them. He didn’t have to save them. He didn’t have to send Moses as His prophet. He didn’t have to lead them out of Egypt. He didn’t have to provide water from a rock or manna from the sky. He didn’t have to establish a covenant with them nor rewrite the 10 commandments after Moses broke the first set upon seeing the golden calf Israel had established while God was giving Moses the outlines of the covenant. He didn’t have to reside in the tabernacle He instructed them to set up.
And if we really want to be honest, God didn’t even have to create us in the first place. He knew the sin that would quickly take over Adam and Eve and the rest of His beautiful creation.
But He still created us . . . still created the world because He loves us.
God’s unimaginably amazing love for you won’t change, no matter how many times you complain, doubt, or turn your back on Him with a hardened heart.
He remembers you in your Egypt.
He hears your cries.
He will deliver you.
He will lead you out of Egypt.
He will lead you through the desert.
He will provide for you in the wilderness, no matter if it takes you less than 40 years or more.
God loves you, and even if your faith crumbles at the first sign of trouble . . .
. . . you can trust that God does not crumble. His mighty hand and outstretched arm will save you!
These are only several of the truths we will discover within the next few weeks in this Exodus series. Reading Exodus is such an interesting journey, and I hope you will join me in this series as God leads us through Exodus!
Preparing for the God-led journey,