What is it?! That’s what the Israelites called the flaky whiteness that appeared on the barren ground of the wilderness. In a land that was devoid of nutrients and substance, this divine provision was life-saving to the Israelites and nothing short of a miracle. Yet in the midst of their grumbling and complaining attitude, all the Israelites could say is “What is it?!”
The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. They were delivered after 430 years of slavery. They were headed to the Promised Land. They saw firsthand the mighty acts of God and followed His cloud and fire each day and night. Naturally, their first reaction after crossing the Red Sea was worship.
They worshipped with Moses and then Miriam picked up the tambourine and led the people in more singing and praising of God. However, this didn’t last too long. As will become the typical reaction for this ungrateful people, the moment things got tough the Israelites forgot all the things God had done. They whined and complained and blamed Moses and God for their troubles. Look at what happens immediately after the Israelites walk away from the shores of the Red Sea.
“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “‘I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.’”
After the victorious crossing of the Red Sea, the defeat of Pharaoh and his army, and tasting freedom, everything seemed to be going good. We could end our study of Moses and the Exodus here, on the other side of the Red Sea. However, the story of Moses’ life is not done. This is just the close of one chapter—a new one awaits.
The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. But what happened to the Egyptians? What did they do when they saw their former slaves walk straight through the sea? They followed them. They charged right into the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israelites. But was their experience at the bottom of the Red Sea the same as the Israelites? Not quite.
The book of Exodus is full of miracle after miracle. Between the Ten Plagues of Egypt and what God did during the Israelites wilderness wanderings, it can be easy to become accustomed to the amazing things God did. However, we should never let the miraculous become ordinary; never allow the amazing to become commonplace. God performed these signs and wonders for a reason—to show that He is God. Therefore, let’s not forget or lose sight of the awesomeness of our great God!
Do you ever feel like the direction of your life is a bit roundabout? Like the journey you’re on is a bit meandering and not going in the direction you feel God is calling you? Take heart, God orders our way and leads us even when it feels like we’re going in circles. He knows the best way and sometimes it might not be the most direct route.
The children of Israel had finally left Egypt and are beginning a new chapter in their lives. No longer are they slaves to a fearful tyrant. However, before they can get too far in their newfound freedom, the Lord gives Moses this new command.
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.’”
After ten devastating plagues and 430 years of cohabitation, the children of Israel are finally allowed to return to their homeland. Was it a happy parting? Depends on who you ask. The Egyptians were desperate to get these troublesome people out of their midst, and the Israelites were just as anxious to leave. So I guess you could so that both parties saw the benefit of separating. However, the Egyptians definitely got the short end of the stick.
Ten plagues. Some harmless but annoying, while others were deadly and destructive, and all of them wreaked havoc on everyday life. We know that God brought them as a judgment against the gods of Egypt. However, let’s step back and consider one thing: what if Pharaoh hadn’t hardened his heart at the very beginning? What if he had conceded and let the Israelites go after one or two plagues?
Over the past month or so, we’ve been studying the people and events surrounding the Ten Plagues of Egypt—everything from the great and powerful to the small and slightly hilarious. We’ve seen magic men try to replicate God and simply fall short and make the situation worse, and we’ve watched Moses’ rise from outlawry to greatness. But most of all, we’ve witnessed God’s awesome power and glory, His intense judgment on the people of Egypt, and His goodness and kindness towards His chosen people.
As we near the end of the plagues of Egypt, we come to one of the most beautiful pictures in the Old Testament—the Passover. Its institution was in the land of Egypt before the Israelites were free, and it has been carried on over the past six thousand years. One of the most important events in the Jewish year, thousands continue gather to celebrate the Passover to this day.
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