Sunday, June 17, 2007

On eagles wings

Book two begins. The commission stands. The promise stands. The Israelites are multiplying. They're fruitful. Imaging God by increasing. However they don't have dominion over the land - they're enslaved under the dominion of the Egyptian King. That King is trying to kill all their sons. That's bad news. A people don't multiply without children. And the promised 'seed' wont come if there are no sons. Then one son is miraculously saved. This Levite child 'Drawn-Out-Of-The-Water' is rescued from the waters of the Nile, adopted into the Kings house and nursed by his own mother. That child grows up and has his own son called the Foreigner. The people cry out to God and God hears.

Chapter 3. God reveals himself to the Waterboy. He is the God of his Fathers, the God of Promise. He is Exists. He is The God. Moses doubts the people will believe him, and that he could speak to them. Undetered his brother Aaron is appointed (4v14).

Chapters 7-12 battle commences. The LORD vs. Pharoah. The LORD hardens Pharoah's heart. Pharoah hardens his own heart. He wont believe what the LORD says. Plague after plague rains down because (9v14-16) the LORD is showing his power through victory over Pharaoh. One last plague - to kill ALL firstborn sons (11v5). Even greater a cursing than the one Pharoah was exacting upon his residents. But, if all firstborns die so will the Israelite firstborns. Except - ch12 - God will provide. Blood will be shed. A lamb will die instead. When the LORD comes in wrath he'll see the blood and pass over that house. Whatever is going on in the house blood will turn the LORD away. The LORD strikes (12v29) and there is great mourning. God's people go up out of the land (v31). Rescued through judgement, for the LORD's glory, by the LORD (12v51) as promised (2v23).

Chapter14. They'rerescued through water led by the one who was rescued out of the water. Out into the wilderness they come singing the song of the LORD's victory (ch15). Within three days they grumble and wish they were back in Israel. They complain at lack of water and food, and the LORD provides. Then they run into the Amalekites. When Moses prays they win, when he doesn't they lose. Simply, winning battles is God' s work. The Amalekites will be their enemies forever.

A few months out they reach Sinai. God swears they will be his Holy Nation, a Kingdom of Priests. They stand at the foot of his mountain - a consuming fire capable to kill them if they even touch it. God issues commands to those he rescued from Egypt. Chiefly - have no other gods. They're promised a land with vast boundaries (23v31). Covered in the blood that seals the covenant they have one voice. They entrust themselves to God (24v3) - every word they will keep. The marriage begins.

Moses goes back up the mountain to get further instructions on how to worship God. Chapters 24-31, about forty days. Meanwhile down the hill the people lose faith in Moses. Forty days of purpose seems too long for them. They request that Aaron make a new god for them. He speaks and they make a golden calf to worship, attributing this idol with rescue. The LORD is furious. But Moses appeals for their salvation on the basis of God's reputation and his promises (32v11-13). The people themselves are indefensible. The LORD holds back his wrath in forebearance. Moses burns and grinds up the calf and mixes it with water to be drunk by the people. The Levites cut down 3000 people and a plague takes others. Despite their multiple rebellions in the first few months out of Egypt God spares his people, for his own sake. Such will always be the way of God's salvation.

The book concludes with repetition of instruction about true worship at the Tabernacle. A place where God's people can meet with him, via the High Priest who will represent them to God. The people have been lifted up on eagles wings by the LORD. They're out of slavery, not yet in the land but on the way. They keep rebelling but the LORD is remarkably patient with them - not because they deserve it, but because it's the best way to spread his fame. His grace is all over this book, his power is evident.

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