2019-01-06 - Exodus ~ The Quality of Faith
While Israel was encamped near the sea, a young woman happened to notice a tiny puff of dust near the distant fort called Migdol. Soldiers, she thought. She squinted, and what she saw comforted her: They’re riding away. Good.
Just before these months of upheaval, she had married a man named Carmi, a good man of the tribe of Judah. But then the river had turned to blood and the heavens went to war and the poor woman was never able to savor her marriage – not till now. Now they were free, and the wife of Carmi often went out alone to gather firewood. Then she would wander farther and farther from camp, heedless and completely happy; because she was huge, soon to bear their first child.
One afternoon, then, just as she knelt to pull dry roots, a flash of light caught her eye. She stood and peered westward. There was another tiny flash, and she thought, The Egyptians are riding away.
But then she saw that the entire horizon from north to south was seething with an angry yellow dust. Another flash! Another! Metal reflecting sunlight. Now, it seemed to the woman that the earth itself was trembling, and the wind blew odors of leather and sweat – and that metal! It was weapons! The sun was striking helmets and spearheads and the bright sides of chariots!
She dropped her few sticks and turned and ran back to camp as fast as her big body could go. “Egypt!” she cried. “Egypt! The soldiers are coming to get us!”
Just like that, their freedom was gone. A lie! An illusion.
By the time she reached her people, the woman was wild with sobbing. Her terror was like an arrow in the heart of the Israelites, who lifted their voices in wailing. The people looked and saw the armies of Egypt. They saw yellow dust stretch like a curtain across the west. But the east was blocked by water. They were caught between swords and the sea – and through Egypt was still distant, their skin already tingled for the whips and arrows to come.
They found Moses and screamed at him: “Why did you bring us here? To kill us? Weren’t there graves enough in Egypt to bury us?”
Moses turned his back on the accusers, climbed a solitary rock, then raised his arms and shouted: “Silence! Israel, be silent! Be still! Don’t try to fight! Do nothing at all, but watch and see how the Lord will defend you today.”
“Do nothing?” Israel thundered. “Nothing?”
He was pointing at the pillar of cloud. It was moving. It had risen above the people and now was sailing westward through blue air. At the same time it was spreading wider and wider, a thick gray curtain – higher and lower at once, like a wall between heaven and earth. The children of Israel were struck dumb at the sight.
For the cloud of God had divided Egypt and Israel one from the other.
At the same time, Moses took his rod and strode to the shore of the sea. There he turned and cried to Israel, “Break camp! Prepare to travel.” Then he stretched out the rod to the sea, and a strong east wind arose. It blew all night long. It blew mightily upon the sea until its waters were driven backward left and right.
Israel, surrounded by the elements of the Lord their God – by cloud and wind and water whirling – said nothing. They broke camp and stumbled eastward where the sea had been. It a stunned wonder and on dry ground they crossed all the way to the other side while the east wind beat their backs and pushed them forward. Moses was the last to go..
In the morning the pillar of fire and cloud soared up from the ground, and the Egyptians saw where Israel had gone. They mounted their chariots. They whipped their horses and rode in wild ranks after their escaped slaves, plunging down into the bottom of the sea and racing between the walls of water .
But Moses, climbing the far side of the sea, stretched out his rod again, and the wind ceased and the waters were released. They collapsed upon the Egyptians who were whirled about in foam, who sank beneath a jubilation of waves. Wood only floated to the surface. Here and there a horse beat water, screaming. But armor held the soldiers under. So the horsemen and the hosts of Pharaoh perished.” 1
Chapter 12:31-13:22 Chapter 13:17-22 Chapter 14 Verses 19 Verses 10-18 Verses 19-22 Verses 23-31
“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
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