"Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently."
The Lord has a way, for believer and nonbeliever alike, to shake things up. For we, the children of God, it may a call, a reminder for us to keep our eyes on Him. So often, we look away, looking at a situation. It may be a relationship, a work situation, health or financial related or the uncertainty of the future. Whatever it may be, the Lord would have us with our focus on Him. Much of the time we have no control over any of the previously mentioned, and this is where our faith is tested. Uncomfortable as it is, it's much better than an almost hopeless resolve that this is how it is, as for the one without the expectation of good things to come in Christ. In 1 Peter 5:7, we find the assurance "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
"So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said."
Jethro, the priest of Midian, spoke into Moses' heart, as if the oracle of God. Moses received the counsel, took heed the words spoken, and put into motion God's wisdom. From a family of seventy, to a people now numbering in the millions, careful follow through of the Lord's word was key to survival in the world. A key example for us is this of Moses, hearing and heeding God's word and His will for our lives. Listen up carefully child of God, and follow through with His words spoken to us. "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11
"Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israels sake, all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how the Lord had delivered them."
With Pharaoh and his troops decimated in the midst of the sea, we saw in the following passages Moses having to deal with much grumbling and quarrel along with contention from the sons of Israel. It came even to a point of Moses feeling threatened by talks of stoning him by the people. Yet as he spoke to Jethro, not a word is mentioned of the unhappy people. Moses said yes, we had much hardship along the way, but the Lord has been faithful, and brought us each and every step of the way. Our own lives can be filled with complaint and spewing misery, or we can instead choose to recount to others of His faithfulness even in hardship. As Jethro rejoiced with Moses' testimony, seed fell on good ground that spoke of God's faithful dealings, he would come eventually to a place of worshiping the true and living God. Our lives should reflect much the same of Moses heart to those around us.
"Then they set out from Elim and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt."
Soon after leaving the oasis of Elim, their parched and weary bodies refreshed by the cooling springs of water, appetites satisfied by the luscious dates provided by the palms, discord and complaint would soon ring out as hunger again gnawed at their bellies. The uncertainty of their food supply now on their minds, little did they know God already had a plan. Their questioning, like ours today, whether it be for food or shelter, vaccine or not, one two or three doses or more, one mask or three, what if we are exposed, what about this or that? It all comes down to, God, do we live in fear, mistrust, suspicion, accusation or do we go forward with faith and Your wisdom. For those wandering in the wilderness, their disbelief proved their undoing. For us, let's look toward Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
"Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters."
The sons of Israel had begun their venture of faith with a series of trials that tested their faith, and then brought protection and the provision of the Lord. Time and time again the Lord would show Himself faithful towards His people, yet more often than not, they ended up picking at each other in complaint, really their grumblings were towards God. Trust and faith in Him are often an easier said than done type of happening in people's hearts, yet as we see here in this passage, deliverance from the bitter waters of Mara was right down the road. Too often we fail to see the difficulties through to the end, where God already has a plan of relief. Whatever you are going through today, continue to move forward in faith, looking for the springs of living water we have in Christ Jesus.
"In Thy lovingkindness Thou has led the people whom Thou has redeemed; in Thy strength Thou has guided them to Thy holy habitation."
The lovingkindness of the Lord has been about His people as He rescued them and delivered them from the slavery of the world. Lovingkindness of course reminds us of two certain things, that He is, by His very nature a God of love, but not only that, He is a God who is kind. Attached to the definition of this word lovingkindness is also the fact of His grace and mercy towards His people. Not only a God of love, but His attributes hallmarked by kindness and grace and mercy. The Lord, in all of His gracious attributes, continues to move before us, on our behalf, leading us the way towards the upward call of Christ Jesus.
"He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."
The cry from the garden tomb that fateful morning was "He has risen" still rings aloud today. Believers worldwide have proclaimed this message since the dawn of that morn. He has risen, becomes a mantra proclaimed by His children, no longer slaves to the fear of death, but the resurrection power that raised Christ, now dwelling in His people. We all cling tenaciously to life, for He has placed within us the will to live, but now instilled within our hearts is the undeniable truth that Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 2:27), and knowing that He who raised Jesus will raise us also with Jesus (2 Cor 4:14). Death no longer the victor, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corin 16:55,57).
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
Just a few years earlier was the joyous sounds of the angelic choir as they serenaded the shepherds with the announcement of the birth of Christ, and truths of God. Now, just a few years later, this was turned to the somber crack of the whip, and the hammering of spikes as the crowds shouted out "crucify Him." His life and times culminated now with the week of passion, where the Saviour would face the brutality, and lay His life down for all mankind, and be resurrected on the third day. Sobering is the thought that God would come, laying aside all the vestiges of His Godhood, to be born of a virgin, and willingly lay His life down for us.
But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians which you have seen today, you will never see them again forever."
Like most people today, the children of Israel had many fears, among which were their dreaded task masters. For so long, held captive, they were now urged to focus upon the Lord and trust that He was moving them from captivity to freedom. We today, held by many things that bring fear, many overloaded, burdened down by ongoing circumstances, most out of our control, need to stand by and see the saving grace of our Lord, working on our behalf.
"....He swore to your fathers to give you a land flowing with milk and honey...."
As Israel exited Egypt, before them lay a great land filled with unknown. Unfriendly peoples, harsh conditions, limited food and water resources, little knowledge of the direction headed to a land that was only a fanciful tale of people that had long passed on. Yet was the reality of God's word spoken through His servant Moses. The promised land of Canaan was a good land, one that was filled green pastures and water, along with other resources that made it abundantly fruitful. Urged on by the Lord, they left behind them the old life of servitude and bondage, yet moving in faith having the promises of God's word. Very similar to life in Christ today for the Christian, He's delivered us from sin, now leading us, we press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
"And they were continually themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
I can't wait for Saturday morning and Sunday service declared one brother as he excitedly shared with the group of guys gathered for prayer. He was fired up as he sought to just talk story about his week with the guys before praying. It's so good as the body gathers to put into practice Acts 2:42. With all that has gone on this past year with Covid, the "new norm" for some may be distance learning, little or abbreviated fellowship and lack of the Lord's table, all key elements in the life of the believer. One writer said: "The Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. A single coal will soon lose its fire and become cold; but coals piled together will maintain an intense heat." Would we continue to be piled together that the love of Jesus Christ would burn with intensity in our midst.
"Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it."
With explicit instructions for the Passover given, was the slaughter of the unblemished lamb whose blood was applied over the doorposts and lintels of the homes. Those within, would be as those covered by the blood of the lamb, under the shelter, protected and freed from death that would pass over the land. Many centuries later, John would see the fulfillment of the Passover....he saw Jesus coming to Him, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) Let us all celebrate daily, what Jesus has done for us.
"Therefore, our livestock too, will go with us; not a hoof will be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the Lord our God. And until we arrive there, we ourselves do not with what we shall serve the Lord."
Moses was very adamant with pharaoh, declaring that our wives, our children, our flocks and herds shall go with us. You might say that they were all in. No footsies with the world, nothing left behind to go back for, we're going to serve and worship our God was the cry. A great reminder for us, that we too ought to be so resolved in our determination to worship the Lord. Not focusing on the resistance of the world, the struggles of the flesh, the warfare of the devil, but pressing forward in the upward call of Christ Jesus.