Unexpected Path (Wilderness Journey #7)

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Israel was free. Pharaoh had sent them away. (Exodus 12:31)

God went with them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night until they reached a spot near the Red Sea. There they set up camp.

Pharaoh, regretting that he had lost all his slave labor, decided to bring them back. His chariots caught up to Israel where they were camped by the sea.

Israel panicked. First they cried out to God, and then quickly complained to Moses for taking them out of Egypt. “We would rather have been slaves forever than to die in the wilderness.” (my paraphrase)

Moses responded with…”Do not fear, stand by and see the salvation of the LORD…The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Next God tells the people to move forward. God tells Moses that a dry path will open through the Red Sea when he lifts up his staff.

While they move forward God moves behind them with his pillar of cloud along with his angel. They were a barrier, a protection from the Egyptian army.

All night the wind blew a dry path with walls of water on each side. Israel moved through to the other shore.

In the early morning Pharaoh follows this strange new path, but he doesn’t have the success the Israelites had. God causes confusion, their chariot wheels swerve and they drive with difficulty. Too late they realize God is fighting for Israel and at daybreak God “overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.”

An unexpected path led to Israel’s deliverance. It is not a path they could have imagined, or contrived. It was all of God. The incident shows God’s loving care for His people. Even in the midst of their complaining he took care of them.

What kind of trouble are you facing today? Are you in a difficult situation without any obvious means of escape? I know a God who does His best work in impossible circumstances. Believe that He is there with you. Turn to Him for help. He loves you like no other.

For further study: 

Exodus 14; Jeremiah 31:3; Psalm 9:9

 

Wilderness Journey #3 – Preparation

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Waiting. I don’t wait well. Today we find Moses sitting by a well in Midian.

Read Exodus 2:16-25 and Acts 7:29-30a and then work through the questions.

  • What trouble did Moses witness in verses 16 & 17?
  •  What did Moses do?
  •  Does this remind you of the incident in vs. 11 & 12?
  •  What did the priest of Midian do for Moses?
  •  What do we assume was Moses job for the next 40 years?
  •  Why would this have been good training for his next position?
  •  Meanwhile what has been happening in Egypt? (vs. 23)
  •  List the verbs associated with God in vs. 24 & 25.
  • How does that bring you comfort?
  •  These few verses cover a 40 year span. He will be almost 80 when we see him next.
  •  How can I learn to wait well? What can I be doing while I wait?

Just a reminder that our timeline is not God’s timeline. He is patient towards us.

I have pulled out an old hymn book. I’m reminded how rich the words are. I need to do more singing. I might post one or two next week. Time will tell. Let me know if you have a favorite.

Until next time.

Karen

 

Wilderness Journey #2 – False Start

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Mid-life crisis. We’ve all had moments when we realize how old we are and fret about missed opportunities or determine to change the direction of our lives.

Today we catch up to Moses when he is almost 40. Notice the two worlds he is a part of. Read Exodus 2:11-15. There are two New Testament passages that would also be helpful. Acts 7:22-29 and Hebrews 11:24-26.

  • What has he been spending his time doing up to this point? What kind of man had he become? (Acts 7:22)
  • Unlike the movie version he knew what his roots were.
  • What did he think his destiny was? (Acts 7:25)
  •  What did Moses do when he saw a Hebrew being mistreated?
  •  Whose job is it to take vengeance? (Deuteronomy 32:35)
  •  How did the sons of Israel respond to Moses the next day when he tried to be a peacemaker?
  •  What did Pharoah try to do?
  • What did Moses do?
  •  What or who had he been looking to for the freeing of Israel?
  •  Who am I looking to for help in trouble? Do I ever overstep my role in trying to fix things?
  • How do I get ahead of God?
  •  How was God using these circumstances in Moses life to prepare him for service?
  •  What difficulties in my life is God using to prepare me for service?

God’s time table is not the same as ours. Forty years old seems like a reasonable age for someone to start their ministry or leadership, yet God had other plans. We will learn more about that on Friday.

 

Wilderness Journey – #1 – Background

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“Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.” Genesis 15:13-14

It had been 320 years since God had said this to Abraham. If anyone was counting that meant they had 80 years to wait.

Today we will learn about Jochebed. Her story is found in Exodus 1:22-2:10. The names of her and her family are found in Numbers 26:59. Take some time to read through it and then answer the following questions.

  • Why did Pharaoh decide to murder the innocent baby boys? (Exodus 1:8-10)
  •  How did Jochebed manage to hide Moses for 3 months? (Talk about social distancing.)
  • When that becomes unmanageable what does she do? Who does she involve?
  • Who is she trusting? (see Hebrews 11:23)
  • Who does God send to protect and care for Moses? How is this ironic?
  • What role does Jochebed continue to play in Moses life?
  •  What does she eventually do in verse 10?
  •  What impossible situation am I facing?
  •  How can I live each day well? What can I do today to trust God?

This is the last we hear of Jochebed. I don’t know if she never made it out of Egypt, but because of her faithfulness a nation was delivered from bondage.

This series will be looking at the next 120 years in Israel’s history. It is an amazing story. I hope you come on the journey with me.

Karen