Exodus 13-15

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One of my struggles is that I don’t often see God’s hand working visibly in my life. That’s a long story and not one I’ll get into, but I often wonder why God so clearly works in and among others, but not in me.

There are some general reasons this might happen, but while I’m not perfect, I really have thrown myself into God’s service in every way I can. I have tried, and studied, and wrestled constantly in prayer. But it’s so dry. Why? That question is at the heart of my occasional moments of near despair. Why do I seem to have more walls go up?

Then I read this verse. There’s the long way and the short way. The long way is the way in which God shows his glory, does mighty miracles, acts in the cloud and the fire, and the drowned Egyptians. It is the way in which God moves to their rear and destroys their enemies. This is the dramatic God, the God I want to see.

The short way leads to the Philistines and to war.

Who does God pick to lead in these various directions? Those who might run away from battle, and give up, are given time and space and signs. They are shielded from the war and their own responsibilities for a time. They will see the dangers. They will feel the hunger and the thirst. But they will be given miracles.

Those who are strong enough, who would not shirk from duty, but would fight are led the short way. They experience the bite of the sword, the exhaustion of battle, the weariness of constant harassment, but they continue to fight, and continue to overcome, entering into the Promised Land quickly.

Do I want to be in the Red Sea walking on dry land and see the mighty power in action? Or do I want to fight the Philistines and claim the Promised Land?

I want to fight. I want the short way. Which explains a good bit to me now. I’m not going to turn away (“where else will I go, Lord?”). So God threw me into the mix.

I love the song of Moses here. Not least because it is such a wonderful prayer, a sung prayer, that celebrates what God has done because of who he is. I think it would be fun to make worship songs more like this — tied to specific moments in our shared history, or more personal family songs we can sing in praise that truly remembers and does not just recite a bit of vague theology or praise.

I also enjoy Miriam. Throughout Genesis women aren’t exactly models of awesomeness. They are sort of what we would expect from the curse of Eve, and don’t stand out as people particularly chosen by God to do anything other than be married and have babies.

But then here’s Miriam, a prophet. Were there other mentioned prophets before this? I need to check that. She’s definitely among the first with the title, and that means she is uniquely called as a speaker for God. Plus, she dances and plays an instrument.

A model of worship? I think so. This is one of the greatest moments in the Bible, and here we have the leaders responding in ways that are to be models for the rest of the history of God’s people.

But then 15 ends. The people are thirsty. Three days after their salvation the people grumble again. But, I’d grumble too if the only water was bitter. This is one of those things that seems to be justified grumbling, and their not really sure how it’ll be worked out.

Imagine if they had to strap on their swords and face a more numerous foe? Yeah. They’d definitely have gone back on the short road.

But God fixes the water by having Moses throw a piece of wood into it, making it sweet (another bit of symbolism to look up).

Then he makes a speech. We’re not said by what means, but likely through a prophet.

“Listen carefully. Do what is right. And you won’t get the diseases.”

I’m reminded here of the walk through the Red Sea. God let them walk on dry land, with walls of water on both sides. The Egyptians who came from behind were caught in the waters.

God’s people are not to go to the right, or to the left, or behind. They are to continue to walk forward in the protection of God’s grace. If they do not they will get caught up in the swirling chaos.

First the physical lesson in the Red Sea, and now the spiritual lesson.

Watch yourselves, God says. He says it still.

One Response to “Exodus 13-15”

  1. marie Says:

    I so love Miriam also. She was instrumental in saving Moses when he was a baby and now she sees Moses lead her people through the parted waters and she understands for the first time why Moses was so sorely
    tried and trained all along! It was for very vital redemptive purposes.
    I also like your idea about composing family songs which tell a personal story of rescue and redemption.
    And yes, “Be morally alert. Live as children of obedience to God. You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
    I Peter 1 “Watch yourselves!”
    Thanks for directing our focus to these wonderful stories of God’s redemption!!!!!!