These chapters cover a scene included the The Ten Commandments movie. Pharaoh lets God’s people go only to pursue them into the desert. At climax, Moses doesn’t actually know what God will do as the Israelites are pinned between the Red Sea (or Sea of Reeds) and Pharaoh’s approaching army. Ex. 14:13-15. It all works out. Miriam and Moses both sing some songs on the other side.
Moses trying to impart confidence to the people facing impending disaster while not knowing for himself what solution God would provide struck me as real. As a church leader myself, I’ve been in that position where we don’t know exactly the way forward. I have mixed feelings about this notion of “God will provide.” Sometimes God doesn’t.
Faith to do what is right even when it seems like you may lose all is a risky proposition. How do you know if standing in front of an approaching superpower, or holding a knife over your beloved son, or accepting execution by the State is right and not foolish?
More observations from this passage. Mixed in with story are explanations of ritual. This section includes how to conduct the Passover ceremony. It is interesting to read law & narrative mixed together. More to come for sure.
Then there is this little passage which directly connects keeping Kosher with physical health. I actually thought that was a modern thought (“Back then a pork chop could kill you!”) But, it appears to have Scriptural foundation.
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.
Interesting Note: we get yet another description of the Promised Land. Here are the last two:
So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites—the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey—you are to observe this ceremony in this month.
Ex. 3:8 v. Ex. 13:5. I must admit, I didn’t realize how much this jumped around.