Meditations in Exodus: 90. A Final Recap
Heb 3:5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house.”
In many ways the story of the Exodus is the story of Moses. Yes, it is all about the deliverance and ups and downs of Israel, the forming of this embryonic nation, but behind all that is the presence and leadership of Moses. In this final study we will first recap the things that happened and then consider lessons to be learned from this amazing story.
Part 1: Background – Studies 1 to 7 – Ex 1 & 2
The early life of Moses after a unique saving from death in his first months to live as a Prince of Egypt for the first forty years of his life until he rashly killed an Egyptian and had to flee Egypt and ended up looking after sheep for his next 40 years in Midian.
Part 2: Encounter with God – Studies 8 to 18 – Ex 3 & 4
After 40 years looking after sheep, Moses has an encounter with God at a burning bush on Mount Sinai where he is called to go back to Egypt and deliver Israel and take them to the Promised Land of Canaan.
Part 3: Returning with a Mission – Studies 19 to 25 – Ex 4 to 6
Moses’ return to Egypt, and meeting with the leaders of his own people – an inauspicious start.
Part 4: Into Battle – Studies 26 to 36 – Ex 6 to 11
The Battle of the Snakes, the first nine plagues: Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock, Boils, Hail, Locusts, and Darkness
Part 5: Wrapping it up – Studies 37 to 48 – Ex 11 to 15
Getting ready to leave, the Passover and tenth plague, leaving, being chased by Pharaoh, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his army.
Part 6: The Road to Sinai – Studies 49 to 60 – Ex 16 to 19
A time of early learning to trust God with trials by bitter water, no water, abundant water, learning to fight, and their arrival at Mount Sinai.
Part 7: The Divine Encounter at Sinai – Studies 62 to 75 – Parts of Ex 20 to 33
Meeting with God and receiving the Law, followed by an awful failure with the Golden Calf and much talk about the relationship with the Lord
Part 8: Sinai to Kadesh – Studies 76 to 81 – Num 11 & 12
Leaving Sinai and travelling to Kadesh with testings and failings
Part 9: The Events at Kadesh, and on – Studies 82 to 90 – Num 13 to 20
Israel’s refusal to enter the Land and being consigned to wander in the desert for forty years. Further failings and judgments and then travelling up the east side of the Dead Sea until arriving at the Plains of Moab opposite Jericho after having vanquished four enemies.
i) Moses: Moses, as we said above, is the primary character who features throughout this period of time and the story of the Exodus. Brought up as a prince of Egypt we saw his fall and his period as a shepherd in the wilderness of Midian, a time when all self-confidence would have left him. This is then the man God chooses to deliver his people. As the apostle Paul wrote, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things.” (1 Cor 1:27,28) When will we learn what Isaiah learnt: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” (Isa 55:8) or what Samuel had to learn: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7) It was not going to be by princely power, smart wisdom or even wealth that God’s people were delivered – and they are not today.
Associated with this we learn of the Lord’s calling. I believe the lesson that comes throughout the Bible is that God calls those to follow Him and do His bidding who He knows He can change and who have potential for great things. That means you and me.
ii) Pharaoh: here is the epitome of human pride and foolishness, a man who hardened his heart by his self-centred and godless desire, reinforced by the occult, to withstood all of God’s persuasions that got tougher and tougher and more obvious as they went along. His eventual death was down to his own pride – and so it is with men and women today.
iii) Israel: Israel we would like to think well of, but cannot! Their self-centred concerns, and so often godless attitudes, sum up what the Bible calls Sin, and it is constantly there! Again and again the Lord provides for them and although we may consider a number of things they encountered to be trials or testings through which they should learn, they never learned the simple lesson – when in trouble ask God for His help! However if we are honest, Israel simply portray mankind as a whole, of whom we are a part. We, all of us, have this propensity to be self-centred and get it wrong, failing to seek God’s help at every turn. No, we are just like Israel and without Christ are just as bad.
iv) God: On one side of the coin, the picture of God is scary. Here is a God of power and might, a holy God who holds people to account and when they fail to repent, brings judgment. However, the other side of the coin reveals a God who understands the frailty of those He calls and so perseveres and perseveres with them until they grow and mature. The fact that He did not wipe out the whole of Israel very early on in their life as a nation, simply reveals a God of immense grace and mercy. He is also seen as a God who draws near to His people, provides for them, blesses them and brings them all the guidance they need. i.e. He is a God who interacts with His people constantly.
Now these are massive lessons, I would suggest, and if you have managed to follow all these studies right through to the end you are to be congratulated because they have not always been highly enlightening. And therein is another lesson: not every page of the Bible is as enlightening as all others, yet we can learn something even from those that do not seem to inspire us. Inspired they may be but not every word is thrilling BUT it WILL be “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that (we) may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16,17) The only criteria, I have learned over many years of writing these studies, is that we need to pray both before and after what we have read, and THEN the word comes alive as we encounter Him and He opens it up to us. OK, what’s next?