This photo is from the 2015 Baltimore riots. The line of civilians guarding the police is a beautiful reminder to me that we can protect each other. The people standing in front of the police potentially sacrifice their safety to provide a covering. Anytime someone dons a uniform and rushes into a burning building or a crime scene to save others a similiar sacrifice happens.
In Exodus, Moses warned the people that a final and devastating plague was coming and they were all in the line of fire. Unless they carefully followed directions. The people were told to sacrifice a lamb and paint their doorframes with the blood of the lamb. When the executioner came by to kill their firstborn sons he would see the doorframe and pass over. God provided a way for the people to remain safe inspite of the judgment headed their way. Protection required sacrifice. It usually does.
Protection requires sacrifice.
Exodus provides another hint of God's grand plan to restore people by showing how a sacrifice works to cover people under judgment. The Egyptions finally relent and the people head out of town. Two large barriers to freedom lay in their path. The massive Red Sea and the return of their enemy.
The Red Sea
If it had been me and I was an Israeli mama holding a baby in one arm, my posessions in the other and I was being asked to step into the Red Sea while the slave owners chased me down I would have been terrified. This story makes me think I've never been in a situation where I had to trust God with the lives of my children, with my full livihood, with my future on the line and my painful history chasing me down. The only thing they had going for them was that God said he would deliver them. The promise was more than plenty. Next chapter over and the enemy is vanquished, the future is bright and a miracle has been logged in their collective history.
The greatest miracles come in times of pain.
Moses heads up Mt. Sinai for a conference with God. God laid out the laws he wanted the people to follow. Three chapters including the Ten Commandments and a variety of social justice laws to protect the people from being as brutal to each other as the slavery they just escaped.
Sad thing when free people enslave themselves.
Moses went down the mountain and gave a report. Mind you, they’d just been dramatically rescued from slavery and seen the Red Sea part so they were in an amiable mood to accept rules from the One who’d saved them. Exodus 24:7 says the people said "All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!" I like the exclamation point.
Moses goes back up the mountain. God resumes the conference with Moses. He’s gone forty days. It takes eight chapters. God lays out the plan for the tabernacle, offerings, priests clothing, altar and or meeting place. This is very exciting. Slightly overwhelming. I’m sure Moses was panicked. The creator of the universe wanted to spend time with His people. Moses is writing all the details down. Surely he’s trying to figure out where he’s going to find someone who knows how to carve Acacia wood or spin fine linen.
This is what I do. When I feel like God has asked me to do something I charge out with lots of questions. How am I going to do this? Who am I going to find to help?
Guess what? In Chapter 31 God says to Moses "See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all kinds of craftsmanship to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze…" It goes on from there. I need to remember this next time I spin into overdrive.
God has a plan already.
The Golden Cow:
So Moses goes down the mountain all ready to give the good news to the people. God is coming to meet with you! You promised to listen to what He said so He’s coming to lead us! Moses has been gone a month. And the people were worshipping a golden cow. Just lovely. I do this too. I see God do amazing things in my life. I promise to listen. I get tired of waiting. My attention wavers. I end up over in a corner obsessed with something other than what’s eternal. Facebook or Pokemon or my fingernails or my checkbook. Sigh. Golden Cows.
Exodus has many more stories and lessons . Stories that tell of how God provides; manna, quail, and fire by night. Stories of loyalty and creativity and wise delegation; Aaron, Jethro and Miriam. Songs of praise and laments of pain. You really are going to have to read it yourself. See if you can identify what has to be the lamest excuse ever provided for a bad decision. Send me an email if you find it, or let me know what inspires you from Exodus and I'll send you something fun.
The Bible Project Exodus Part 2. Seriously if you have not taken the time to watch these you should. Love, love, love them.
Do you love symbols and history? If so, this is the book for you.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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