Tuesday, August 9, 2016

God Saved the Israelites

God saved Moses from being killed at a time when his peers were being put to death as soon as they were born.

Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. "Why are you beating up your friend?" Moses said to the one who had started the fight. The man replied, "Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?" Then Moses was afraid, thinking, "Everyone knows what I did." And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. (Exodus 2:11-15a NLT)

Moses spent time in Midian settling down, getting married, and having a son.  He tended the flocks and cared for his family, but he never forgot his people in Egypt.

Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. (Exodus 2:23-25 NLT)

You probably know the rest of the story.  Moses encounters God in a bush that would not burn up.  God sends Moses to confront Pharaoh.  Pharaoh hardens his heart and God sends ten plagues to change Pharaoh’s mind.  With each plague, God makes it more and more clear that the Israelites are protected and safe.  Finally, after the tenth plague, Pharaoh lets the Israelites go free.

Their freedom is short-lived, though.  God leads them down by the waters of the red sea using a pillar of fire-cloud.  When they get there, Pharaoh comes after them with his army.  Moses is told by God to lift his staff over the waters and, when he does, the waters split in two – revealing dry land.  They cross to the other side of the sea – millions of them – and, when they get to the other side, they saw Pharaoh’s army coming after them on the same dry ground.

So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers--the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. That is how the LORD rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. (Exodus 14:27-30 NLT)