Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bible Reading Reflection (Ex 13-16)

So, God takes Israel the long way to Canaan.  The most direct route would lead them through Philistine territory, and God thought that if Israel faced war, they would change their minds and return to Egypt.  Curiously, the text says that Israel left Egypt and was "ready for battle," yet God led them away from war with the Philistines.  Even though Israel was "ready for battle," they were not ready at all.  God had purposefully led them to an area that was strategically poor.  If they would to face an enemy on land, they would have been boxed in with the sea behind them and the enemy in front of them and have no place to turn.  God wanted Pharaoh to pursue Israel.  The ever ready Israel saw Pharaoh and his army approaching, but instead of mustering for battle, their confidence, if they had any at all, melted away.  They were terrified and accused Moses of leading them out to the desert to die at the hands of the Egyptians.  There was no thought of victory or deliverance in their minds.  Moses told them to stand firm, and see the deliverance of Yahweh.  They would not have to fight at all, but Yahweh would fight for them.  God opened the sea and Israel passed through to safety, while God drowned the pursuing Egyptians in the sea.  How poetically appropriate.  The Egyptians, who had drowned male Hebrews babies in the water in an effort to destroy them are now themselves drowned in the water.

As I reflect on the "readiness" of the Hebrews, I am reminded of myself.  I feel confident.  I feel ready to take on anything.  Then God leads me to a place where I am boxed in.  There is no place to turn.  In spite of my confident readiness, I am not ready at all.  My fear, doubt, and even unbelief come to the surface.  My confidence melts away in the face of an unbeatable challenge.  I cry.  I complain.  I lash out at those close to me.  I isolate myself.  I have a pity party.

I have to wonder.  Where did my confidence and readiness come from?  Did I really trust God, or was I just saying that I did because it sounded good?  Do I truly trust God, or is my trust in a government program to bail me out?  Do I have confidence in God's promises, or is my confidence in my perceived ability to control and handle things on my own?   Do I calm myself in God's presence, or do I frantically look everywhere but up?

Lord, I cannot do this.  I really cannot.  I thought I could, but I can't.  I am admitting my impotence and powerlessness and utter lack of control.  I thought it might go one way, but instead it went a completely different way.  Help me to see past of the illusion of control.  Help me to squash the deceitfulness of pride.  Help me acquire true courage and confidence from faith in you.  Thank you for your mercy and patience. 

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