Reflection on Exodus 16:1-15

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+16.1-15

Scripture

As Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out to the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud.

Observation

The community of Israel journeys into the wilderness of Sin. The people begin to complain against Moses and Aaron bringing them into the wilderness to starve. They make the ridiculous complaint that in Egypt they always had enough and sat around eating all day.

The Lord promises Moses that He will provide meat every evening and bread each morning. So each evening vast numbers of quails fly into the camp, and each morning a flaky substance which they call manna appears on the ground.

Application

Amidst the complaining and grizzling of the people in the wilderness, they could see the glory of God in the cloud.

Their fear and unbelief prevented them trusting the God who was gloriously present with them, shining from the cloud at the edge of the camp.

The issue was not that they doubted God’s presence- He was clearly visible to them. Nor was the issue that God was able to provide for them- they had experienced some awesome miracles in the previous few weeks.

The issue was this. Did God care enough to provide for their needs? Could they trust the Lord to bring them through?

This issue of the Lord’s love and our trust in Him is at the heart of all doubt, and indeed of all sin.

We don’t have the cloud of glory “out there.” We have the Holy Spirit in us, a far greater blessing than the children of Israel experienced.

This same question remains for us as we pass through our own wilderness experiences. Can I trust God in this wilderness?

Prayer

Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief. Help me to trust you in the wilderness times even more than in the good times. Amen.

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Reflection on Exodus 14:19-31

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+14.19-31

Scripture

And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Observation

The Israelites are fleeing the Egyptians and have arrived at the Red Sea. The angel of the Lord and the cloud of glory move from the front of the Israelites to behind them, between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Through the night the cloud brings darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites.

At the Lord’s command Moses stretches his staff over the sea, and the Lord sends a strong wind to divide the waters. The people of Israel go through the sea on dry land with the waters gathered up on either side of them.

The Egyptians pursue the Israelites, but the Lord throws confusion over them. The wheels of their chariots fall off. The Lord again tells Moses to stretch out his staff over the water, and it collapses back on itself drowning the Egyptian army.

In response to this display of power, the Israelites put their trust in the Lord and Moses.

Application

This is an awesome miracle, a demonstration of the power of God, and it brought to the people of God the ability to trust Him.

There seemed to be no way, but God opened a way. The future of the people seemed closed up, but God provided a new way, a new hope, a new future.

This display caused the people to put their trust in the Lord– for a few days .Later they would become hungry, and their praise would turn to grumbling.

Spiritual maturity comes when we learn to trust God in the tough times as well as in the excitement of miracles. Do I still trust Him when my prayers seem to go unanswered, or when enemies triumph at my expense?

I must trust the Lord in every circumstance.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to trust you in the good times and also in the tough times. Amen.

Reflection on Exodus 3:1-15

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3.1-15

Scripture

Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

Observation

Moses is out in the wilderness, tending his father-in-law’s sheep. He comes across a burning bush from which the Lord speaks to him.

The Lord tells Moses that He has seen the misery of His people and is going to set them free and take them to their own land. Moses is to go to Pharaoh and set God’s people free.

Moses then asks the question, “Who are you?” and the Lord says, “I am who I am. This is my covenant name for ever.”

Application

Moses turns aside to see a sign from God and he has a life-changing encounter with Him. The Lord says “This ground is holy.”

That particular patch of ground was holy because God’s presence was there in that moment. It hadn’t been holy the hour before, and as far as we know, it wasn’t holy after the meeting between Moses and Yahweh.

God’s presence makes all the difference to a place. In that moment of encounter, that place is sanctified, set apart for God.

We don’t have “burning bush” moments every day. But we do have the opportunity for God encounters. Another shepherd might have been too intent on watching his sheep, or, in our day and age, his facebook feed. But Moses took time to step away from his path to go and look and listen to God.

God moments and God encounters are waiting for us every day if only we will stop, look and listen.

We don’t need a flaming bush in the wilderness. God is with us everywhere we go.

Prayer

Lord, what special moment do you have for me today? Help me to listen to your voice among the clamour of my life. Amen.

Reflection on Exodus 1:8-2:10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+1.8-2.10

Scripture

When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her own. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him from the water.”

Observation

A new king who knows nothing of Joseph arises over Egypt. He becomes concerned about the Hebrew people becoming more prosperous and more powerful than the Egyptians, so he oppresses them with forced labour.

The Hebrew people continue to prosper so Pharaoh increases their servitude. Next he orders the baby boys to be killed at birth, but the midwives refuse to do this.

A certain Hebrew woman bears a baby boy. When she can no longer hide him, she makes a basket and puts him in it among the reeds at the bank of the river. Pharaoh’s daughter comes down to the river to bathe and discovers the baby.

The baby is returned to his mother to nurse until he is old enough to be weaned. The mother then takes him to Pharaoh’s daughter who names him Moses.

Application

There must have been hundreds of baby boys cruelly killed by the Egyptians, but one is rescued and set apart for an impossible mission. It is as if the Lord sees the baby and says, “This is the one I have chosen.” He then orchestrates events to ensure that Moses is in the right place to rescue God’s people.

Each of us is created for a special task or mission in life. It is not always obvious to us what that mission is, but as we go about our daily life serving the Lord, we influence many people for Him.

Moses’ mother put her baby into a makeshift boat hoping that God would do something for her. She could not have anticipated what God would do with her small act of desperation.

We need to daily trust that God will use our small acts to bring about big effects in God’s kingdom.

Prayer

Lord, I thank you that you use small acts of obedience to change lives, even nations. Please use me today to your glory. Amen.

Reflection on Exodus 17:1-7

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+17.1-7

Scripture

I will be standing there, in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.”

Observation

The congregation of the Israelites journey through the wilderness as the Lord commands. They camp at Rephidim, but there is no water, and the people complain to Moses.

Moses goes to the Lord and asks Jim what he should do. The Lord tells him to strike the rock with his staff. So Moses does this, and the Lord provides water for the Israelites.

Application

The Lord is always with us. There is no place we can go where He is not already there.

When we are in dry places, dangerous places, anxious places or closed-in places, God is always with us.

If I am walking in the path set by the Lord, I can be sure that He is walking with me and He will give me the resources that I need to complete my assignment.

It is easy to have faith when I am by myself. It is much harder when I have to risk looking foolish in front of others. Moses seems to have often been in that place of having to trust God in front of the whole nation. What if he had got it wrong and God had not shown up?

Faith is risky. It is scary to let go of control and trust that I am hearing God correctly. What if I get it wrong and look stupid? What if I get it wrong and spoil someone else’s faith?

The Lord is big enough to handle the “What if’s” We just need to put out our hand to strike the rock, trusting that God is able to use us.

Prayer

Lord, please forgive my lack of faith and the fear that stops me from trusting you. Help me to reach out and believe that you are able. Amen.

Reflection on Exodus 3:1-15

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Scripture

Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”

Observation

Moses is tending his father-in-law’s sheep. He comes to Mount Horeb where he sees a bush enveloped in flame yet not burning up.

As Moses approaches, God speaks to him. He identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Lord says that He has heard the cry of His people and He is going to rescue them and take them to their own land.

The Lord tells Moses he is to go to Pharaoh to set His people free. Moses says, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh?” The Lord promises that He will be with him.

Moses’ next question is “Who are you?” The Lord says, “I am who I am.”

Application

The Lord appears to Moses with a big mission- go to the leader of the world’s biggest power and demand that he set the Hebrew people free. This is huge, even for Moses who was raised in Pharaoh’s palace.

Moses asks for a sign and God tells him, “I will be with you. And you will know this because you will bring my people back here to worship me.”

In other words, God is telling Moses to trust Him, and after he has completed the task then he will see the sign.

I wonder how many people have missed out on God’s call because they wanted a sign up front. Sometimes God gives us a sign before we start, but His way often is to ask us to trust Him.

Prayer

Lord help me to trust you. Help me to see that you are with me even when it all seems too hard. Amen.