Friday, February 04, 2022

2022.02.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 13:17–14:14

Read Exodus 13:17–14:14

Questions from the Scripture text: By which way did God not lead them (Exodus 13:17)? Why not? By which way did He lead them (Exodus 13:18)? In what manner? What did Moses take with him (Exodus 13:19)? Why? From where, to where, do they go (Exodus 13:20)? Who goes with them in what ways at what times (Exodus 13:21)? How consistently (Exodus 13:22)? Now what does Yahweh do (Exodus 14:1)? What must Moses do (Exodus 14:2)? Where are they to camp? By what? Why—what will Pharaoh say (Exodus 14:3)? What will Yahweh do (Exodus 14:4)? And what will Pharaoh do? What will Yahweh gain? What will the Egyptians know? What was told to whom (Exodus 14:5)? What happened to whose hearts? What do they say? What does Pharaoh do in Exodus 14:6a? Whom does he take (verse 6b)? What and whom else does he take (Exodus 14:7)? What had Yahweh done (Exodus 14:8)? So that Pharaoh would do what? How had the children of Israel gone out? How does Exodus 14:9 summarize the situation? What happens in Exodus 14:10? Who sees this? How do they respond? To whom do they speak in Exodus 14:11? Of what do they sarcastically accuse him (and therefore God)? What do they now say they would have preferred (Exodus 14:12)? What does Moses tell them not to do (Exodus 14:13)? What does he tell them to do instead? What would they see today? When would they see them again? What would the LORD do for them (Exodus 14:14)? What must they do?

The Lord does just what is right for His people, although they often can’t see it properly. We see His mercy not to take them through Philistine territory so that their fear and flakiness will not result in fleeing back to Egypt (Exodus 13:17). But then things take an odd turn (literally) to Pi Hahiroth (Exodus 14:11), where Israel ends up with their backs pinned to the sea and the Egyptian forces hunting them down (Exodus 14:6-8a). 

What does Israel do (Exodus 14:10-12)? Fret. Panic. Overreact. Blame Moses (really, blame God). Reinterpret history to make even God’s salvation sound like a bad thing.

But they should have known better. The Lord had told them the reason for their camping position (Exodus 14:2) was to provoke Pharaoh (Exodus 14:3) to pursue them (Exodus 14:4a) in order to be destroyed (verse 4b). In other words, Pharaoh would think that he has Israel right where he wants them; but, this is right where Yahweh wants Pharaoh (and Israel). 

In hindsight, we know what the Lord was about to do to Pharaoh and show to Israel. But did they really need that hindsight? Hadn’t they seen what He had done in the plagues? And didn’t He tell them that this was exactly why He had them camp in that specific location?

Moses has to remind them not to be afraid (Exodus 14:13a). The Lord had already guaranteed victory and salvation; instead of throwing a fit, they should have been standing still in order to observe how the Lord would do it (verse 13b). The fact of His delivering them was not in question, and the manner would be an occasion of rejoicing in Him unto His glory and their strengthening.

So it is with all of our panicking and fretting and overreacting and blaming. We forget that the Lord always has His enemies right where He wants them—both for overthrowing them and for His good purposes toward His people. And we forget that the Lord always has us right where He wants us for whatever good He wishes to do with us or show to us.

He has told us this beforehand so that we would have the benefit of hindsight when we’re still in the thick of things. Shall we not rather let His peace rule in our hearts, do all according to His Word, and keep our eyes peeled for whatever good and merciful deliverance He will bring from the situation? 

“The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:14).

Over whose actions are you tempted to fret, or even panic, right now? How does it help you to remember that God has them right where He wants them, and God has you right where He wants you? What should you be doing instead of worrying?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You work all things together for the good of those whom You have brought to love You by calling them according to Your purpose. Forgive us for when we are so foolish and wicked to think that You might give us Christ but then turn around and let the wicked genuinely harm us. Grant that even in the most difficult or threatening things, Your Spirit would convince us that we are more than conquerors and that nothing can separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH515 “More Than Conquerors”

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