Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Peace in the Middle East- Will it Ever Come/7

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the Patriarchs. Moses stands next to the three patriarchs as the greatest men in the history of Israel and the Jewish people. The story of his life being spared from certain death to his encounter with God in the desert sets him apart as one of God's transformed leaders.

The book of Exodus gives us the story of the leadership of Moses. Once he had encountered God in the burning bush he was a servant with a mission. His mission was to be obedient to God by delivering messages to Pharaoh and leading the Jewish people to freedom.

The plagues pronounced upon the land of Egypt was the direct result of the Pharaoh's resistance to God's message through Moses. The plagues end with the awful slaying of all Egyptian first born males.

Four hundred years of slavery and the unfulfilled promise of the covenant are coming to an end. Moses leads the Jewish nation out of Egypt. Some scholars estimate the number of Jews leaving Egypt to be close to three million. A conservative estimate is at least one and one-half million. Now the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are close to realizing the dream that survived slavery, hardship and the death of infants.

Standing at the edge of the Red Sea the water must have seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. With an enraged army in pursuit terror must have been stealing the breath out of the people. Moses commands the people to prepare themselves to, "See the Salvation of our God". The Red Sea parts and the Jewish people experience, again, the mighty hand of God.

Every man, woman, child, goat, sheep, camel, dog and cat that left Egypt was now closer to Canaan that at any other time in four hundred years. The promise of the covenant was only a few days away and it was theirs for the taking.

Except, Moses was leading a nation of people that were stubborn, resistant and sinful. What could have been their immediate future, the land of Milk and Honey, would have to wait for forty years. God was always ready to keep His part of the covenant. He would make the Jewish people a blessing to the world, give them their own land and be their God. Their part was to obey and honor Him.

Due to rebellion and an unwillingness to listen to Moses the Jewish nation paid a heavy price. The promise of the land and a great posterity would have to wait until every rebellious man died in the forty years of walking in circles in the wilderness of the Sinai.

The importance of Moses leading the Jewish people out of slavery and bondage is paramount to the people of Israel. They hold to the stories of their rescue, their deliverance, their crossing the Red Sea, as proof of the, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, choosing them as, His Chosen People.

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