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Friday, May 12, 2017

HEBREWS 11:29


"By faith he they passed through the Red Sea
as though they were passing through dry land;
and the Egyptians, when they attempted it,
were drowned."
("swallowed up")


Now as a kid and then as a preschool teacher, I went on lots of Bear Hunts.  You know,

"We're going on a bear hunt..."
then when an obstacle appears, you say,
"Can't go under it, can't go over it, have to go through it!"


Well the Hebrew children were going on a "Where? Hunt."
They were looking for the Promised Land, wherever that was,
leaving 430 years of slavery behind.




Then they came up to the swollen Red Sea at flood stage.  Moses didn't say, "How many of you can swim?  Can I see a show of hands?"  He didn't say, hey, Noah built an ark, so let's get busy chopping down some gopher wood.  He was stumped.  He only a million or so following him. Then those in the rear sent a runner up to say that there were some chariots churning up clouds of dust  looking like they would overtake them soon.  I can't imagine what Moses' blood pressure or pulse was about that time.  He must have said, "Okay, God, this is your problem.  I can't do this!  Hmm.  Yet, he did it by faith.

So God parted the waters and dried up the seabed's mud so the Hebrew children could cross as if they were walking on dry land.  Can you imagine those mamas holding onto their children's hands, all of them bug-eyed over the walls of water, which if they fell, would drown them all?  Can you imagine how those in the rear felt saying, "Hurry up guys, the whole Egyptian army is at my heels and breathing down my neck!"  You know, most art shows a narrow pathway God plowed through the water for the escapees, as if that were all God could do if He had to do a miracle to save them.  There were no selfies back then to post on Instagram to show us what it looked like from the perspective of the Jews walking through water.  Think big! Perhaps He cut a wide swath through the water to get them over on the other side in a hurry.  For some reason, God chose to part the waters rather than helping them to walk on water.  He knew even back then how that would go for Peter trying to do that routine, which didn't end so well. 


Okay, God showed those Egyptians, however, just how much He despised slavery and the way they had treated His people for 430 years.  God sees, He knows, He remembers.  But certainly their Egyptian economy depended on this people group.  Relics prove how busy they were kept, building a pyramid here and a Sphinx there.  The Egyptians also kept them down in oppression because they feared the Israelites could rise up at any moment and conquer their masters and overtake the whole kingdom due to the fact they had multiplied so greatly and were mighty in strength. Who needs a gym to build up a muscular physic when you get a workout like they did in real life?  So slavery is about power to oppress, money, and fear.  



But the Jews just left, seemingly with the people's blessing as the Egyptian masters pressed on them jewelry, even taking the earrings from their own earlobes and giving it to them because they wanted no more plagues.  As Pharaoh watched the dust of the exodus of his nation's slave force from his portico, he once again changed his mind.  Even though still grieving the loss of his first born--as were all the other Egyptian families--he sent his army, the most feared force in the world from the greatest nation on the earth at that time.  But don't worry.  God had the timing all down.  Moments after the last Hebrew's sandal passed through, He let loose the force of the water to come crashing down on those Egyptians who were on their heels. God had it figured out to the last drop, to the last footprint in the sand.  Those soldiers must have entered the parted Red Sea with some of the trepidation that God's people had being that it was a miraculous phenomenon of nature never before seen and all.  Then again, perhaps some were a little cocky thinking, if those slaves can do it,  we can do it better. In fact, this waterway is sure handy and better to overtake those no good, dirty rotten...Crash, boom, bang: splish splash, they were taking a bath!  God always has the last word.


You know, if the army, chariots and all, were on their heels, there weren't any slackers, hang-backers as the Hebrew children were all hunched forward, just passing through, come what may.  It wasn't until later that all they could think of was, "Wouldn't these quail taste better with a few onions," and "I  seem to recall a recipe I could adapt for manna with leeks.  Yum!  Let's go back and get some and spend a few hundred more years in slavery, shall we?" 



A view from Pizza Hut in Egypt: "I'll take a little extra cheese on that manna, please."

Andrew Murray says, "As absolute and universal and undisputed as is the sole supremacy of God, is to be the supremacy of faith in our heart.  Because, when faith rules supreme, it makes way for God, and God can become within us what He is in the universe."

Adam Clarke said, "The Egyptians thought they could walk through the sea as well as the Israelites; they tried, and were drowned; while the former passed in perfect safety.  The one walked by faith, the other by sight; one perished, the other was saved.


I guess you might think that having a chariot ride appeared to be a whole lot easier than hoofing it through the wilderness, but that didn't turn out so well for the Egyptians.  Sometimes we just have to put one foot in front of the other and walk by faith even against impossible odds.  God perks up His ears when someone says, "It's impossible!"  Nah, "nothing is impossible with God." 


As for the pagan Egyptians, "Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord!" We can never afford to forget that everyone will get their due and will stand before the God of the universe and answer only to Him.  We should start practicing now saying "Yes, Sir," "No, Sir, I won't do that again, Sir," and even let slip once in awhile saying, "You want me to do what?!!!"  Sometimes, we might even squeak, "Uh, Sir, I use a little help down here, Sir."  Moses most certainly did, by faith.



 Egypt had to give up the Israelites,
but they did not give up slavery. 
Below is a picture of an Egyptian slave master
and a Waswahili slave from Eastern Africa. 
During the Arab slave trade, many ruling class Arabs
enslaved European whites as well as sub-Saharan blacks.
According to Robert Davis,
between 1 million and 1.25 million  Europeans,
including many Quakers, were captured between the
16th and 19th centuries by Barbary (Pirates)...
vassals of the Ottoman Empire and sold as slaves."
No wonder President Thomas Jefferson formed the first navy
to fight these pirates, who trafficked in the Arab slave trade
taking over American ships.  Ironically,  
the African slave trade took a
bloody Civil War to accomplish it here at home.
  However, slavery is still practiced by the Muslim world today
since Mohammed had slaves. 






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