Maybe they ran in like Chariots of Fire thinking they were all that and a bag of chips, but the pride that pushed Pharaoh along with all his chariots and cavalry, made them nothing more than an army trapped in the muck and mire of the returning sea. In today’s reading from Exodus 14:26 through Exodus 15:26, we will see what God does when anyone tries to raise himself up as if he is greater than Yahveh Almighty, and we will see what God does for those who lift Him up as God and Lord, so He can deliver them from the miry clay at the bottom of the deepest sea of sin. His mercy endures forever!
So God tells Moses to stretch his arm out over the sea to bring it down upon the Egyptians, and he does it. The Egyptians try to flee, but they are swept into the sea, and not one of them is left. But Israel continues to walk on dry ground with the sea walled up on their right and left. On that day, Israel sees the might of God, and they believe in both Him and His servant, Moses. And they begin to sing what has been sung to a variety of tunes and names, but often known as The Song of Moses.
The first twenty verses of Chapter 15 are the lyrics of the song that begins with a praise to God because He is exalted and because He threw the horse and rider into the sea. I love what would be considered the second verse of the song…
Yah is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
This is my God: I will glorify him;
my father’s God: I will exalt him.
The rest of the song goes back and forth from praising God for who He is and for His strength and describing exactly what He did to the sea and to Pharaoh and his men. At the end of the song, it speaks of Moses’ sister, Miriam, picking up a tambourine and playing along with the praise song while leading other women who played tambourines and danced. Somehow, I can just hear the inspired singing and see the inspired worship as Miriam and Israel lift their praises up to Yahveh who has just given them life after what looked like impending death from all sides. This is a true revival praise service.
After the song, Moses leads Israel deeper into the desert, and suddenly the children of Israel are thirsty. The only water available is from the river of Marah, meaning bitter, and so named because the waters were too bitter to drink. The children of Israel, delivered miraculously only three days before, start whining again. Still, even with the whining, Moses seeks God who shows him a piece of wood that when thrown into the water makes its flavor sweet and drinkable.
Now I’m wondering if the children of Israel were like fish with short memories, or if whining was just their preferred method of asking God for favor. His word says we have not because we ask not, but I wonder if how we ask makes any difference. I know that God, like any good parent, wants to provide for His children, so I think we should come before His throne with confidence and trust that He will ALWAYS provide for us as we need. Of course, I also think we should ask realistically and with respect. In other words, it’s probably not wise to ask for all the gold in the world just because we know Our Father owns the gold in a thousand hills. 🙂
While Israel is stopped in the desert, God begins to give them His laws and rules of life. His ways, which are, and always have been, above our ways, were most certainly the best ways to live for those who wanted His peace and the best life. I love verse 26 in today’s reading, so I’m going to add it here in the words from The Complete Jewish Bible… He said, “If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am Adonai your healer.” I know that when we do what He considers right, we will find similar promises for our lives now.
I don’t know if there are different colors of flowers in the “Forget Me Not” family, but I thought blue was an appropriate color to represent how it feels to be forgotten by someone you really wanted to remember you. There are times when being forgotten is just a thing of time and distance, but there are times when whatever transpired between you and someone else leaves a permanent etching on your heart, and you hope it has done the same for the other person. The rejection of finding out you have been forgotten can be heartbreaking.
Since this is the last section for this week’s portion, I bid you Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath Peace), and may you find rest in God today and always. Our reading today is a whole chapter; Genesis 40:1 through Genesis 40:23, and in this reading, Joseph is still in prison, but now he has some new roommates. Pharoah’s chief baker and his chief cupbearer have both somehow offended Pharoah and are sentenced to time in the same prison as Joseph. Joseph is the one in charge of them.
When Joseph comes to get the men one morning, he finds both men looking rather sad. As it turns out, they have both had dreams that left them confused as to their meanings. Joseph tells the men that interpretations belong to God, and that if they’ll share what they have dreamt, he will interpret for them.
The cupbearer had dreams of vines that grew in three days and of pressing the juice into the Pharaoh’s cup, so Joseph tells him that he will be restored as the royal cupbearer. He then asks the man to not forget him when he is restored, but to let Pharaoh know that he is innocent of all charges and does not belong in prison. Then, because the interpretation for the cupbearer was good, the baker shared his dream about baskets of bread on his head and birds eating them. Joseph told him it meant he would be hanged and that birds would eat his flesh. Yikes! I’ll bet he was sorry he asked.
Both of Joseph’s interpretations from the Lord came true for the men, but the cupbearer was so lost in the happiness of being returned to his position instead of being hanged that he completely forgot about Joseph. And we will have to wait for the next portion to find out just what it takes to get Joseph out of the dungeon where he has been forgotten and abandoned once again.
The sad thing in this story is that Joseph experienced what Our Loving Creator and Savior has too often experienced. How many of us have made promises to Him about things we would do “if only” He would do some special thing for us. And then, when we have received what we so desperately wanted, we get so lost in the joy of the gift that we forget to go back to our promises to The Giver. It’s the reason God had to keep reminding Israel, “Forget me not for all my benefits.” I think we have all experienced this, so next time you feel forgotten as a giver, let it remind you to never forget that God is your ultimate provider and giver, and that it is an honor to praise and lift Him up for all His providence.
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