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Jan 16, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 16

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Egypt and Exodus

You freed your people from slavery in Egypt so they could worship you: Free me from sin so I can serve and worship.

Reflection

The firstborn of God’s people are consecrated and the Lord leads them out of slavery and through the Red Sea, narrowly escaping the wrath of the Egyptians who are themselves destroyed.  From our (Christian) vantage point, this deliverance is seen as a picture of our baptism.  We are led out of slavery to sin and through the waters of baptism to a new life on the other side.  Think of this as you read the triumphant song of praise in chapter 15.

Today’s Reading

Exodus 13-16

Today’s Question

Freedom from Egypt doesn’t free the people from their old habits.  When you read about the ways they are tested and the ways God provided for them, how does their experience speak to you?

Join the discussion below!

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  • The expression, and I think I heard this from Jeff Cavins’ lecture, is that “you can take Israel out of Egypt, but you can’t take Egypt out of Israel.” Our ever – gracious God is ever faithful, in spite of our constant struggles with sin. Exile (into the slavery of sin) and return (to faithfulness to God) is a constant throughout salvation history.
    These people had to have been inculturated into the idolatrous society around them, and at risk of losing their identities as God’s Chosen because they were denied the ability to worship and offer sacrifice. Re-dedicating and disciplining themselves to serve only the Lord was AT LEAST as hard for them THEN as it is for us TODAY (in our post-modern, individualistic, idolatrous culture)!

    • Yes, our culture, the reason why we need to evangelize our culture. But firstly is ourselves, our impulse of consumerism and power greed If we are in the government power) the advent of technological growth is so fast changing, but the pace of our moral growth was left behind, which is our modern world version of idolatry, we were so attached with money at the expense of others, which is very pronounced to our government leader, in their aspiration of the power, tantamount to as financial dictators. There is always a battle of good conscience that us humans are being subjected to and must win it to ourselves or there is that risk on the sword of Damocles right hanging over our head.

      Let our hearts melt by God’s faithfulness, and we sing, please click below:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXAqoZuYvyA

    • I guess that might be why it took them 40 years out in the desert before they could enter the Promised Land. They needed time to get “Egypt” out of their system…and allow “God’s ways” to enter in.

  • Today’s reading makes me realize just how ungrateful I am. Rather than thank God for all that He has given me, I focus on and grumble about the things I don’t have and the things that don’t go right. Like the Israelites, I need to get an attitude adjustment and put things in perspective. Fortunately, there’s daily prayer to help me do just that.

    • Thanks for the honest reminder, Andy, that we should all take time each day to give praise for God’s providence!

        • Thank you so much Jeanne! I always send these to friends and family:
          1Thessalonians 5.18 In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
          Ephesians 5.20 …..giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
          So why don’t I practice what I preach? A more true grumbling Israelite there is not.
          So glad to have the reminder from so many of you. <

          • I’ve discovered that having a grateful heart in all circumstances has lead to greater blessings. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much… If then you have not been faithful… who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)

            Just like when we are responsible in small matters, when we are grateful for each thing we receive (good or bad), “more is given”. This does not only mean material “things” but includes the more important spiritual gifts… “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven… For
            to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance…” (Matthew 13:11-12)

    • Our invitatory psalm from the Divine Office is a daily reminder for us to give thanks and stop being a stubborn people – Oh that today you would listen to his voice, harden not your hearts as at Meribah… (psalm 95) I think, today, we are no different from the Israelites, we are still very much a stubborn people, and as Andy rightly says we are ungrateful and forget to give thanks in good and not so good times and we sometimes lose the perspective.

      • I also agree with Andy and you. I guess we are “human” and fall short of what we should be or what we ought to be. The important thing is that we recognize our weaknesses and that we keep trying to do better. God is so patient and so good to us….even though we don’t deserve it. Aren’t we blessed to have Him as our Father!!!

  • In Ch 13:12 “you shall dedicate to the Lord every son that opens the womb, and all the male firstlings of your animals shall belong to the Lord”, we know how the Israelites kept to this as even Jesus’ parents brought him up to the temple and dedicated him to the Lord and offered the pigeons as a ransom for him. I was struck with Ch 15:26 “If you really listen to the voice of the Lord, your God, and do what is right in his eyes; if you heed his commandments and keep all his precepts, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases with which I afflicted the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer” How much harder it was, and is, to do this second thing. I look at this as an outward sign (dedicated firstborns) and an inward sign (listen and obey).

    • This struck me as well, Gig Rose…I especially was struck by the “if you heed his commandments and keep all his precepts, I will not afflict you”…I wondered as I read this how if we were to keep his commandments and precepts more carefully, if we would not be afflicted so much by diseases as we are…Causes me to ponder….

      • I see outward manifestations in Scripture as signs of internal realities. Perhaps the diseases speak more of diseases of conscience. How devastating and debilitating is sin?

  • I really don’t know about anyone else, but when I determine that I am in need of an attitude adjustment as Andy has said, I find God sets me up with my own 40 days in the desert experience to learn that lesson…sometimes I get it; most of the time I partially get it. And God has to set up another experience to move me even closer to where He wishes me to be. Knowing that God ever since the time of the Exodus has been in the business of teaching us lessons to grow into the people He wishes us to be is an awesome thought. How faithful, and patient He has been with us…What a lesson for us to learn to imitate with our neighbor…In spite of the obstinate nature of our friends and neighbors are we faithful, true, and patient with them as God wants us to be? Jesus gave us the command to Love God; and then to Love our neighbor as ourselves…This Exodus experience is an example of God the Father demonstrating His love for His people…And as Andy has said instead of grumbling and carrying on, we should try to be more grateful and thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed on us. Just as Israel came to a crossroads here, (deciding to return to slavery; or to go on into greater faithfulness to God), so can we enter into our own crossroads, and decide to enter into further slavery to sin; or to go on into greater faithfulness to God…and we have our Savior’s promise to give us the help we need to overcome, when we make the choice to go on.

    • Beverly I had never thought of this. Last year I spent the entire Lent in the hospital. Being admitted to the hospital on Ash Wednesday and not released until the Friday before Palm Sunday. My son literally carried me into the Holy Week Services. I had to go back to the hospital for CT-scans on Good Friday. I was very angry because I couldn’t even observe the Three Hours because the Scan began at 12 O’clock, and I was violently ill afterward (as I always am). I found that I was unable to focus on the the sufferings of Christ. This year I am resolved to observe Lent to the fullest in spite of what attitude adjustment challenges God sends my way.

      • Dearest Barbara…I would say God gave you his richest blessings of all last year during the Lenten season…even though you were not able to concentrate on the season or the sufferings of Christ last you…YOU WERE THE SUFFERING CHRIST to all those who knew you…Sometimes we think sufferings and hurting things are penances for something we have done wrong…they may have just been for the benefit of others to see that Lenten season…suffering places on the cross WITH Christ-so we are literally With Christ, In Christ, and Through Christ…as you were last year. Whether we are on the outside looking at the sufferings of Christ or on the inside suffering those sufferings we are all participants in the most Holy season of Lent. Yours just happened to be on the inside. God Bless you abundantly, as I am sure He does daily.

      • Like you, my Lenten preparation last year was not as I had desired but my failings were due to my own negligence not my health. I felt like I had let God and myself down in a huge way. Going into Holy Week I felt something had to give so I went to Mass every day during Holy Week with the hopes of resurrecting my preparation. I am not certain what God felt about my condensed preparation but I do know what it has brought to my life moving forward. Daily Mass is now a part of each of my days, the best part of my day as I get to be with Jesus. Edith Stein said we should strive to add Jesus into each part of our days; begin with morning prayer, attend Mass at noontime, if possible and then close out your day with evening prayer. I am far from perfect, believe me, but I do know that my dissatisfaction with last year’s Lenten preparation has lead to amazing changes in my life. Sometimes great things come out of not so great things if we put God first. I hope your health is better and I am certain God is looking upon you with mercy just as he was last year but with a little less health drama. Have a blessed day.

      • Beverly, I don’t usually comment because I do this study later in the day, so I hope you see this. Even though last lent was not has you expected.,it seems to me you were much closer to our Lord than you realize. We are closest to Christ when we suffer.You were living the sufferings of Christ in your pain and suffering, in you aloneness. I am sorry for the trial you endured. However, it might have been the nearest you came to experiencing the agony of Jesus. God bless you with every grace needed to be who He created you to be.
        Also, thanks to all of you who participate in the daily discussion. Your insights are enriching for me!

      • Barbara, I really hope you are feeling better and doing well. This Lenten season may be a whole new experience for you. You may be able to see things a little more clearer or differently. It sounds like last year you had a difficult year. With all of that suffering you endured, you may have a more insightful appreciation of Christ’s suffering this year.

        When sickness falls upon us, either an acute or chronic illness, it is very difficult to have the “appropriate” attitude 24/7 when we don’t feel well. I have seen many people lash out at both strangers and family members when they don’t feel well. I for one usually have to apologize at least once to my husband whenever I finally have resolution of a migraine. These infamous headaches can easily runs its course of up to 3-4 days, but luckily are happening very infrequent lately as I learned how to finally manage them. I find it very difficult to focus on anything whenever I don’t feel well. Try not to be so hard on yourself when and if you are ill, God is forgiving and will understand if you are not up to par and unable to focus properly. I am sure He will accept your undivided attention when you are able again. God bless you and your family.

        • I will admit that the focus of lent being distracted by physical suffering is better making the object of lent the having a size smaller Easter Dress.

      • Barbara, God made NO mistake last year when he silenced your tradition and took you on a different journey through Lent. And, He may have different or same plans for you this year. The beauty of trusting Jesus is that Peace (not anger) that stills the soul throughout ‘whatever’ He allows in your life. Be open to where He will ‘carry’ you this Lent. He has your back !

        • Amen to that. Remember also the following equation: joyful does not equal absence of suffering. Rather, joyful equals the presence of God.

        • Yes gg, God has completely suprised me. Lent last year was the best Lent of my life. Thank you Sarah Christmyer for your series on the Penitential Psalms. Last year at this time I had been told that there was a 99% chance that one or both my cancers would return by September and there would be very little they could do. This year my Dr. says that I am miraculously cancer free. He believes this to be an act of God. He formerly did not believe in God. I have now been cleared for any therapies (inlcuding surgery) that might get me to walking I have many blessings to be thankful for. I am now trusting in God that He will provide meaningful employment for my children

  • The freedom given from Egypt is also my freedom bestowed by God to me at my baptism, but yet I have to work it out for my salvation, like the Israelites journey in the desert. My journey is where God testing my heart and so with my faith. But we cannot test God for we know His unfailing faithfulness in us. For God won’t be happy for that, which only means we lost our faith and we lost trust in God. In my true personal experience I had gone through many rigorous trials and sufferings in life and at the present time I am a stroke survivor, disabled for about ten years now. Even today my Lord continue to give me trials in life for He knew I could endure it, but ever did I grumble to God. I have been thankful and grateful in prayers for this in sharing me His own suffering in the cross. Trusting in Jesus Christ I am hoping to be saved and receive His promise of eternal life.

    • God bless you in your physical and spiritual perseverance! I must say, though, that I never consider my struggles as testing from God. I consider them an inevitable part of the human condition since the fall. But God is there to provide the necessary strength, grace to persevere as overcoming our tribulations strengthen us and bring us closer to Him.

      • Thanks Kerry for understanding and recognition of our God’s bountiful grace and as we accept all these inevitable occurrences in our lives we are given an occasion to give our quality of our faith hidden in our hearts through trials and perseverance..

  • Exodus was not only a freedom from physically slavery, but also freedom from spiritual slavery (sin, not believing and trusting in God to take care of them). So God made them wander for 40 years so that they could learn to trust him. He only allowed them to gather as much food for one day so they would learn to trust that He would send food for the next day. He wanted them to know that He was their Father and would take care of them if they trusted, accepting the gift of faith He was bestowing upon them. He wanted them to understand that they needed to love and serve Him with all of their hearts. With each new test, He allows them to see that He will take care of them and they accept more and more the gift of faith He extends to them.

    I find that my faith and trust in God’s love for me has been strengthened evytime I accept the gift of faith He extends to me. Little by little I accept more of this gift and thus am able to trust a bit more each time. I see this as a life long journey. God presents to me ever increasing tests to test my willingness to trust and accept His gift of faith. Right now I am at a crossroad in my life, laid off from my profession and God is not allowing me to secure the next position yet. I have faith He will lead me to whe He needs me to go but I also need to wait and prepare. What am I preparing for? I don’t know but I do leave myself open to all that comes into my life right now. I have a feeling He is going to lead my life in a totally new direction because of the circumstances that are presenting themselves. My prayer has been… Use me Lord to do your work… But I did not expect Him to lead me in the direction I think He is leading me! I don’t want to be too hasty so I am slowly trying to discern His will by stepping out in action and faith to see if I am staying on the path He is presenting to me.

    • I recently read that God always presents the unexpected, prepare to be surprised at how he will use you. I just told my husband, who is waiting to see if he is coming out of retirement yet again, God desires a willing heart, if you have that, He will use you the best possible way.

  • What spoke to me as I was reading these chapters occurred in Chapter 14 before the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. They cried out to Moses, “Why did you lead us here to die in the Wilderness? We could have stayed and served the Egyptians rather than die.” How often do we want to remain comfortable with our current situation rather than go out on a limb to do something we know to be right but just don’t want to take the risk. Several of us wrote of this yesterday in regards to taking a stand towards helping someone in need but instead of helping we “allow” our leaders to take control. Is this what God calls us to do, expect others to do His work? Absolutely Not! Each of us are called to serve God and we do this through prayer and helping those in most need of help, the least of God’s people, if you will. This becomes our daily challenge, will we allow others to do God’s work or will we stand tall and say, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will!” Moses stood tall and served the Israelite people through his obedience and true faith in God, What a beautiful lesson and challenge for us all.

  • I have been reflecting on today’s readings as well as yesterday’s discussion. Today in 14:18, The Lord says, ‘the Egyptians will know that I am The Lord’. This week some of the discussion was about God making Pharaoh obstinate and the question of God doing that to him. In this passage it seems to me that God is using Egyptian language to speak to the Egyptians. They were a mighty, powerful, knowledgeable people. They considered themselves unbeatable and superior to the Israelites. God loves all and wants all to know and love Him as He knows and loves them. He does speak to each of us in our own language.Egyptians would never listen to God the way Moses or Abraham listened to Him. God uses the stubborn, prideful nature of Pharaoh to show His singular and ultimate power over all.

    • I like your thread, and it reminds me of a Jewish tradition I heard: When the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea, the heavenly host rejoiced. But they were reprimanded: Do not rejoice; grieve for them because they are God’s created, as well, and God desires their fidelity and love, too.
      I have to remind myself daily: God loves the person I like least every bit as much as He loves me.

  • What really struck me in this reading was part of Moses’ canticle, Ex 15:14-17 because it gives us a clue for God’s plan for the Israelites. The peoples of the Promised Land would not have heard the news yet of Egypt’s demise, but they would very quickly. When the Israelites approached the Promised Land (after a brief sojourn in the desert to learn God’s Ten Commandments), the people would have fled in terror and completely abandoned the land. Then the Israelites could have peacefully taken over the Promised Land. But, of course, they were stiff-necked and had to be punished by remaining in the desert for 40 years. By then, the Canaanites and other pagan peoples had long forgotten or ignored the stories of Israel’s powerful God. As a result, a fierce war had to be waged and many had to die.

    This makes me think about God’s plan for me. He wants me to follow His will so He can bless me and show me the easier path, but I am so often stiff-necked, like the Israelites, and have to endure the consequences of not following God’s guidance in my life.

    • Formula is this, I think. Pray Our Father….. and led as not to the temptation.. By this we also be clothe with supernatural power of God to win against the supernatural power of the devil that mere natural person can’t do. Pray also the Hail Mary… (with heart’s full intense) say, the full of grave…. The full of grace scared out the devil as the devil has no more place when the heart is full. Grace and sin cannot stick together as with water and oil. (Saying the Rosary is the best)

  • The Israelites were slaves as soon as an obstacle came up, they wanted to run back into slavery. Slaves do not have to think, just obey, nor do they have complete responsibility for their way of life or plan for their future. They accept the abusive life as normal. The struggle of the Israelites is mirrored in the lives of countless children of God moving away from the slavery’s of the world, to committing themselves to a single slavery to God. The secular slavery’s are never-ending and soul destroying. Slavery or service to God brings liberation, freedom and great rewards. The rewards are not of the world, simply because we are being liberated from the slavery of sin. Just like the Israelites, I don’t see the big picture and do not “get” His plans as I am not omnipotent. Just like the Israelites, I wander off, whine, get myself tangled up in wrong thinking etc. And just like them, I need guidance and reminding of just who has the power, is in charge and who is the One who really cares about my whole life, especially my soul.

    • In the Seven Last Word, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” We meditate, in his most trying moments, in his dying moment, Jesus reached into the depths of his experience for the words of his archetypal forebear David. He brought forth Psalm 31:5: “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” His dying moment was a moment of trust. It was also a moment of intimacy. The two belong together: trust nurtured by intimacy; intimacy nurtured by trust. The intimate word Jesus added to the words of David was Father. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

      Just before his final expression of trust, Luke tells us, the heavy curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Interpretations of this event vary widely, but I see this as a sign of
      newly opened access to God. The structures of worship are both barrier and bridge. They both separate worshipers from and connect worshipers to the divine. But in the tearing of the temple veil we see that the formal separation between worshipers and the Worshiped One is destroyed as Jesus himself provides free and open access. He is, in his own words, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

      Our meditation is sweeter when we sing. Please click below.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLJ0IjLAmOA

  • We, the baptized are freed from the slavery of sin and are promised eternal life in God’s kingdom. The Israelites were freed from slavery and oppression in Egypt and were given new freedom- the freedom to openly worship their God and have a closer relationship with him if they trusted him. They were promised to be delivered to land flowing with milk and honey. God provided for them, gave them all that they needed but still, they did not trust him nor his spokesman, Moses. Like the Israelites we sometimes go back to our old sinful habits instead of fully trusting in God’s grace. We choose not follow the good advice that God gives us through his spokesman, the church. We prefer our old ways, our old bad habits, becoming complacent living in sin and selfishness. We, like the Israelites struggle with trust and need to recommit ourselves each day, to trust in God’s grace, even if it does not make sense to us.

    • Yes we want to do good but ourselves do otherwise. We were put to a battle of good conscience at all time that we must have to win it body and soul, heart and conscience, mind and will.

  • I love E13:22 “Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people.” As long as you continue to follow, continue to walk in the path that our Lord has made for us, you will always be guided and protected. Surely, we all stray off that path every now and then, but as long as we find out way back and continue to follow, he will be there to guide our way. Very powerful.

    • As they followed the column of clouds and fires, today we also follow the Pillar of Fires and Pillar of Truth in the Word of God. The Church is the Pillar and foundation of truth.

  • The freedom of the Israelites was only a preview of the freedom we have through Jesus we have complete freedom from sin. At mount Sinai the Israelites were given the Ten Commandments but they were given some 600+ laws that they were bound by, These were like the rules given to children everything from this point on is to train them for the coming of Jesus. I am thankful for the lessons learned by the Israelites I do not have to learn them the hard way I need only to commit to Jesus. Why then is it so hard for me?

    • The freedom given to us is our freedom to do good, otherwise we are turning back in bondage of sin. We have been strengthen by God as his children of light and we were planted in the darkness of this world or in the secular world. Our concern is how do we carry ourselves to follow Christ in this secular world and we need not to be a secularist.

  • Its good to revisit the OT again. It helps me to identify why I move forward 2 steps and back 1 step. Crossing the Red Sea is what made me learn that I didn’t totally obey to God’s commandments, as I move forward and then back to my bad habit again, even though I was taught and the promise of eternal life. Conversion to Lord Jesus seems to me is a process and not a transformation overnight. Thank you Lord Jesus for your Holy Spirit to lead me through the process.

    • True conversion to the Lord is a long process throughout our lives since our baptism when the Church gave us our faith. All we learned from the Old Testament humanity dealing of God remains imperfect and that long process is being perfected in the coming of the perfect Christ. All these righteous people touched by God in the Old Testament time were all saved under the old law or the Old Covenant, while we, who are living today, under the New Testament shall be saved in the changing law of the New Covenant. A good example of this is the good thief in the cross crucified with Jesus. He uttered “Lord remember when you come to your Kingdom”. Jesus replied in Luke 23:43 ” Today you will be with me in Paradise” Face to face with Jesus he was saved, Lucky hah!!!. But since the new Covenant is not yet established and sealed with the blood of Jesus, since Jesus is still alive, the thief on the cross is saved under the Old Covenant and nor under the New Covenant. Scripture says.
      Hebrews 9:15,16 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new
      testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the
      transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are
      called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a
      testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

  • The enduring experiences of the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt will require me to do a lot of soul-searching for a long time. I found myself whispering, “Poor God.” It was mentioned in the “Reflection”…. “This deliverance is seen as a picture of our baptism. We are led out of slavery to sin and through the waters of baptism to a new life on the other side.” I love this statement as I meditate on the parting of the Red Sea. I am thinking of my many waters of baptism, being led out of slavery to sin, praying I don’t have to say, “Poor God!” for being so good to me so many times, especially after my many sins and my moaning and murmuring cries of impatience when things don’t go my way. A few days ago, I believe it was Day 5, someone mentioned, “Abraham is not good because he loves God, Abraham is good because God loves him.” This will also be part of my meditation for the rest of this Challenge Day 16.

  • The human condition is ever present in the readings for today. What first comes to mind is the continual visual, physical, and real world signs these people have experienced and they continued to doubt, complain, and moan. There is much to learn as we can also forget the things that God has done for us and delivered us from. The same conditions and mistakes this people make are some of the same that we make. There is much to be learned from this people’s behaivor.

    Ch14

    And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt?

    Analysis: Miracle after miracle to free this people of slavery. The people are complaining about going into the past when they have been delivered by God. Do not look to go back to past situations after you were delivered. Especially if sinful/selfish/etc are involved. God has put you in a new situation for a reason. Let’s be honest that past was not very glorious, but we are being foolish.

    Ch15

    And the people murmured against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 And he cried to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

    Ch16

    “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

    Analysis: Again they want to go back to Egypt. What is going on with these people? Again complaints, doubts, and ungratefulness.. Poor Moses trying to provide for this demanding people and they are just not grateful. Lord Jesus help us to be grateful and trust that you will provide for us even in difficult times. Thank you for your vercy.

    Side notes

    Ch14 Speaks of Pharaoh’s pride to pursue and attempt to destroy the Israelites after miracle after miracle. This will be Pharaoh’s demise and I must say he truly was a deaf, dumb, and blind fool.

    The Israelites are filled with fear. It is amazing their lack of faith after the type of miracles they experienced and the devastation that was spared of their people. Wer the doubters luke-warm Jews? Why did they doubt so much? These type of questions can be raised, but this human condition is in each one of us and there is much to learn from their behaivor.

    Pray:

    Heavenly Father, please allow me to see the signs and wonders in my life. Help me to always be mindful that you will provide no matter how difficult and impossible the circumstance must be. Help me to not to be a luke warm Christian, for it is written: “So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” Help me to be set on fire by the Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus.

  • Despite all the signs and wonders worked by God, the story of the Israelites’ journey to Sinai after the Exodus is a story of stubbornness and shortsightedness, of the people’s inability to trust that God was with them, and that the God who delivered them would care for them along their way.
    It seems right from the beginning, they grumbled at Marah that the water was too bitter to drink – and God responded by giving Moses the power to make the water sweet (Exodus 15:22-25).
    A month later, they were grumbling for food in the Desert of Sinai. God feeds them with manna from heaven, giving them their daily bread every day for 40 years (Exodus 16). This is the manna that Jesus said was a symbol of the Eucharist (John 6:30-59).
    With this in mind, I then read the story of the crossing of the Red Sea and the testing of Israel in the wilderness beyond the sea, I see how these scenes point forward to the New Testament. There, and throughout the Church’s tradition, these historical events are described as symbols foretelling the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.
    As the Israelites passed through the waters into freedom and a new identity as God’s chosen people, so too the Christian in baptism is freed from sin and made a child of God. And as the Israelites received manna from heaven (and in ch. 17 water from the rock), the Christian is given the heavenly bread and spiritual drink of the Eucharist.

  • There were a few obstacles that the chosen people complained about after they departed their homes. They seemed to think that being miserable as slaves was better than venturing out into an unknown territory. So, they complained numerous times and God addressed their complaints.
    I have wondered how many times have I veered off the path toward the ultimate goal of spending eternity with God. In order to readjust my spiritual journey, I need to forgo these obstacles that have become roadblocks. Unfortunately, I seem to enjoy these roadblocks and like the chosen people, I think I would rather be miserable and know what the outcome will be day by day rather than venture out into the unknown. I think I need a good dose of grace (which is like the manna for the chosen people) for my soul.

  • What powerful passages. Foretellings of baptism, Eucharist, and of God’s good will. God had to prove himself over and over to the people but he did so and showed his love to them. How often do I need to strip away the layers and just let God be. Sometimes too much thinking is a bad thing.

    What really interested me was:

    Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded. Keep a full omer of it for your future generations, so that they may see the food I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

    A beautiful gesture of the Lord but did he think that he had to prove himself by saving this so future generations would believe as well? Sometimes we only believe what we see. After all, they say “seeing is believing”. This doesn’t work to well for us at times and can truly diminish the power of our God. It is time to believe what we are feeling. I know when I feel the warmth of the Holy Spirit I know Gods presence and it reminds me to walk in his light.

    Mark

  • I read my post of last year. I find that I saw these readings in a completely different light. God led the Israelites our of Egypt by the back road so to speak. This leads them into what appears to be a trap, Immediately they dispair and wish they had never left slavery. God makes this a trap for the Egyptian instead. But now they can never go back to their old life. They still don’t get it. So when they get a little hungry. what do they do? They grumble and long to go back to slavery.
    If only we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our kettles of meat and ate our fill of bread! But you have led us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of famine!”
    They even imagine that life as much better than it was. They remember the meager rations as “kettles of meat and all the bread they could eat. They still are not trusting God. They still do not trust God. This is the greatest and only test God gives us. Trust God.

  • The way God works in my life almost scares me. With a whole world full of people to worry about and listen to, He finds time to answer my prayers consistently. And not just with the religious issues and moral problems but also with the very mundane ones. I just went through a large problem that had to do with a very expensive purchase and I was hung out to dry with it. So I talked to Him about it and asked for His help now. Praise the Lord, He took care of it. No matter how insignificant my some of my problems must be in the eyes of God, He and the saints are always there for me, to help and protect me. Thank you Lord.

  • Often we do no see the hand of God in suffering and want to control the situation or complain when nothing helps. 40 years God was forming them and making them his people in the Wilderness. in spite of all God had done for them, they complained. Aren’t we all like that at times instead of thanking God in all things.

  • As I read today I was struck by the ungratefulness of the Israelites! Additionally they were very afraid because what was ahead of them was unknown. Better the “devil” you know than the one you don’t. For them and for us today we often find ourselves in situations that are uncomfortable because we are afraid. What do we do? We go back to what was comfortable even if it is horrible. Victims of abuse (Israel too) would rather stay with the known than move forward to the unknown which is better. God let them wander for 40 years because he needed to rid the nation of the grumblers and the ingrates. Once that generation was gone he allowed them to go to the promised land. Poor Moses! He never got to see that land but imagine what he DID see. Why do we want to go back to what we know, even if it was painful, rather than taking that big leap of faith and move forward? I find myself doing that often. Then I realize that I am filled with fear that does not come for God. I reject it and take a baby step and move forward. All those years ago and it still applies today. AWE-some! Praise the Lord.

  • I dunno which way I would have gone… to find this out, I would have to go back in time…

    if I had to move – H A D to move – in a hurry, like the Israelites did, I would pack the most important things: birth certificates, shot records, kids’ clothes (esp diapers), any medicines I had on hand, and some blankets… if on foot, there I’d stop…

    if going on back of some animal, I would pack clothes for me (and hubby), and a pot or pan or two…

    if in a car (or wheeled cart, like in “The Ten Commandments) I’d fill up the packs for the animal cart, hubby, any kids, and me with some food stuffs (and can opener, if I packed some cans or a rubber type opener if I had jars) and the Family Bible along with some pictures or digital back-ups for them…

    and… would most likely gripe and complain with the outspoken ones of my group, while secretly hoping for the best… but travelling, by foot or animal or car, day after day after day, it would be laughing or crying at first, get quiet after awhile, and before too many days had gone, the kids would fuss and fight – with each other, with us as parents, with other kids, and – if they were around teenagers’ age – with Moses…

    I would most likely be very argumentative – quiet, but – well, hateful towards others… I would start out polite, but resentment against hubby for taking Moses word for God having said anything would simmer… in spite of my witnessing any number of miracles or signs… they would be last week, or the week before – troubles today are todays and for the foreseeable future, despite my faith…

    I ask God for forgiveness every time I read that, knowing I myself would be seeking His constant re-affirming of His being there… I also beg Him not to have to face that any time… and further, I ask for God’s graces to follow Him, no matter what, where, who, which, or how…

    *sigh*

  • The Israelites complained and became bitter about most of the aspects of their new life. They seemed to have such short memories & dismissed the blessings of freedom and provision. How many blessings have I forgotten or dismissed? Since I starting a gratitude journal, where I try to write down all my blessings, I am so much more aware of the Lord’s active participation and provision in my life. When I go back and read the earlier journal entries from several years ago, I am struck at how I had completely forgotten many blessings! It is a serious reminder that “God is good ALL the time, ALL the time God is good!” Thank you Lord for ALL my blessings, the ones I am aware of and the ones I am too blind to see…..

  • Once the people of god made it safe they state, “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.” They knew who made this safe travel come through and give thanks and praise, and their faith in The Lord continues.

    The water situation is one that is constantly occurring today. God is available ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE for all of us, which is miraculously amazing! Anyhow The Lord puts them at ease by letting them know to place the wood into the water. With that the water wash fresh once again. I can imagine him saying, believe and have faith in me, don’t you see I have just brought you across the Red Sea without harm. Breathe, and believe. Wow, the cleansing of The Lord is with us always.

    I do pray that those furthest from God, on their own human path, that they find The Lord and repent before their final day is to come. How we all need each other as a reminder that our life on earth truly is only for a short period of time and a time to prepare for eternal glory. Amen!

  • Great comments
    also even when we are forgiven, God doesn’t interfere with our free will to choose.
    we can choose to look at and be lead by what we see and believe with our physical eyes of the seemingly overwhelming impossible task set before us, or believe and Trust Gods Word to advance and take the land.
    Most times we see with the physical eyes not the spiritual eyes.

    Why are we still focusing on “after thousands of years”
    grumbling, whining, complaining. Hey me too. Whats the deal?

    I believe Albert Einstein said Insanity is contuning to do the same things and expecting different results.

    So we must change and trust what God has said to us then and now.
    When we do what God says, The lord tells us we will posess the land through his grace By our faith with the evidence of our actions.

  • I am new to this study, and as such, have not made much comment, but I have learned so much from the comments of you all and would like to thank you. I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts as I progress. Mari, I particularly liked your equation that joy is not the absence of suffering but rather joy equals the presence of God. I will remember this when I am going through troubled times, so thank you.

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