Week Twenty Nine: The Monday Review
The biblical, historical book of Exodus documents the movement and flight of the Israelites on a journey from Egypt and into the wilderness toward Mount Sinai under the leadership of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron and his sons. The second half of the book reiterates the Covenant that was established between God and Israel at Mount Sinai, promulgating laws for the ordering of Irsael's life as worship before the Lord. Because Exodus carries on the divine promise that was given to Abraham in Genesis, the account must be viewed as part of the Torah, a literary unit which includes the first five books of the Bible.
Exodus begins with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob having been enslaved in Egypt for over four hundred years. Although the chosen people had been welcomed into the nation as honoured guests of technical-coloured coat Joseph, their status had changed. Their growing numbers and wealth had caused the Egyptians to fear them; they clenched their fists and threw the nation into bondage.
The overarching theme of Exodus is redemption. It is a beautiful, real-lived metaphor for a new Testament covenant. Here, God becomes their dwelling place and preserves the lives of those who choose to hope in him with the blood of a sacrifical lamb. God rescues his chosen people, calls them a treasured possession, and guides them out into the wilderness toward a land flowing with milk and honey. His jealous heart wants to establish an intimate, tangible relationship with them, made known in the later portion of Exodus where God gives the people instructions on how to build an ark where his covenant presence can dwell among them.
'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
---- Exodus 19: 4 - 6.
Reading Exodus revealed more to me about God's relationship with Moses; how God chose to speak through Moses, despite the shepherd's fear and speech impediment. God listened when Moses cried out on behalf of the Israelites' sin. During the wilderness years, God nurtured the heart of the young man, an Egyptian Prince, who recognised the suffering of his lineage, broke down in anguish and avenged an Israelite man. Over time, God taught Moses how to become a leader––humble and diligent, dedicated to the wellbeing of his flock. God showed great compassion on the people of God by calling Moses to shepherd them, as he had done the sheep in Midian.
In Exodus, God wrote a Law to remind the Israelites of his lasting covenant with their ancestors. As we reflect on the book of Exodus, may our prayers be directed to the devastating number of refugees who are currently fleeing from their own oppressive regimes. May we cry out to God for the protection and welfare of the one million Ukrainian and Russian refugees who have fled their beloved cities within this week, the over 369 Nigerians living in host communities due to more than a decade of civil conflict, the over 492,000 Eritrean refugees devastated by social, political instability and violence. Men, woman and children in Hong Kong, Korea, Syria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Rohingya–––the list continues. Pray that they would know and inherit his covenant of protection, compassion, favour and grace.