Saturday, August 18, 2012

XLI - Chapter 15 - Right Song Wrong Side

Chapter 15  -  Right Song Wrong Side

You need to read vss 1-18.  It reads like a psalm because that's what it is.  Like David's psalms, it is written praise to God, telling Him how much He is praised, appreciated, and/or loved, and then those words are put to music.  David was particularly good at this (and prolific) but there must have been someone among these Israelites who was proficient at this also.  And it was probably Miriam, Moses and Aaron's sister.  We'll learn more about Miriam as our study continues.  After the Israelites sang the song to the Lord, Miriam sang another one (vs 21).  {I believe God enjoys hearing hymns of praise from His people.  Hymns should always be a part of our worship services and we should be careful to sing those hymns loud and clear, with a cheerful heart.  And "I can't sing" isn't a good reason to disregard this as a part of our worship.  God still enjoys hearing it.}  I titled this part of Exodus "Right Song Wrong Side" for a reason.  I heard someone deliver a sermon on this one time
when I was a very young Christian.  I'm not sure who it was, but I've always remember it.  The point is that we, as were the Israelites, are always quick to praise God after He delivers us.  And that's fine.  However, (you'll see this much in the New Testament) God would be especially pleased had we sung a song of praise and thanksgiving when we were on the other side of the Red Sea:  When we are confronted with a crisis; when we are deep in the middle of a frightening situation.  God wants us to have faith and know He is going to keep His word and deliver us.  We should strive to get to that point in our Christian walk.  It's easy to be thankful after the fact.  But it takes a strong and mature level of faith to think and say "Don't worry.  God said He is going to take care of this, and He will".  As we follow this first generation of the nation Israel through the wilderness, we'll see how they can try God's patience, and we can learn from them.

Vss 22-27 - As stated earlier, God did not lead this massive group of people on the shortest route to the promise land.  They turned south after Succoth and crossed the Red Sea on the northern section of the Gulf of Suez.  Then they continued south toward Mt. Sinai, which is almost on the southern tip of the Sinai Pensula.  They didn't realize it yet, but they had a long way to go.  {When we think of
"wilderness", we might think of a jungle or deep forrest type of landscape, but this wilderness was desert.}  For three days they traveled and found no water.  2 million people and a million head of livestock and no water for three days.  Think about it.  In vs 23 it says they came to Marah, a place close to the midwest edge of the Sinai Penisula, but could not drink the water there because it was bitter (the word Marah means "bitter".)  So the people grumbled against Moses and demanded to know where and when they were going to get water.  So (vs 25) Moses prayed, crying out to God for help. God told him to throw a certain piece of wood into the water and it made the water fresh and fit to drink.  {It's important to note that all the Israelite people witnessed this.  I think it is good if we can somehow place ourselves in the minds of these people and in the mind of Moses, so as to be able
to get as clear an understanding as possible.}

In vs 26 God issues a solumn warning:  He says "If you listen carefully, and pay attention, and keep all His decrees", then He shall not allow any of these plagues to harm you, but rather I will
heal you and protect you".  {Every time I read this I see it as God reminding them of something He should not have to remind them of, but knows this is not the first or last time they will require such a reminder.}  They continued their journey southward and, as a contrast for these people, they came upon what was bound to seem like a paradise or an oasis.  They were at Elim, which had twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.  {Not to be redundant, but keep in mind the vastness of this multitude of people and livestock.  Twelve springs is certainly not an overabundance.  God usually provide just enough, as we'll see in the next post.}

Next post:  Chapter 16  -  Manna and Quail

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