A Message For Egypt

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 14[2]

The Hebrews had barely left Egypt when God told them to go back and camp by the Red Sea. They are finally on their way to worship him, and he sent them back to set up camp in a dangerous place. Hemmed in by the Red Sea, should they be attacked there was no way of escape. It appeared God did not know what he was doing.

To the contrary, God knew exactly what he was doing. The Egyptians who suffered under Pharaoh’s arrogant reign are not a lost cause. Before God departed with his people, he did the Egyptians a favor. His people were ordered to go back because he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth. God ordered his people to go back because he wanted “the Egyptians” to know that he is LORD.[3] Part of the salvation process is to know who is LORD.[4]

Pharaoh and the lackeys that kept him in power are a lost cause and the reason Egypt suffered. Pharaoh had already given the Hebrews permission to leave with all of their possessions. When he received word that they were following a pillar of fire out of Egypt reality shook Pharaoh and his lackeys. They had a good deal. The Hebrew’s were doing the dirty work building Pharaoh’s treasure cities. Without them the Egyptians would have to do the dirty work. If the Egyptians had to haul mud they might rebel and Pharaoh and his lackeys might be overthrown.

The Hebrews were distressed when they saw Pharaoh approaching and complained too soon. God had everything under control. The Pillar of Cloud moved to the rear of the Hebrews to face his enemy halting the advance of Pharaoh and his army. The Cloud covered the Egyptians in darkness and gave light to the Hebrews keeping them apart while God made a way of escape.

An east wind blew all night driving back the waters and drying the land. God’s things have a way of blessing his friends and destroying his enemies. The Hebrews way of escape became a tomb for the Egyptians when God jammed the wheels of their chariots. The Hebrews heard the Egyptians say, “The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” At God’s command Moses stretched his hand over the sea and the wall of water collapsed. Not one Egyptian survived.

The Hebrews’ were free of these arrogant rulers and so were the Egyptians, because the God of Abraham is Lord. There is no one like him. There is no one like him in all of Egypt, no one like him in all the earth.

“For I know that the Lord is great,

And our Lord is above all gods.

Whatever the Lord pleases He does,

In heaven and in earth,

In the seas and in all deep places.

Psalm 135:5-6[5]

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[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 14:4

[4] Romans 10:9

[5] New King James Version

Dressed for Battle

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 13:17 [2]

The comments about the Hebrew’s departure from Egypt in Chapter 13 reveal interesting information. We learn that God led them in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day enabling them to travel day or night.[3] Some translations suggest the pillar of cloud/fire was given when they reached Etham, but I don’t find that consistent with God’s character.

The Hebrews departed in the middle of the night. Therefore it is much more likely that they followed the pillar of fire out of Egypt. Otherwise there would have been mass confusion about where to go. This is a different time. They did not possess cell phones and flashlights. The image in my mind of a million people following a pillar of fire is dramatic.

We also learn the men were dressed for battle yet God led them the long way instead of taking the shorter route through the Philistine country. God had a reason for choosing the longer route. “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”[4]

Moses oversaw a large congregation of immature believers. God’s dealings with Pharaoh created hardship for his people and almost from the beginning they wanted Moses to leave. Some considered it better to be slaves in Egypt than suffer discomfort. If they were happy with the status quo in Egypt even though they were miserable what would they do if they had to fight a war?

They marched out of Egypt wearing battle gear following the fire and, no doubt, grumbling about God taking them the long way around. We might be clad in the armor of God but that does not mean we are ready to fight a war.

We need to trust God’s wisdom. He acted in their best interest. They had to take the long way because their immaturity would have cost them the fulfillment of the promises God made to them.

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[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 13:21-22

[4] Exodus 13:17

Someone’s Going to Pay

 followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 13:1[2]

While the Hebrew’s were camped at Succoth enjoying their first day of freedom God had a lot to say to Moses. First, he made a way to include those who willingly followed the Hebrews into the wilderness to worship him. He then informed Moses the Hebrews would have to pay the same price the Egyptians paid for the Hebrews freedom – the sacrifice of every firstborn male both human and animal.

Why?

When God decreed the death of the firstborn males the Hebrew’s were not exempt, but he did make a way of escape. The firstborn males who followed his instructions to remain in the house with blood on the door were spared. Any Egyptian who overcame his prejudice and spent the night in the home of a Hebrew was also spared. Why did he spare them only to inform them on the first day of freedom they are still marked for death?

How is God different from Pharaoh? Pharaoh also used death to obtain his goals. He ordered the midwives to kill male babies. When they refused to cooperate he ordered his people to cast the Hebrew’s male babies into the Nile.

God is very different from the Pharaoh’s who rule this world in his purposes and methods. God came to Egypt to keep a promise not enslave a people he feared would topple him from power. God limited death to firstborn males and made a way of escape when his judgment was executed. Pharaoh offered no way of escape when he ordered the abortion of all male babies.

God is very different from the Pharaoh’s who rule this world. He never exempted himself from the price others paid. Before he went to Egypt God knew the cost. He would bear the heavy burden of law with the death of his son. Until the time came for him to pay the debt his actions created, he placed the lighter burden of redemption upon his people.

He even delayed payment until he kept his promise to give them the land he promised their ancestors. After the Hebrews settled in the Promised Land they must give the Lord the firstborn males. The animals were sacrificed, the sons redeemed until God sent his son to fulfill the just requirements of law.

Freedom is not free. There is a way of escape from the laws righteous judgments but there is no way of escape from the debt created by ones actions. Someone will pay. Sometimes the guilty pay. Sometimes the innocent pay. The blessed have an innocent God who will pay for the guilty to be free.

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[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

One Law

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:38-39, 12:43-51[2]

The Hebrews ate the Passover lamb, packed unleavened bread and then waited for the order to leave. In the middle of the night Pharaoh received word that Egyptians’ were dropping dead. He ordered the Hebrews immediate departure.

The soldiers or army of the Hebrews were numbered at 600,000. That number did not include their families that departed with them. Therefore the number of people that walked out of Egypt to worship God easily numbered over a million Hebrews. In addition to that number a mixed multitude left with them. The Hebrew words for “mixed multitude” indicate they were also a large group.

They traveled as far as Succoth and stopped. In accordance with God’s instructions they must have a holy convocation and Sabbath on the first and seventh day. They were in the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread and have a problem. All uncircumcised persons were forbidden from participating. Anyone who ate leavened bread during these seven days would be cut off from the community whether they were Hebrews or strangers.

What about the mixt multitude who forsook their homeland to worship the Hebrew’s God. Should they tell them to go back to Egypt where they would be considered traitors? Should they exclude them from the festival when they wanted to worship God too?

God had a solution. Make them “one of us” but not on their terms. If they want to worship the Hebrew’s God they must meet the same requirements God gave the Hebrews. If the mixt multitude is willing to be circumcised they “shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.”[3]

Man will find a way to exclude you. Love finds a way to include you.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 12:48-49

A Way Out

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Numbers 33:1-4 [2]

There was no shortage of religion in the story of the Hebrews deliverance from oppression. Both the Hebrews and the Egyptians were very religious. The problem with religious practices is the delusion it creates that the worshiper actually loves the God he or she worships. Pharaoh used religion to control his people. His denial of religious freedom brought death and sorrow to the home of every family he ruled. The Egyptians embrace of leaders who did not love them and used the concept of god to control them cased this tragedy.

While the Egyptians buried their dead, the Hebrews walked out of Egypt with great joy to worship the only God who loved both the Hebrews and Egyptians. The Hebrews’ were no better than the Egyptians. All of them worshipped a false image of God. The Hebrews’ were delivered because their ancestor Abraham loved God.

At this point in the chronological narrative a passage from Numbers 33 is injected. “And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord…”[3] God had a greater purpose than the recordation of the Hebrews history when he commanded Moses to keep a diary of their experiences. Their journey to worship God unfolded a part of God’s nature that is necessary to understand the depth of his mercy.

The Apostle Paul sent a letter to the Corinthian church explaining that the things Moses wrote were examples of God’s dealings with his people and a warning to fear the consequences of bad behavior. Idolatry, sexual immorality, testing God’s love and grumbling will not be tolerated. Religious practice does not exonerate one from the consequences of doing these things. Paul tempered the warning with a promise. When our fallen human nature tempts us to do wrong, God is faithful to limit the temptation to that which we can bear and will provide a way out.[4]

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Numbers 33:2 KJV

[4] 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

A Misconception

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:40-42[2]

The writer of Exodus paused the story of the Hebrews deliverance with a side note that birthed a misconception. A surface reading leads one to believe God abandoned his people to Egypt’s tyranny for 430 years. The NIV Bible ingrains that thought as does the MSG, NASB and AMP. All of them state the Hebrews’ lived in Egypt 430 years. A side note in the NIV states other text say the Hebrews lived in “Egypt and Canaan” 430 years.

According to the Chronological Bible the accurate translation is Egypt and Canaan. Abraham entered Canaan on April 15, 1892. His descendants through Isaac departed Egypt 430 years later on April 15, 1462. Jacob relocated his family to Egypt in 1677, which means they lived in Egypt for 215 years, not 430 years.

Joseph’s wisdom had made Pharaoh wealthy beyond imagination. Jacob and his family came to Egypt highly favored and given the best of Egypt. The oppression of the Hebrews began 91 years later in 1580 when a new King of Egypt came to power who did not know Joseph.

The new King of Egypt knew the Hebrews had grown stronger than Egypt and feared them. His oppression of the Hebrews grew increasingly severe, yet the Hebrews continued to grow stronger. After wrestling with the Hebrew problem for 23 years, he commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill the male babies. The midwives feared God and ignored the murderous command. Eleven years later, in 1546, the king realized his plan failed and order the Egyptians to cast every newborn Hebrew son into the river.

On March 6, 1543, three years after the Egyptians began murdering the Hebrew’s male babies; Moses was born and raised in Pharaoh’s house. When Moses was 40 he tried to help his people and they rejected him. If they had accepted Moses their oppression would have ended 40 years after it began. Instead, their misery was extended 40 years while the generation that rejected Moses died.

If you read this far, you may be wondering why I find this important. Understanding what really happened in Egypt gives us a true image of God to worship. At no time did God condemn his people to 400 years of the kind of slavery practiced in America. Oppression came upon his people because the Hebrews had abandoned the God of their fathers and given their hearts to Egypt’s king. The events after God delivered them prove it. They cried to return to Egypt and a live under the rule of a sadistic government until God let that generation die in the wilderness. Their slavery lasted 80 years, and would have been a mere 40 if they had accepted the man God choose to deliver them.

430 Year Timeline of the Hebrews Sojourning

1892 Abram entered Canaan

1882 God tells Abram his family will be strangers in a “land not theirs” for 400 years

1677 Jacob relocated his family to Egypt

1580 Pharaoh commands midwives to kill male babies

1546 Pharaoh commands his people to kill male babies

1543 Moses born to deliver the Hebrews

1503 Moses rejected by the Hebrews

1463 God appears to Moses in burning bush

1462 Hebrews depart Egypt with great wealth

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[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

Saving Egypt

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:35-36[2]

God instructed the Hebrews to do three things on the day of their deliverance. Slaughter a lamb for dinner and put its blood on the door frame to protect their firstborn. Remove all leaven from their homes. Ask the Egyptians for silver, gold and clothing. God gave his people favor so the Egyptians would part with their wealth and then the Bible says this is how they “plundered” the Egyptians.

I have a huge problem with the word “plunder”. According to Webster’s dictionary, plunder means to take especially by force as in war, to steal, commit robbery or looting. Do the translators really believe the God who said, “do not steal” commanded his people to steal. The Hebrew word translated plunder is a primitive root meaning to snatch away, defend, deliver, or preserve.

The last thing the Hebrews did before they left to serve their God was snatch away the Egyptians from total destruction. When God gave the Egyptians a willing heart to give the Hebrews gold, silver and clothing he stopped the cruse Pharaoh brought upon his nation through his willful disobedience.

The basis from my reasoning is founded in more than the translation of words. God’s law explains why he wanted the Egyptians to give the Hebrews their wealth. God’s law says when you release a Hebrew man or woman from service “do not send them away empty-handed.”[3] If you give to them liberally when you send them away “the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”[4]

God was concerned about his people, but he was also concerned about the Egyptians. Their nation lay in ruins, so he made a way to bless everything they did. In so doing he preserved the nation of Egypt.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Deuteronomy 15:13

[4] Deuteronomy 15:18