At our meetings in November and December, we continued our time with Exodus. I’m hesitant to say we concluded anything, because the journey does, in fact, continue for us. At no point do I feel we leave one chapter–or even one passage–as “done.” The story and our journey continues. The Spirit continues to communicate to us and with us as we engage with the Word.
Relating to the Word as part of our personal story or narrative, being able to express its significance in our lives, gives us a point of connection with all who believe and have walked the life of faith. Looking at the Bible as a whole and at the individual stories grants us different views and perspectives with which to engage in relationship with God.
During our time, we reviewed the four overarching sections of Exodus:
- Chapters 1-6: Hebrew enslavement (and Egyptian fear); Moses’ birth, time at court, flight, time in Midian, and his call
- Chapters 7-15: the plagues; the Passover; crossing through the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds) toward freedom
- Chapters 16-18: journey through the wilderness to Mt. Sinai
- Chapters 19-40: the stay at Sinai; covenant established with cultic and ethical commandments; golden calf; renewed covenant
At any one of the points in the story, we can relate to the people as a whole or to the individual characters, considering where they were coming from, why they made the choices they did, and where they were in relation to God. We learn from one another and from history, but it doesn’t exempt us from making the same mistakes! Everything seems bound up in our relationship with God–are we in, or are we out? We get to choose.
Some comments, topics, and questions that arose:
- Self-sufficiency inhibits our relationship with God.
- We are oppressed in many ways, not all of which are obvious.
- God isn’t a God of intervention; we have free will.
- Moses, a man of God, had strengths and weaknesses, and he was called by God. What characteristics made him who he was? What strengths do I have? What weaknesses do I have? What call do I have?
- Not everyone can be in the direct presence of God. Encountering God is transformational.
- The high priests had a lot to wear!
A note from the Jewish Study Bible says,
… at this point, Exodus ends, allowing the reader to contemplate the phenomenon of God dwelling on earth with a symbol of His Presence in full view of the Israelites.
My Old Testament professor from seminary likened the cloud of the LORD to a GPS for the Israelites; it was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, leading them on their way (Ex. 40:38). What is our GPS for the presence of God, the guidance of Spirit, the light of Christ? It might be different for each of us, but one thing is true for us all: we have to be looking for it before we will find it.