The first part of the recording is my unique writing and narration.
…And we continue from the genesis, where began the life and legacy of God’s people. We move to the sons of Israel who travel to Egypt after being invited by the Pharaoh. There, Joseph has died along with his brothers and all of that generation. Despite this, the Israelites are growing in numbers. They are fruitful and eventually, they fill the entire land.
But then a new Pharaoh arises.
One who does not know Joseph and his lineage. This new Pharaoh fears the Israelites from the very beginning. He says, “the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.” He is afraid they will become a coursing river that swells and overtakes its banks. He is frightened for his empire that they will flood the land.
So, he decides to make them into slave laborers so, he can have power over them and oppress them. He is ruthless because he fears their foreign ways and worries they will join his enemies and fight against Egypt.
Families are then torn in two, separated and forced to live in cities the Pharaoh builds. This continues the massive oppression as Pharaoh seeks to regain the power he sees the Israelites gaining.
But the more the people are oppressed, the more they multiply and spread.
This angers the Pharaoh. So again he is ruthless. He makes their lives bitter. He breaks their backs with work in the city and in the fields. But he does not stop there.
He tells the Hebrew midwives to murder all the male children once the Israelite women give birth. He hopes to destroy their heritage. Because the midwives fear God, they disobey the King of Egypt’s commands.
The Pharaoh asks why they let the children live. The midwives are cunning and say, “Hebrew women were not like Egyptian women, they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives come to them.”
Now the Pharaoh is furious. Despite his tireless efforts, the people of Israel keep growing. But again, he does not stop there.
“Every son that is born to the Hebrews shall be thrown into the Nile,” Pharaoh decrees. He is inviting the people to join his sin. He is inviting them into the subjugation of an entire people group. He is inviting them to participate in genocide. In this, sin has moved from a personal level into an entire culture. The Pharaoh, with the help of the Egyptian people, will stop at nothing to thwart this ever expanding nation. He intends to rain ruin down upon them.
Made into slaves, ground into the fields they worked, separated from their families, their sons killed. All of this at the hands of a King who did not know their people’s history and saw them as nothing more than foreigners occupying his land. The people of Israel have nothing left to do, so they cry out to God hoping He hears them.
The people of Israel are enslaved. They work the fields until they are weary. They have been separated from their families and their sons have been killed.
In the midst of this, a child is born. One who was sent up the river Nile and floated into belly of the Egyptian empire. He has been called “Moses,” one who was drawn from the water.
Moses was raised in Egypt as prince. He spent 40 years in the Egyptian courts and also developed as a great military leader. He became well-versed in their culture and all of their wisdoms.
After leaving Egypt for fear of his life and fleeing to the land of Midian, Moses is shepherding a flock of sheep when an angel of the Lord appears to him. Bursting forth in flames from within a bush, God speaks to Moses, who is drawn in by this mysterious sight – a bush burning though not consumed.
Moses covers his face with his hands, because he is terrified to look at God. But the Lord speaks to the cowering Moses and says that he has seen the plight of his people and has heard them crying out and groaning about their ruthless oppression.
God says, “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Moses asks God, “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh? Who am I that I shall lead the people out of Egypt?” God simply responds by saying, “I will be with you.”
Moses, still worried and overcome by the thought of the task before him asks, “Who should I say sent me?”
God replies, “Tell my people that ‘I am’ sent you. Tell them the the God of your fathers – The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, The God of Jacob – has sent me to you.” God instructs Moses to tell the people that He has seen what is being done to them in Egypt. He wants the Israelites to know that He still watches over them in the midst of their bitter struggle.
Moses is still fearful of what he has to do. He asks God, “What if they don’t believe me?”
God then gives Moses the power to perform three signs of death. A clear message to the Egyptians.
Moses is still shaken and pleads with God to send someone else. “Please, Lord send anyone but me.” He does not feel he is right for this task. He is scared, unconfident and full of doubt. “How could I possibly rescue these people?” Moses wonders.
God persists in his instructions for Moses. The Lord tells Moses, “When you go to Egypt, say to Pharaoh that Israel is my first born son. Let my son go so he may worship me. But you refused to let him go so I will kill your firstborn son.”
Moses is sent as a deliverer. He is sent to rescue the people of God from their oppression in Egypt.
When God wants to save us from something, he sends someone to deliver us and we should be on the lookout for who he sends.
God sends Moses to deliver the Israelites and rescue them from Egypt.
“I will free you from slavery, and redeem you with a mighty judgement. I will reach out my arms to hold you. For you are my people and I am your God.”
Moses tells the Israelites all God has said, but they do not listen. The only sound they can hear is the whip cracking over their heads, pushing them deeper into slavery.
Moses again is worried and doubts himself. “How will Pharaoh listen when my own people will not? I am not gifted with speech. My lips always falter.”
“I have made you like God to Pharaoh,” the Lord says, “Tell him to let my people go so they may worship me.”
To get pharaoh’s attention, God asks Moses and Aaron to perform signs. In the first, Aaron throws his staff on the ground and it slithers as a serpent.
Unimpressed, Pharaoh gathers his sorcerers and wise men who perform magic that mirrors Aaron’s sign. But while Pharaoh grins menacingly, Aaron’s serpent devours all the others.
God says again, “Tell Pharaoh to let my people go.”
Moses performs a second sign. While Pharaoh and his officials wade into the Nile, Moses raises his staff and strikes the water. Before their eyes, the water turns to blood and all the fish rise to the surface, dead and on their sides. Unable to drink the water, the officials leave, but the smell is so putrid
that it follows them back to the palace. Blood is everywhere in Egypt.
The sorcerers with their secret and dark arts, perform the same sign.
This hardens Pharaoh’s heart so he will not listen to Moses.
Seven days pass after the Lord strikes the Nile.
Again he says, “Tell Pharaoh, let my people go, so they may worship me.”
“If he refuses, then I will send a plague of frogs.
They will come into your land. They will infest your palace.
They will come into your home and into your bed.”
So Aaron did as God commanded and stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frogs came up and the whole land teemed with them.
Pharaoh pleaded with Moses. “If you pray to your God to wipe out all the frogs from this land then I will let your people go.”
God heard Moses’ prayer and the frogs died. They were stacked into piles.
The air reeked and was thick with their smell.
As soon as the mess cleared, Pharaoh’s heart hardened again and would not listen to Moses or Aaron. So the Lord sent a plague of gnats.
Again the Lord said, “Let my people go so they may worship me.”
He then sent a plague of flies. And Pharaoh still did not listen.
So He sent a plague on the Egyptian livestock.
Then a plague of boils that covered the people’s faces.
Then a plague of hail.
Then a plague of locusts that ate what had not been destroyed by the hail. Then a plague of darkness that lasted 3 days.
After all this, God has one final plague in store for the Egyptians.
“Every first born son in Egypt will die. Everyone from Pharaoh’s son who sits on the throne to the son of a female slave will perish.”
Moses explained that the cries of the Egyptians will rise up and echo into the neighboring lands. It will be the loudest wailing ever in the nation’s history; a truly deafening sound.
God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites to slaughter a lamb that is without blemish and use the blood to paint their door frames.
“I will pass through Egypt and kill the firstborn sons, but when I see the blood on your doors, I will pass over you and no destructive plague will hit your household.”
A symbol of hope. An opening into safety. A door stained with the perfect blood of a lamb without blemish. This is our entryway out of slavery.
God has brought many plagues against Pharaoh and Egypt but has kept the Israelites safe. He spared them and brought them close together with a Passover feast. With the blood of a spotless lamb painted on their doorframe, the angel of death brought no destructive plague against them. But all the egyptian households were struck with death.
Pharaoh consumed with grief and anger, told Moses and Aaron to go. “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites. Go and worship your God!”
Over six hundred thousand left the land on foot. When they were released from Pharaoh’s grip, God did not lead them through the land of the Philistines. God said, “If they see war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
He led them instead toward the Red Sea by a wilderness route, untamed by man.
During the day, the Lord went before them in a cloud to lead them and to keep them cool and by night, he traveled in a pillar of burning fire to light their way through the darkness and also to keep them warm. In this way, God never left the people.
Pharaoh and the people of Egypt realized they no longer had slaves to do their work for them, so Pharaoh gathered troops and chariots and horsemen by the hundreds to chase down the Israelites.
When Pharaoh had nearly closed the gap, the people of Israel saw the Egyptians marching against them in their battle armour and were full of fear. They cried out to God. “Is it because there are no more graves in Egypt that you have brought us to the wilderness to die? All we wanted was to serve the Egyptians and for you to leave us alone. It would be better to remain in slavery than die here in the barren wilderness!”
Moses then spoke loudly against the Israelites cries. “Do not fear. Stand firm and see the saving and protecting power of the Lord. He will fight for you today! You will never see the Egyptians again after this day. All you need to do is be still.”
When they made it to the sea, God instructed Moses to reach out his hands over the water. Moses did as he was told and the water was divided with dry ground in the middle. The people walked safely with a wall of water on their right and left. When the Egyptians gave chase, the walls of water crashed down over them. The chariots were destroyed. The horsemen were thrown from their horses and all of them drowned, every single one. The Israelites, on the other hand, kept walking on the dry land.
At the start of this story, the enemy was frantic. Rallying troops. Preparing for war. Sprinting to catch the people of Israel and God with a single wave of his hand, brought Pharaoh’s empire to their knees. The drowning of their babies in the nile comes full circle.
The people left the Red Sea by Moses command and went into a new wilderness. They found no water for three days. They came to a new land, still in search for something to drink, but found the water there was too bitter to drink. The people again grumbled and cried out saying, “What shall we drink?”
Moses cried to the Lord and God showed him a log. When Moses threw it into the water, it became sweet. Then they came to a land called Elim, where flowed twelve springs of water that was surrounded by palm trees. The people made camp there and drank their fill and basqued by the water.
They then set out from this amazing land and headed to another wilderness. The people grumbled and moaned again. “It would have been better if we died in Egypt! There we had plenty to eat and all the food we needed. But here in the desert we will surely die of hunger!”
In the evening, flocks of quail came and filled the camp, and when morning came, dew lay on the ground. When the dew was gone, something like thin flakes of frost covered the ground. “What is this?” the people asked one and other. Moses said, “This is the food the Lord is giving us to eat and satisfy us. Each of you should gather what you need. A basket of manna for everyone in your family.”
The people of Israel constantly complained and wished to return to the hands of their oppressors. They did not trust God and doubted Him at every turn, but he continued to lead them to the land that he promised their ancestors. A land that is good. A land flowing with milk and honey.
The people of Israel are wandering through the wilderness. They doubt God at every turn and complain constantly. They do not understand why they are out there or what they are doing. Why free them from Egypt to live in a wasteland? One night, while they are camping in the wild, the Lord speaks to Moses, “Tell my people to remember what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried them on the wings of eagles so they could be close to me. Tell them, if they are obedient and keep my covenant, they will be my treasured possessions among all the world’s people. Tell them that all the earth is mine and they will become a kingdom of priests; a holy nation! Tell them that they are special to me and that is why I brought them close.”
Moses then gathered all the people together and they responded in unison after what they heard, “All the Lord has said, we will do!”
The Lord spoke, “Get ready. Wash your clothes so that on the third day you’ll be fully prepared. For on the third day, I will come down to Mount Sinai and make my presence known to you. Set up a boundary around the mountain. Tell anyone who gets close ‘Beware! Do not climb the mountain. Do not even touch it! For if you touch it, you will die.”
The Lord said, “A long blast from the horn will signal it is safe to climb the mountain.”
Moses told the people to be ready for the third day. When it came, lightning struck all around and thunder roared; echoing through the wilderness. Then a trumpet blast sounded and the people shook and huddled close together; trembling with fear.
Moses brought the people out of their camp to meet God and they all surrounded the mountain. When they looked up, the mountain was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed and poured from the top like a furnace and everyone felt the heat. Just as the people trembled, so did the mountain shake and shudder. At first, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, now an entire mountain was ablaze. The trumpet sound swelled; growing louder and louder, reaching deafening decibels. Then God called Moses up the mountain.
Moses went up to meet God and the Lord spoke to him:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not lust after your neighbor’s house or his wife, or servant or maid or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
18 Now when the people heard the thunder and saw the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, they were afraid, and they pulled back and stood at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so you will not sin.” 21 The people kept their distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
The Lord gave the law to the people to help them and protect them from their sin – to teach them what it looked like to be humans again. It was a gift to free them from their slavery and bring them close as sons. A gift of freedom, redemption and rescue!
The people of Israel have been freed from the heavy yoke of slavery that was forced upon them by the Egyptians. This was truly a miracle, but they were quick to forget God while they wandered through the wilderness for months. They constantly complained during that time saying, “God has abandoned us!” However, God never left their side and made them his treasured possessions. He brought them through the desolate wasteland to Mount Sinai.
There, He gave the people a gift of the law to keep them from falling into sin. He came down from Heaven and set the mountain ablaze. He condescended to the earth to bring his people close and teach them to be human again. The gift was one of freedom, redemption and rescue.
Now Moses was still up on the mountain with God and the people grew restless. They felt it was taking forever for Moses to come back down. They went to Aaron in search of leadership. “Make us a new God to lead us because Moses is surely lost forever!” They cried.
So Aaron told the people to gather all of their gold. Then he melted it and shaped it into the form of a calf. He built an altar before the calf and the next morning, the people of Israel brought burnt offerings and began to celebrate with wild partying.
So quickly, the people fell into disarray. So quickly, they forgot about God who had led them out of Egypt, out from under Pharaoh’s grip and out of slavery. They no longer listened to what God commanded and instead started worshiping a false idol.
They did this because they wanted to give credit to an idol for their rescue. Credit that God deserved. They had been saved from their slavery, but now they desired to be rescued from the wilderness. They had become weary from months of traveling.
God sees this and becomes furious. He says to Moses, “Go! Get down there as soon as you can. The people you helped lead out of Egypt have completely fallen to pieces. In no time, they have turned their back on me and all that I commanded. They have made a calf out of molten gold and worshiped it. They even have the audacity to sacrifice whole burnt offerings to it and make false claims that the calf brought them out of Egypt!”
The Lord was bursting with anger against the people of Israel because they had violated His first commandment. Even in this anger, God says he will make a great nation out of the weary and stubborn travelers.
This shows God’s commitment to His people; even while they run wild and chase after man-made gods, the Lord still has plans to build them up and make them great.
We all look for rescue somewhere. Do we settle for things that give us instant gratification and then fade? Do we cling to things that can give us nothing in return? Be weary of where you are finding your rescue.
The people have fallen to pieces. They have forgotten the God who rescued them from Egypt and turned instead to a false idol made of gold. They knelt down before a molten calf and bowed their heads in worship to it and made sacrifices to their new god. They looked for leadership and rescue in the wrong places.
God became furious with them and sent Moses down to see what was happening. Even in his anger, the Lord said, I will make a great nation out of you. This shows His commitment to the Israelites. It shows that God will always be for his people.
Moses came down from the mountaintop and saw the people partying before the idol. He too, was furious. He melted down the golden calf and pulverized it into a powder. He said, “Oh you wayward, stubborn nation! You have sinned greatly. I will go up on the mountain to see if God can clear you of your sin.
When Moses got to the top again, God said, “Go! Go to the land I promised to you ancestors. I will send an angel before you to guide your way.”
Outside of camp, Moses set up the tent of meeting. He said, “Anyone who wants to be near God should go there.” When Moses entered the tent, a pillar of clouds descended and God would speak to Moses as a friend.
All the people who were there, saw this pillar of clouds and immediately started worshipping by throwing themselves on the ground. God spoke to Moses face to face. It was like two neighbors conversing intimately.
Moses questioned God. “If I am special to you, then let me in on your plans so I can know what’s going on and what’s ahead.”
The Lord responded by saying, “I will be with you. I’ll see this journey through to the end.”
Moses protested more and God listened and said, “I will make my goodness pass before you, but you will not see my face,” He explained, “No one can see me and live.”
The presence of God is with his people. In the tent of meeting, God came close even though his people were full of sin.
The people of Israel committed a great sin. They put something false before the true Ruler of the Universe; their rescuer and their rock. Even in this state of sin, God comes close to the people and speaks to Moses as a dear friend. He makes a dwelling place in the tent of meeting.
Time passes and a tabernacle is built. God makes a dwelling place there and is with the people. The portable meeting place is magnificent; polished with gold and adorned with silver. Jewels and furs and other expensive items line the tabernacle. It is a sight to behold.
Today there is no tabernacle, though the presence of God is still with his people.
Instead, we are the tabernacle. We are the temple. We are his holy place. God’s presence comes close by the power of Christ the redeemer.
When Adam and Eve lived together in the garden that God created, they walked in his wonder; in the midst of his majesty, in his very presence.
One day we will see his fulness again. We will be with him forever. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Where his name rings out, there is power.
We are set free from our sin. We are set free from our idols. Though we once were enslaved, now we can throw off our chains of bondage.
“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get away with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you remember, are that temple.”