Hello Friends! Community is something that is very important to me to foster. I try to have a guest post on the blog at least once a month so that we can hear from some other amazing ladies. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend Bella who is writing on God’s faithfulness through the story of Exodus.
When it comes to God, the world around us has so many ideas. Each faith and philosophy has their own idea of who they want God to be. It can all get very confusing. Especially when we want to teach our children about God and raise them to know Him. If we want to know who God really is, the best place to turn is His Word. In the Bible we find countless examples of God’s character, of his acts of power, faithfulness and deliverance. By looking back, we clearly see who God is and who we are in relationship to him.
For the Israelites, the Exodus was the defining event of God’s deliverance. It showed them that God was mighty to save and faithful to his covenant love. Let’s have a look again at this incredible part of the Old Testament.
We start with God’s people, slaves in Egypt. God heard their cries of deliverance and, through Moses, promised to free them from slavery and lead them to their own land. God showed his power by sending plagues on the Egyptians. With the final plague – the death of every firstborn male – God showed a distinction between the Egyptians and his people. The Israelites were commanded to paint the blood of a lamb on their doorframe, and when God saw that sign he would pass over their home and not bring the judgment of the Egyptians. This is where the Passover comes from. This distinction became firmly established in Israelite society as a benchmark of God’s character. Yet, the story wasn’t finished.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt, by way of the Red Sea. The Egyptian armies pursued them and it seemed like there was no escape. But then God demonstrated one of his greatest acts of deliverance, something that showed the Israelites that their God was powerful over all other rulers, even over nature itself. He parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to walk safely through to freedom.
Deliverance from slavery in Egypt defined the Israelites as a people, loved by God and set apart as his treasured possession. In fact, God commanded them to always remember this event. To celebrate it every year and teach it to their children.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD – a lasting ordinance…And when your children ask you ‘what does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” (Exodus 12:14,26-27)
To know God’s character and to know who they were in relationship to God, the Israelites looked back to the Exodus. When they taught their children about God, they pointed them back to the Passover and the Red Sea. In the Psalms, we see many allusions to Exodus -remembering this part of their history led to praise and thanksgiving.
“…to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt…and brought out Israel from among them…with a mighty hand and outstretched arm…to him who divided the Red Sea asunder…and brought Israel through the midst of it…but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136 10-15.
If we fast forward ahead in Israel’s history, we see them turn away from God in idolatry and injustice. To the point where God’s judgment came upon them and they were sent away to exile in Babylon. Yet, in the reign of the Persian king Cyrus, the people of Judah were allowed to return from Babylon and repopulate Jerusalem, their holy city.
In this event, we can see parallels with the Exodus story. God’s people were once more in captivity, under foreign rule. God working through his servant (this time King Cyrus) to deliver his people and restore them to their Promised Land. It might be no surprise that the return from exile became known as the Second Exodus. In the Psalms, we find the response to the restoration was great joy and thanksgiving, just like with the Exodus.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:1-3)
Through the Exodus, God showed himself to be powerful to save and faithful to his covenant promises. Through the restoration from exile, we see the same characteristics of God on display. The same power. The same faithfulness. Just as the Exodus defined the Israelites as people belonging to God, loved and set apart, so the restoration brought about a renewed identity for Judah as God’s people. It was an event to celebrate and to remember. When mothers taught their children about God, maybe they now also pointed back to the restoration from exile. Another pivotal moment in history, showcasing God’s character and who they were in him.
What about for us now? When we want to teach our little ones about God, where do we turn? The Exodus is still an amazing example of God’s power and a thrilling story for children. The restoration from exile is still reason to praise God. We can certainly point our children back to these events.
Yet, as Christians, we have something even greater to point back to. The Exodus and return from exile were shadows of an even greater deliverance – from sin, death and the enemy. Yes, the greatest display of God’s saving power and his covenant faithfulness was when Jesus went to the cross. Through his death, Jesus took our sins on himself and bore the punishment that we deserved. He redeemed us from slavery to the enemy and brought us into the freedom of God. Through his resurrection, he gave us new, abundant life and eternity with God to look forward to.
This is the defining moment of our history! When our children ask who God is, we can point them back to the cross to see his holiness, power and love. When they wonder who they are, we can tell them the story of our faithful God who sacrificed his own Son to make sinful people his treasured possession. Just as the Israelites rejoiced as they looked back on the Exodus, we can lead our children in joy and thanksgiving as we think of the cross.
Jesus’ death and resurrection give us the perfect example of God’s character. Knowing what God has done in the past gives us confidence in who he is now, both for us and our children. As we raise our children in the Lord, let’s always come back to the cross and the empty grave as the centre point of our faith.
Bella lives in Austraila with her husband and two sweet sons. She is passionate about knowing God’s Word and helping other women become well acquainted with it as well. To that end her latest project is A Holy History which you can find on her blog overtheteacups.wordpress.com