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Tag Archives: hope

Parting of the Red Sea

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. (Exodus 14:5-7, 10-14, 21-29, NRSV)

This is an interesting story. Most of us have seen the movie, so we think of the image above of the water pushing back and becoming walls, because that is what the text says.

But what happened really and why is this story important to us as followers of Christ?

Well, the story tells us that Pharoh after the plaques let the Israelites go and after that, he thought, “What have I done, now we have no one to do our work.” So they went after the Israelites. And the Israelites were then trapped between a body of water and the approaching Egyptian army. And the Israelites whined to God and to Moses about graves in Egypt and having to die in the wilderness. But God heard them and told Moses to lift his staff and the waters would divide.

Now, how big was this body of water? The text says the red sea. Which is here:

But is that actually where the Israelites crossed? And where on the Red Sea?

What if I told you that most scholars don’t think it was the Red Sea, but a different body of water? I remember in my class on this in seminary our professor telling us the Hebrew is Sea of Reeds. So it probably isn’t the Red Sea. And my bible software shows the route of the exodus going through what is now know as Great Bitters Lake.

And Great Bitters Lake is right here.

Or here is a picture of where it is located:

So why didn’t the Israelites go around the lake? Well, they were fleeing for their lives at this point because this huge army was coming up behind them, and they saw water in front of them, maybe for as far as they could see. So they panicked, as we often do.

And to get back to the question of why this is an important story for followers of Christ, beyond that it is part of the story that leads us to Jesus coming, it shows that God is always faithful. God led His people out of Egypt not to their death but to a land flowing with milk and honey. God upholds His promises and is faithful to His people.

Have faith that God will part the waters and help you walk on dry land. Even when it looks like all hope is lost, God will never leave you.

 

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Rejoice in the Lord

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:2-9, NRSV)

Rejoice always in the Lord and do not worry about what will happen.

Know that in any and all circumstances that God will be with you and see you through.

That doesn’t mean there will not be strife or conflict or bad things that happen. But God will be with you and see you through.

So always rejoice in the fact that God is with you and you are named and claimed by Him because He loves you. Not of your own merit or anything you have done, only because He loves you.

Rejoice Always!

 

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The Use of Wealth

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17, NRSV)

Don’t set your hopes in your riches. But remember it is all a blessing from God.

Put your trust in God alone and use the blessings you have received to help spread the love of God!

 

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Ruth meets Boaz

Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. (Ruth 2:1-3, NRSV)

Naomi and Ruth had returned from Moab to Bethlehem, but they had no one to care for them so they only hope they had was to glean from a field.

The barley harvest had started and so the famine was over and there was hope for the region. And all people would leave the edges of their fields for the widows and the poor to glean so they could eat and care for themselves.

So with nothing else to provide for them, Ruth went and gleaned in a field. And it just so happens that she gleans in a field owned by a relative of Naomi.

How has God worked in your life in ways that you may not have seen until the event was over?

Remember there is always hope.

 

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Naomi and Ruth

So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. (Ruth 1:22, NRSV)

And here is the hope, that Naomi still doesn’t see.

The harvest.

The end of the famine.

The reason Naomi could go home.

Ruth saw the hope. Do we see the hope?

Where is your focus?

On the darkness?

Or the hope?

 

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Naomi and Ruth

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Call me no longer Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty; why call me Naomi when the Lord has dealt harshly with me, and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (Ruth 1:19-21, NRSV)

Naomi still doesn’t see the light that is right there with her.

Ruth gave up her homeland and family, yes she had been living with Naomi for 10 years or more, but she still had blood family in Moab and Ruth gave all of that up to stay with Naomi. Even that light and love did not seem to overtake Naomi’s darkness.

Have you ever been in such a funk and deep dark hole that it seemed you would never get out and nothing could make you see the light?

Remember there is always hope.

 

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Naomi and Ruth

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. (Ruth 1:8-14, NRSV)

Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to stay in their homeland so they might be provided for. Naomi was headed back to her homeland where her daughters-in-law would be outsiders and may not be accepted and may make it harder on Naomi to find a family member that will take her with an extra mouth or two to care for. She tells them that she will not provide them sons, and Orpah listens to her and goes back to her family, but Ruth, Ruth sees the hope that lies ahead with Naomi. She clings to Naomi and knows that by clinging to Naomi she is clinging to God.

Have you ever felt the hope that Ruth did here?

Knew that you had to hold on to something for dear life because God was working in and through this situation?

Remember there is always hope.

 

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