Miraculous deliverance….Jesus dies.

14 02 2011

DAY FORTY-FOUR : Exodus 13 v. 1 – 14 v. 31; Matthew 27 v. 45 – 66; Proverbs 4 v. 20 – 27

Okay, I’m sending this on St. Valentine’s Day (yesterday’s readings), so here’s a heart to remind us of God’s great love shown in the amazing readings from Exodus and Matthew today, and the Wise Words of Proverbs:

EXODUS 13 – God instructs Moses to ‘consecrate’ (set aside / dedicate) the firstborn of every Israelite child or animal to God, as a commemoration of God delivering the Israelites from the Egyptians on this day.
Again, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread is outlined – a seven day celebration.
“This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips…you must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.”
The sacrifice of the firstborn animal, the redemption of the firstborn sons, is a permanent reminder of the Passover death of the firstborn in Egypt.

Crossing the sea – God didn’t lead them on the shortest, easiest route, but by the desert road. God knows they’re not ready for the battles they’d face on the shortest route.
They have Joseph’s bones with them on the journey – nice! (Marks the real departure of the whole Joseph episode….)
The Lord leads them by a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night, always ahead of the people.

EXODUS 14 – As they camp by the sea, Moses hears from God that Pharaoh will be after them. Pharaoh cannot imagine life without all his Hebrew slaves, so his best charioteers are sent to capture the Israelites.
The Israelites panic!
They confront Moses (get used to the idea of this, Moses), asking if he’d brought them out of Egypt only to perish in the desert. ‘It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.’
Moses confidently tells them not to fear. God will deliver them, and the Egyptians who are chasing them will be no more!
God simply instructs Moses, “Tell the people to move on!” – how often God needs to move us on, and we are resistant, often gripped with fear (of the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unlikely).
Following God’s instructions, Moses raises his staff and overnight the waters of the Red Sea part. The pillar of cloud moves behind the Israelites, blocking the view of the Egyptians, keeping them in the dark. All night long the wind blew, until there was a path.
“The Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and one their left.”
All of the oncoming Egyptians are washed away as the waters regroup over them. There is a tangible awesome fear of what God can do gripping the Israelites, who pledge their trust to God and His servant, Moses.

MATTHEW – Jesus dies
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
Wine vinegar….
Jesus cries out in a loud voice….
He gives up His spirit.

Temple curtain torn
Earth shaken….rocks split
Tombs opened…dead raised
“Surely He was the Son of God!”

Close family and friends watch
from a distance…..

Jesus is buried in a new tomb, thanks to Joseph of Arimathea, with a stone seal. Mary and Mary observe.
The following day, there is concern about what the disciples might do with Jesus’s body, stealing it and claiming it had been raised from death. There is a Roman seal put on the tomb, and a guard posted. Secure…secure.
Note, the Chief Priests and Pharisees don’t even name Jesus…they simply call Him ‘the deceiver’ (a name given to Satan).

PROVERBS 4 – God’s wise words are ‘life to those who find them, and health to a man’s whole body’.
‘Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life’.
Fix your eyes, not swerving left or right, taking the firm path set before you.

My re-created thoughts :
(I penned this poem some years ago….having read this portion of Matthew’s gospel)….

In that moment
the sky turned black
the deepest darkness the world had ever known
a darkness which seemed to overcome
enveloping and centred around the crucified Lord
this darkness was the sum total
of all the darkness of all the ages
and it seemed to point itself to this cross on this hill.
It appeared the light of the world was to be ultimately
blown out.

In that moment the temple curtain ripped in two
the holiest place could be seen by all
a taboo shattered, a unfettering
a freeing of the very God whose word created
and whose dying breath had exposed the Holy of Holies.
Freedom at a price – a tearing, a breaking, a bleeding
God in dying is made more available to us.

In that moment, the whole earth shook
and splintered rocks
the death of the creator, and all creation shuddered
like a quake to rock the foundations of every heart and home
mighty boulders fractured, nothing unaffected, untroubled
by the catastrophic, cosmic final breath.

And in that moment,
a mother cried.
One sobbing, broken heart,
another life is broken.
In that moment, the pain of separation
and the cruelty of such a death.
Too much for any mother to plainly bear.
A whisper from her trembling lips,
and an echo in our hearts,
“Jesus, my Son,
why must You die?”




2 responses

14 02 2011
Jeff Whittle

Why is there not more comments in the bible about the land promised to Moses being the same land that Abraham moved to and therefore the land Joseph came from when he was taken into Egypt? Is Exodus 12:11the only reference to this?
I think that the return is very significant, showing that God’s promise to Abraham is being kept, Genesis 15:13-16.

17 02 2011

Jeff – great to be reminded that it’s all fulfilling the original promise God covenanted with Abraham.
As you say, the promise is first heard in Gen 15, then renewed to his son, Isaac, and grandson, Jacob (Gen 28 v. 13).
It’s also mentioned in Exodus 23 (v. 23 / 31), and in Deuteronomy 1 v. 8.
Thanks for that. As you say, very significant…..

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