EXODUS 13:17-15:18 | MATTHEW 21:23-46 | PSALM 26:1-12 | PROVERBS 6:16-19
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It is finally done: the people are led out of Egypt by Moses. Moses’ brother Aaron and sister Miriam are apparently a strong influence and support for Moses in this huge undertaking. More is said about them than his own wife and children. At any rate, the trio is obedient to God in carrying out this great enterprise which is to go down in the history of the Jewish people as a most significant event.
The parting of the Red Sea is yet another supernatural phenomenon that occurs during the course of the early journey, and it is now to be seen what else might be in store for them as they traverse up north through the desert and into the ‘promised land’.
There is a long song recorded in this chapter that is attributed to Moses and Miriam. It is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for His provision and protection. The words are timeless and I daresay it must still be one that is sung by the Jewish people today. Part of it goes like this:
13 “In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
14 The nations will hear and tremble;
anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away;
16 terror and dread will fall upon them.
By the power of your arm
they will be as still as a stone—
until your people pass by, O LORD,
until the people you boughtpass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling,
the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.
18 The LORD will reign
forever and ever.”
Turning next to our reading in the Book of Matthew, we continue to see Jesus’ teaching and preaching ministry. He is being pursued by the Sanhedrin, the religious group that is out to get him. Who is this man, after all, speaking so boldly about the Kingdom of God? He even has the audacity to come into the Temple and change the order of things.
Oh, and he hangs out with the scum of society, and then even goes so far as to say, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” What is going on here? Who is this man? Should we believe in him?
Next, in the Psalms, we find David making a case for himself to the Almighty by way of reminding the Lord of his many noble qualities. Yet, it is not because of these laudable qualities that the Lord chooses to save. David says:
2 Test me, LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
In the Proverbs for the day, we find verses that are worth repeating and remembering. Solomon says,
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
As per this list, all the religious leaders in Jesus’ day would be guilty as charged. As per this list, they don’t have half a leg to stand on. In all their zealotry to uphold the Law, they are seen to be slowly and systematically breaking it, one verse at a time, and by the time we come to the end of Jesus’ earthly sojourn, we will have seen how they will have completely and thoroughly fulfilled this small criteria of seven things.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.