66 in 52 Challenge, Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Reflections on Exodus

It’s easy for me to read through a book like Exodus and kind of wonder: “How couldn’t they see it?!?” God’s provision, protection, and guidance are so clear chapter after chapter. From protecting Moses as a baby to grand things like splitting a sea in two or food appearing out of thin air day after day, God’s action on behalf of the Israelites is obvious. Yet, they complained constantly, thought going back to slavery would be better for them, made idols while God’s presence was still on the mountain in front of them, and blamed God instead of praising Him. How could this be? Couldn’t they see what God was up to?

But when I really stop to think about it… some days I’m no different. God performs a miracle, but we miss it because we were expecting something different. God figuratively splits seas or thunders from a mountain and the next day we’re so caught up in daily life we forget His power. We become immune to daily ‘manna’ falling from the sky in the form of food and shelter and friendships and His love and start to complain. I’d like to think that if I saw some of the miraculous things the Israelites witnessed I would never stop praising, but I’m not so sure I’d be any different.

One verse that struck me came right as God was enacting this great plan to lead them out of Egypt. Pharaoh had finally worn down and they were on the move. Passover had been instituted and God’s people had been spared the death of the firstborn that plagued the rest of the land. They had not yet come upon the Red Sea, but certainly had plenty to praise God for already.

So Moses said to the people, ‘This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. … On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. You must celebrate this event in this month each year…” (Exodus 13:3-5 NLT)

Reading this translation struck me… REMEMBER… YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE… CELEBRATE! It goes on to explain how God wants them to celebrate but the party stops pretty quick as they approach the Red Sea and see that Pharaoh has changed his mind. The army is approaching quickly from behind and the body of water ahead has them trapped.

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” (Exodus 14:10-12)

Suddenly they wanted to go back. Their current situation seemed worse than slavery, but that’s because they forgot the powerful mighty hand of their God.

Earlier this month I attended a conference. One of the hosts said this as he wrapped up one of our sessions:

Sometimes we feel like: “God you’ve led me to a place where there’s no where out.”
God says: “That’s only because you haven’t seen a sea parted.” – Ben Stewart

As I thought about this story that I’ve heard many times, as well as my own tenancies to complain and forget what God can do, I wondered if a key piece in all of it was the celebration God instituted the chapter before.

When Moses told the people to remember the day they had been set free, he said, “you MUST celebrate it”.  One way to read this Scripture would imply a focus on trying to please God and so we must praise Him because He deserves it. It’s true, God does deserve our praise, but I wonder if the “must” here is more about God knowing our nature. He “demands” celebration in a sense because He knows we need it. He knows that we MUST celebrate or we will forget. We must celebrate or we will worry. We must celebrate or we will feel trapped and see no way out. We must celebrate because we are free. Without celebration, we find our souls enslaved again.

I don’t know what celebration looks like for you, but find a way to party today. God has done everything to secure our freedom. May we never be slaves again!

2018-01-13 09.05.07


Bonus Thought: Music is one way I choose to celebrate. Maybe this song by Ellie Holcomb can help you live free today!

So we will sing, to our souls
We won’t bury our hope
Where He leads us to go
There’s a red sea road
When we can’t, see the way
He will part, the waves
And we’ll never walk alone
Down a red sea road” – Ellie Holcomb “Red Sea Road”


66 in 52 Challenge

Exodus Intro – Week 2 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!


Week 2 - Exodus

The Book in One Sentence:

“God shows how great He is by keeping His promises and rescuing us when we can’t rescue ourselves.” – From Newspring Church, “Everything You Need to Know About Exodus”

The Big Picture:

As Genesis ends and Exodus begins, a change in power was happening. When Genesis ends God’s people were doing pretty well. However, as verse 8 of the first chapter of Exodus tells us, “Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt…” This king was scared that the people of Israel would rebel. Before they could do that, he made them all into slaves. Throughout the rest of the book we see God’s plan to rescue His people through all different means, and especially through Moses. After their rescue from Egypt, God establishes some rules and guidelines for His people as well as providing a way for them to worship in the creation of the tabernacle.

Some Key Events/Themes in Exodus:

  • The Birth of Moses (Exodus 2)
  • Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3)
  • Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh/The Ten Plagues (Exodus 5-11)
  • The First Passover and Escape from Egypt (Exodus 12-13)
  • Walking through The Red Sea on Dry ground (Exodus 14)
  • God providing Manna and Quail to eat (Exodus 16)
  • God Reveals Himself and Provide Guidelines for the Community at Sinai (Exodus 19-31)
  • The Golden Calf (Exodus 32)
  • Building of the Tabernacle for Worship (Exodus 35-40)

A Few Key Passages and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse/passage to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of Genesis you want! These are just some ideas.

  • Exodus 3:14  – “God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.'”
    What does it mean to you that God says his name is “I AM”? Look also at John 8:58-59, and reflect on the connection between these two verses.
  • Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
    What battle do you need Jesus to fight for you today?
  • Exodus 15:2-3 – “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him–my father’s God, and I will exalt him! The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is his name!”
    This is a song the people sang after God had rescued them. In what ways do you feel God has brought you out of slavery? How has God been a warrior in your life? What might your song say if you wrote one today?
  • Exodus 20 – The Ten Commandments
    Read verses 1-2 – What is God’s heart behind these commandments? Where do you see God’s love in the commandments? What other characteristics of God are present?
  • Exodus 40:36-38 – “Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted. … This continued throughout all their journeys.”
    We don’t have literal cloud or fire pillars to follow and know where God is leading but what other things, people, or situations has God provided in your life to help you follow Him?

God’s Grace in Exodus:

One of my favorite examples of God’s grace in Exodus (one of the MANY) comes at the end of the plagues as God is just on the edge of helping His people escape. God establishes the Passover (Exodus 12). Pharaoh was not reacting to God’s many attempts to get him to let the Israelites go and knew that something drastic would have to happen, the death of all of the firstborn in Egypt. Because God’s people also were in Egypt, and God is both just and gracious in ways we can’t always mesh in our brains, He needed to provide a way out for those who did desire to follow Him. The Passover was that way. Those that showed their trust in God were spared the death that fell upon all the other firstborn in the land. This Passover continued to be celebrated for hundreds and hundreds of years as a reminder of God’s gracious provision that night. One day, centuries later, a man named Jesus came on the scene, still celebrating this meal, until one year when He became the sacrifice. Sitting around a table, Jesus said, “This is my body; this is my blood”. He was telling all those from that point forward that He had come as the ultimate Passover Lamb … that would rescue us all from the sin that enslaved us our entire lives.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!