March 11, 2010

Let My People Go!

I am not sure how I missed this so many times I read the story of the Exodus. It is the life of the believer in an encapsulated form. It is obviously the Almighty miraculously intervening in the lives of His people. It is also a foreshadowing of the non-believer before he is saved, during his conversion and is eventual glorification that is achieved by faith through grace.

Egypt in this story is the world system and the trappings of life that cause us to be and remain sinners. Then comes God's miraculous intervention (election/reprobation) to save His people from the world system that enslaves them. In the case of the Exodus it is Pharaoh's enslavement of the Hebrew slaves. God warns and warns and warns but Pharaoh/the world's system continues to harden its heart making it less and less receptive to the voice of God and His commands. It takes a mighty and divine act of the death of the firstborn and the passover (which is another portion of the storyline I'm not prepared to go down right now) for Pharaoh to temporarily relent. Once the Hebrew slaves are released Pharaoh again changes His mind and goes in hot pursuit. At this point God's mercy and grace ends and the hammer falls killing Pharaoh's army. Each event until this point in time appeared to be horrible punishments for the Egyptians but in reality they were merciful half measures to allow the Egyptians chances to repent and were perfect examples of God's long-suffering attitude for His creation. The incident at the Red Sea ends this. The Egyptians finally crossed a line they shouldn't have crossed.

The release of the Hebrews from captivity is another foreshadowing of a believer's release from the captivity of sin through conversion. Pharaoh, being the evil world system pursues them vehemently and attempts to stop them. The system of this world, it's powers and principalities don't want to release their slaves either. Misery loves company. Inevitably, like Pharaoh sin will be crushed, God will crush the world's system because it is reprobate.

Even in light of their amazing release from captivity and momentous crossing of the Red Sea, the fledgling nation of Israel chose to bow down to a God that they made with their own hands. Since they couldn't return to Egypt they brought Egypt to themselves. More specifically they allowed Egypt (sin & the world) to dwell in them. They complained incessantly and actually wanted to return to Egypt because they were eating manna everyday (and were sick of it) and wanted to melons, onions, leeks and cucumbers which are analogous to the trappings of this world. God had every right to annihilate them at this point but did not. They continue to sin and God continued to be patient. Because of continued rebellion against the God that delivered them they were condemned to wander the desert for 40 years until all but two of the original people from the Egyptian exodus died. Only then were Joshua, Caleb and the next generation allowed entrance into the Promised Land. The Promised Land is analogous to Heaven. A land flowing with milk and honey. A place of rest after a long and sometimes painful wandering. A purposeful wandering inflicted on the future Israelites for the purpose of punishment but also a lesson of building faith and dependence on God. The due punishment for sin is death. Every Christian knows this or should know it. The analogy is to a modern day Christian's act of sanctification on a winding road of trial and error towards eventual death and glorification.

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