40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 13
Weekly Theme: The Exodus ‚Äì From Death to Life
Today‚Äôs Meditation: Echoes from the Exodus ‚Äì From Prison to the Promised Land
‚ÄúTherefore, say to the Israelites: ‚ÄòI am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.‚Äô‚Äù (Exodus 6:6-8)
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deut. 30:15-20)
As we have been meditating on the Exodus of the Children of Israel out of Egypt, it has become apparent that in their story we find our own. While few of us have experienced life as slaves to another human being, all of us are slaves to sin. John 8:34 records the words of Jesus concerning this matter. He said, ‚ÄúVery truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.‚Äù In Romans 3:23, Paul breaks the bad news that, ‚Äúall have sinned‚Ä¶‚Äù We are left with a simple deduction. All of humanity sins, therefore, all of humanity are slaves to sin. So, the story of the Israelites in Egypt is not that far removed from our experiences. In fact, there is much we can learn from their plight that will inform us concerning our own.
Let‚Äôs look at the facts. For 400 years, Israel was locked in a prison of servitude to Pharaoh and his nation. But, God was not unaware of their condition. God heard the cries of the people and He ‚Äúremembered‚Äù His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When the time was right, God sent Moses ‚Äì the great deliverer. Moses was uniquely qualified for this task. He was an Israelite ‚Äì a man of the people, but he was also, by adoption, part of the Egyptian royal family. When Moses came, the prison keeper would not release his captives. So, God initiated a series of curses or plagues to force Pharaoh‚Äôs hand. The stubborn potentate thought he could weather the storm. Then, God unloaded a curse so potent that it took the lives of the first born of Egypt. While the curse was coming down on the captors, God had made provision for Israel to be spared. The Passover Feast and applying of the blood was prescribed as an antidote to the curse of the death angel. After the death of the first born of Egypt, Israel was released by the desperate despot and sent on a pilgrimage that would take them from prison to the Promised Land! As the Hebrew people made their Exodus into the wilderness, the trek was anything but easy. They struggled with sin. They doubted God. They even wanted to turn back. But, through it all, 40 years later, they crossed over Jordan into a land that God had prepared especially for them.
Allow me to take a brief departure. There is an acoustic anomaly in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. In the Old House Chamber, there is a spot where you can stand and speak. Someone standing all of the way across the room can hear you as clear as day. One old myth held by some is that John Quincy Adams used this natural phenomenon to eaves drop on members of the opposition party. Regardless if this is true or not, it provides an excellent illustration of how echoes travel through space and time. A scholar once said, ‚ÄúHistory may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme!‚Äù The events of the original Exodus echo so clearly in our experiences today. It is as if the events of thousands of years ago are bouncing off the ceiling of time and reverberating in us.
Let‚Äôs look at the facts of our lives. Because we were born with a sinful nature, and because we all choose to sin, we were locked in a prison of servitude to sin and Satan. But, God was not unaware of our condition. God saw the hopeless spiritual state of humanity and He ‚Äúremembered‚Äù His covenant with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David. When the time was right, God sent Jesus ‚Äì the greatest deliverer. Jesus was uniquely qualified for this task. Through the Incarnation, Jesus was born into humanity ‚Äì a man of the people, but he was also, by nature, the Son of God and King of kings ‚Äì true Divine Royalty. When Jesus came, the prison keeper was not willing to release his captives. So, God sent Jesus up Cavalry‚Äôs mountain to undo the curse of sin and to force Satan‚Äôs hand. The stubborn potentate thought he could weather the storm. Then, God unloaded a curse so potent that it took the life of His only begotten Son. This curse, which should have been poured out on all of us, was poured out on Jesus. In the atoning death of His Son, God had made provision for humanity to be spared. The New Passover Feast was prescribed as an active remembrance and renewal of the covenant and the applying of Jesus‚Äô blood was an antidote for dying in our sins. After the death of God‚Äôs only Begotten, those who are united to Christ in His death, burial and resurrection are set free from the desperate despot, and they are sent on a pilgrimage that takes them from the prison of sin to the eternal Promised Land! As we, the Christian people, experience the New Exodus into the wilderness, the trek is anything but easy. We all struggle with sin. We even doubt God from time to time. Some of us may even want to turn back from some of the challenges we will face. But, through it all, one day, we will cross over Jordan into a land that God has prepared especially for us.
The echoes and rhymes from the original Exodus are so evident in the verses and stanzas of our lives. Augustine had it right. ‚ÄúThe Old Testament is in the New revealed, and the New Testament is in the Old concealed.‚Äù As we continue to meditate on the original Exodus, more reverberations will sound forth. More rhymes will delight us. But this is more than just an exercise in typological discovery. What is presented through the original Exodus and in the narrative of the Gospel (the New Exodus) is nothing less than a choice between life and death. Moses wrote, ‚ÄúI have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:18-20)
Jesus has taken the curse for you. Romans 6:23 tells us, ‚ÄúThe wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life in Christ Jesus our Lord‚Äù? Will you choose to accept the gift? If you will, your prison bars will open, and you will begin a journey to the Heavenly Promised Land.
Prayer for Today
Praise God for His plan to redeem us ‚Äì a plan that echoes through time and across the pages of the Scriptures
Give thanks to Jesus for making atonement for our sins and for bearing the curse that we should have born
Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart, mind and ears to hear more of these echoes and rhymes as we continue to study
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask the Lord to forgive you
Ask for strength to ‚Äúlove God, listen to Him, and hold fast to Him.‚Äù
Pray that the Lord would open a door this week for you to share the Gospel with someone who needs to be set free from prison!
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. (Deut. 30:15-16)