Facing Down the Water
Christopher B. Harbin
Following God is not always easy. Being faithful often calls us to take a step of faith into a realm of uncertainty in a way that makes us uncomfortable. We may indeed cry out to God for deliverance, but that God's chosen manner of rescue and redemption may not eradicate all our anxieties. It might even create new ones we had not yet imagined.
The event above all events that gave structure and identity to Ancient Israel was the Exodus from Egypt. We know the stories of Moses and the plagues, we celebrate Communion which refers back to the Passover celebrations of the same Exodus from Egyptian bondage.
This was the central movement of God's salvation, redemption, and rescue of the people. It was in the Exodus they became the people of Yahweh. Looking back to that event is one thing. It makes for an easy celebration. Living through the process of Yahweh's intervention, however, is a completely different issue not to be undertaken lightly.
Back in Egypt, the descendants of Jacob had become slaves as an invading force had taken over the throne of the lineage of the Pharaoh under whom Joseph had served. As the oppression under which they lived turned ever darker, they cried out for deliverance, and Yahweh heard their cry.
It would seem that Yahweh was ever the God who heard the voice of the most oppressed, those who lived on the margins of a society, or as an outcast population. Yahweh heard their cry and called Moses to return and deliver this people struggling for survival against great oppression. Yahweh sent Moses with a series of plagues to force the hand of Pharaoh to free the people. Things got so bad under the plagues that the Egyptians burdened the Hebrews down with jewels and gem, begging them to leave so that Yahweh would grant them respite.
The people fled after celebrating that first Passover event with the death of the firstborn of all Egypt. They marched out into the wilder ...
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