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New Walls of Water (38)
Christopher B. Harbin
Every generation has to face its own struggles, difficulties, and challenges. We can look to our heritage to find direction, comfort, or understanding for the issues we face. Even so, the challenges before us are often not the same as those of generations past. The circumstances of life around us often alter reality in ways that would not be recognizable to generations that went before us. While this may be especially true in looking at much of the technological advances of the last couple of centuries, history is full of stories in which one's generation's challenges were rather different from those of the one before. While some issues may look similar, the substance behind them may be radically different. We can still learn from those who came before, even when our challenges are not the same.
When we read and tell the stories of the Bible, we often compact them in our minds as though they happened almost simultaneously. Rarely is that the case. A couple of weeks ago, we read the story of the Hebrews passing through the Reed Sea. Last week we read of spies sent to investigate the land of God's promise and their report of giants in the land. Today's passage takes place an entire generation after those accounts. The text would use the phrase forty years, but that was a standard rounded number for the Hebrews, enough time for a generation to pass away and a new one to arise.
The lessons of yesteryear were learned by a generation that had passed on. Their experiences with Yahweh were now stories of an earlier period of history. Whatever the people had experienced on leaving Egypt and marching through the Reed Sea was now a tale of a generation gone before. The children and youth who had marched through the waters of the Reed Sea in flight from the Egyptians did not remember the events the same way their parents did. These had become stories of times past. They were no lon ...
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