B'Shallach (After He Had Let Go)
Parashah 16: B'Shallach (After He Had Let Go)
Learn more about what a parashah is here. The heart behind this Bible portion blog is to help you develop your own daily reading habit. We share what the portion is for the week, what we took note of, and what spoke to our heart. We hope that this will help you study the Word of God and hide it in your heart, and soon you can teach someone else to do the same.
Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament): Exodus 13:17-17:16
Haftarah (section from the Prophets): Judges 4:4-5:31
B'rit Hadashah (New Testament): Luke 2:22-24; John 6:25-35; 19:31-37; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; Revelation 15:1-4
What we took note of.
In Exodus 13:17, God was already trying to prevent the people from going back into slavery by choosing a specific route for them to take when leaving. He understood the heart of the people. This ability to empathize is incredible. He has never been a slave, never been poor or lacking, and yet He understood the inner work needed by the people to get out of a slave mindset. He wasn't just going to help them physically, He was going to helping them emotionally and mentally. What a counselor!
The faith of Joseph just shines in comparison to the dull faith of this generation of Israelites. In verse Ex 13:19 Joseph is quoted saying that he was certain God would lead them out of the land, would deliver them, and when He does, Joseph wanted his bones taken with them. He was so confident and full of faith.
That cloud by day and fire by night in verse In Ex 13:21 is a lovely physical act. The Lord certainly was meeting His people where they were at. I guess they really needed to see something in the physical. I'd love to know what that looked like.
In Exodus 14 it says that God would get glory for himself at the expense of Pharaoh. To do this, God had to let Pharaoh initially have great power, authority, influence, and favor. He gave Him the opportunity to show his heart, and in God's precise timing, God was able to reap glory, justice, redemption, and freedom. It puts into perspective that even someone in great power and influence, who makes many horrible choices, can be used by God for His glory. And be judged in the process.
There is just so much to glean from this reading, far too much to write. But 3 amazing women of God are mentioned. Miriam the prophet, sister of Aaron, mentioned in Exodus. Deborah the judge, and Jael, an extremely strong and wise wife who did the job of a great warrior, mentioned in Judges 4.
It's also humbling to see that after that great parting of the sea deliverence, and the great singing celebrations of the people, it only took 4 verses for grumbling to take up the prayer bandwidth. Thirst was hard for them, hunger was the limit. That was what their freedom was worth to them.
"There Adonai made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them. He said, 'If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am Adonai your healer.'" Exodus 15:25-26 Listen intently to the voice of Adonai and do what he considers right, that's powerful.
What spoke to our heart in this reading.
The heart and strength of God exudes once again in Ex 14:4. He can take sin and turn it for good. He used Pharaoh, who already showed his heart decades earlier when he gave the death decree over all the Hebrew baby boys, to save not only the Israelites, but it seems the Egyptians too are on God's heart. He wanted them to realize that He was God, not anything or anyone they were putting their hope in. And in Ex 14:25, it says that "The Egyptians said, 'Adonai is fighting for Isra'el against the Egyptians!'"
It's incredible that the Egyptians know the name of God, YHVH. God didn't share His name until Exodus 3. A name in scripture reveals someone's essence, the same with the name of God. If you spell out the Hebrew letters of God's name, YHVH, and write them top to bottom, it is actually a picture of a man stick figure. In the very choosing of His name, it's like God is giving a huge spoiler to His plans and purposed on earth, to make mankind a walking tabernacle of His presence. To have that personal of a relationship with mankind, to make Him a Holy space, clean enough to house the Holy of Holies.
The Egyptians knew His name, they knew of His power, and I can only postulate what must have happened when the men never came home to their families. The Egyptian wives aren't spoken of, but I extrapolate, after having lost their first born child and their husband, and seeing that clearly Egypt was on the wrong side of things, knowing the very name of God, that at least some must have cried out to Him. So many verses come to mind, like "With my voice I call our to Adonai, and he answers me from his holy hill" in Psalm 3:4. I think these women could now actually call out to Him. It seems it was at least an option for them.
The grumblings of the Isra'elites is also on my heart. When my children whine and complain to me, and that's all I hear from them, it gets old quick. I really want my communication with God to not resemble constant whining and complaining. And if I'm honest, I'm afraid most of my prayers may be batched in the complain/whine category.