Parashah 14: Va'era (I appeared)
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 6:2-9:35
Haftarah (section from the Prophets): Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
What we took note of.
Moses was actually younger than Aaron, by 3 years. What an interesting family dynamic. To be born, taken in by the daughter of a man who put a death sentence on him (as a baby boy), and yet still be able to know his birth family. And to even have such a strong relationship with his older brother. I wonder if Moses struggled with rejection, or feeling like an orphan. It was clear he lacked confidence in speaking. It seems like there was not a good basis for this in-confidence. But we know that sometimes we can have a strength, but not be able to see it ourselves, because we have believed a lie. It's interesting that both Moses and Joseph may have had to overcome a root of rejection. At least a feeling that they were different and set apart. I wonder how long it took them to see they were set apart for a good purpose, and if the enemy tried to hold them down with lies. Maybe a lie that they were unwanted, unwanted because they were different, unwanted because they weren't loved by their family, or unloved by Adonai. These are terminal lies if believed.
The secret arts of the magicians are interesting. They were impressive, no doubt. These magicians had a power of some sort, though it's unclear how they received it, but it's clear this was not the first time it was displayed or known. The word "secret" stuck out the most. Secret reminds me of darkness, a darkness that conceals something bad.
Over and over I underlined how Pharaoh's heart was hardened. It was clear that Adonai was hardening it. But something that just clicked to me was that if Moses was 80 years old when this was happening, this may have been the same Pharaoh who issued the harsh death decree on all the baby boys. When the midwives didn't help him carry out this decree, he gave the order "to all his people" (Exodus 1:22). It's clear he and his people were guilty of great bloodshed, and it doesn't say God hardened his heart to make this decree. It really put the coming plagues into perspective, that even the harshest one of all soon to come, the death of the first born, was at least comparable to the death decree Pharaoh carried out decades before.
What spoke to our heart in this reading.
There are two verses in this portion that were like a spring of goodness to me, just bubbling off the pages. Exodus 6:6-7 (CJB) reads:
6 I am Adonai. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am Adonai your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians.
The progression of words in verse 6 struck us. Free -> rescue -> redeem -> great judgements. Wow. Just doing one of those would be incredible, but to do ALL of them? Doesn't this reflect how amazing Adonai is? It shows that He isn't some deity who is just watching us on his heavenly TV for entertainment, careless of what we go through as long as it satisfies Him. Rather, He interjects Himself and frees, rescues, redeems, and judges those who have acted terribly. Freedom and being rescued is essential, but He doesn't leave us then. He helps us through the inner heart healing to a point where the cruel things we have endured are actually REDEEMED and those who were cruel are judged. What incredible loving kindness and justice. But that's not even all.
In verse 7 is says that He will "take" and they will "know" Him. The Hebrew words used here are so important; they mean to take a spouse and to know intimately as spouses do on their wedding night. This takes things so much further than justice and loving kindness. It takes it all the way to a forever, covenant love. The kind of love that lasts all things, doesn't leave when angered, and can seem completely one-sided at times (like really, what is Adonai getting out of this compared to what He is giving?).
I can only think of a woman who is enslaved in sex trafficking. And someone learning about the cruel situation and decides to do something about it. He finds a way to rescue her from the hierarchies within. He frees her from the system, but she is a mess. She doesn't know herself, her value, her gifts, her wants. She has just been used for so long. So he stays around and helps her through the inner heart work. All the way to a point of redemption, which might look like loving her to the point of her being a rescuer herself, helping countless others enslaved in sex trafficking. Then justice comes, he gets an incredible lawyer and takes these sex traffickers down legally. And their heinous acts are made known in a court of law and they are sentenced for their crimes. Then after all this comes, and justice is finally served in court, they leave the courthouse and start to descend the stairs outside, and the man who has carried her all this way, kneels down and purposes, asking to marry this woman. Knowing full well all the baggage she brings in, he asks to take and know her. To marry and love her through it all.
Like who is this Adonai? Most of the world does not even know Him. If they did, they would just be WRECKED. Who does this? Only an amazing, loving, capable, kind, strong, enduring, God. One who desires intimacy with His people. An intimacy everyone longs for but few realize is even possible with the creator of the universe.
Music ministering to us: