Key Text: Exodus 13:1-14:31
We all understand that this life is not forever; in other words there will come a time when we die and transition into eternity. We read biographies of those who have died long ago and can at times feel a bit of envy. Those people, some of who died centuries ago, are still remembered.
We do a lot of things to keep the memory of some event or a famous person going. Ceremonies, walls of remembrance, gardens, songs, literature or park benches. We want people to remember that we were here; we want people to remember the difference we made in their life.
Exodus establishes some important images of who God is. But even beyond the themes of the narrative, it stresses the importance of remembering. God remembers His promise to Abraham and hears the cries of His descendants. The Israelites are to remember the God who brought them out of Egypt through the Red Sea.
God wants to show His power so that we remember our relationship with Him. God desires us to remember Him. But He knows how quickly we forget. We write things in journals, record audio or video records because we want to remember.
Throughout the Bible, God had the people do things so they would remember; ceremonies, celebrations, alters were designed to help them remember. The Passover was designed to help us remember. The communion meal was instigated to help us remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. We remember many things but God wants us to remember Him.
God’s deliverance/rescue of us through Jesus is foreshadowed in the O.T. As God opened a way through the sea by the parting of the waters, likewise through the tearing of the temple curtain He opened the way into His presence.
All the way through, we see God’s initiative in delivering His people out of Egypt: ‘The Lord brought you out… Tell your children, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me…’ The Lord brings you into the land… with a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’ Exodus13:3–16
v.6-9 the festival of unleavened bread marked the Hebrews as a unique people as though they were branded on their hands and forehead. Question: What do we do, how do we live, that marks us as a follower of God?
Perhaps the way we raise our children ?, the way we demonstrate love for others ?, the way we do our job ?, show concern for the poor and living devotion to God, these kinds of actions will leave visible marks on all to see. While national and international groups are marked by customs, ritual and traditions students of Jesus are reminded in John 13:34-35 that we are marked by loving one another.
God led His people all the way out of captivity although, interestingly, He did not take them the shortest route v.17. Sometimes, instead of taking us the easy way, God takes us a longer and more difficult way to prepare us for the battles ahead.
Even though they were now out of Egypt, they were going to have to fight one battle after another. They needed to learn to rely totally on God’s strength and guidance. They needed to remember Him.
He guided them constantly in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night v.21 this is what we need individually and as the community of the people of God, His constant guidance. Sometimes we get into situations where there seems to be no way out. The Egyptians were behind them and the sea was in front of them, ‘they were exceedingly frightened’ Exodus14:10(AMP).
Yet Moses remembered, trusted in God to deliver them. He said, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still’ Exodus 14:13-14
Moses had to play his part ‘Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea’, 16a, God’s part was rather harder; He divided the waters. When we pray, for example, for someone to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God uses us. We have to stretch out our hands and pray. But God fills people with His Spirit – He does the hard part. Nevertheless, He still involves us in His plans.
Consider for a moment what it meant 12-14 to redeem every firstborn son?
During the night the Israelites escape from Egypt, God spared the oldest son of every house marked with blood on the door lintels. Because God saved the lives of the first born, He had a rightful claim on them. But God commanded the Israelites to buy their sons back from Him, to redeem their sons. This ritual served three main purposes:
1.It was a reminder to the people of how God has spared their sons from death and freed them from all slavery.
2.It showed God’s high regard for human life, in contrast to the pagan gods who their worshippers believed, demanded and needed human sacrifice. Molech a detestable god requiring Child sacrifice.
3.It looks forward to the day when Jesus Christ would buy us back/redeem us by paying the price for our sin once and for all through Jesus live, death and resurrection.
God’s part was to bring rescue and salvation: ‘The Lord saved Israel’ Exodus 14:30. Our part is to remember God and trust Him: ‘the people put their trust in him and in Moses his servant’31
God is working for our good. He wants us to cooperate with Him. This is the way that He has designed His creation whether it is the natural world (where we plant and God gives the growth) or the kingdom of God (where God brings about His purposes, yet we have a part to play).
God calls us to remember Him in the business of our everyday lives.
- Remember God’s covenant love.
- Remember God’s passion for us.
- Remember God cannot lie.
- Remember God’s tender mercy.
- Remember God’s infinite grace.
- Remember God is the giver and the sustainer of all of life.
- Remember God for who God was and is and is to come.
- Remember what God did for us through Christ Jesus.
- Remember the Character of God.
- Remember God is still on the throne.