I guess it was two years ago now, maybe three, that I purposed to read through the Bible chronologically. Starting in Genesis, I read my way through the book with a couple commentaries and was blown away by what I was learning. The parallels, the depth understanding the Hebrew words brought to the oh-so-familiar stories was breathtaking. God also encouraged me through the men and women written about in Genesis.
And then came Job, in the middle of Genesis, and again I was blown away by what there was to uncover there. That brought me to Exodus and there I got stuck. I read through it a second time with the First5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministries and now much slower a third time with commentaries. God has me lingering here in this book. As I look back over the time I have spent in Exodus, I noticed that I needed this book. It really boils down to this-
Exodus will strengthen your faith.
I needed my faith strengthened. It’s been a rough road, for sure, and for a while God was really quiet. I went through a winter season in my walk and although He was there, He wasn’t making himself known. I did have some wrong to repent from and God finally brought me to that place and a new season seemed to emerge. Maybe you have been there, too. These are some things I gleaned from my study and I hope they strengthen your faith, too.
Are you feeling forgotten?
Read about how God remembered His people and rescued them from severe persecution and bondage. (Chapter 1-2)
I don’t know how much the Israelites had passed down through their generations, but they did get to a point that they had had enough and cried out to God for help. And the Bible tells us that God chose to remember them. God “remembering” does not mean He forgot. The Hebrew term is ‘zakar’ which actually means application. God is deciding to honor the terms of covenant. But he works in a mighty way as we see the story unfold.
Are you feeling lost?
Read about the power and might through which God called and equipped Moses. (Chapter 3-4)
Previously, God had separated Moses from both the Israelites and the Egyptians through his first attempt at saving the Israelites from oppression. He gives Moses finds a new life in Midian and yet we see God separate him yet again from that as well before He makes Himself known to him and extend His call. God had been actively grooming Moses for this very moment when He called him from the bush.
Are you lacking direction?
Find out what’s really important in following God. (Chapter 6)
It was God’s plan that He would do it all for the Israelites and he was only asking Moses to be the messenger. We need to remember that we are only asked and equipped to do our part in God’s amazing plans and not anything else.
Are you feeling overwhelmed at the trials dogging you?
Read about how God swallowed up the Israelites enemies in the Red Sea. (Chapter 14)
This was actual reality for the Israelites. The Egyptians were in pursuit with the intention of war and they were getting cornered because they were approaching an uncrossable river. It would just be a matter of time. But God not only sheltered them with the cloud between them but then made the uncrossable river crossable. And we can trust God to do the same for us.
Are you scared at the odds you are facing?
Read about how God went before the Israelites and fought the battles for them. (Chapter 15-16)
If you read carefully you will see that the song of praise talks about how God had protected them. The Isrealites did nothing to protect themselves but we see how God used nature to provide protection for His people. Following that, the provision of food and water required nothing of the Isrealites, not even faith! When you are scared at the odds you are facing, remember how God completely met the human needs of the Isrealites for protection, food and water without any help from them or action on their part.
Are you weary in fighting the good fight?
Read about God’s responses to Moses when the Israelites were being discontent. (Chapters 15-18)
Look back and remember. This is modeled for us in the last parts of Exodus. Remember how God has worked in your life. Praise Him for His provision and protection. Count your blessings, ones He bestowed upon you. Just acknowledge His sovereignty and His mighty hand.
You just can’t help but gain confidence and strength and find your faith strengthened when you read about God and His character. Time and time again you see God work and rescue and care for his own people. You see God take a keen interest into the lives of mere men. You see how small we are and how small our lives are in the big picture and can walk away feeling relieved that its not all about us.
At least thats how I’m feeling as I’m reading through these amazing stories. I have found myself “gripped by the greatness of God,” as James Macdonald would say, while studying Exodus.