Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exodus 14:10-15:1

What were you thinking? Did you bring us out here into the wilderness to die? These are the questions that the Israelites are asking Moses as they see the Egyptians coming upon them in the desert. God sent Moses to free them from slavery, but now their captors are coming upon them and they are trapped. Surely they will die. Exhausted, confused, and full of fear the Israelites begin screaming at Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?"

Haven't we all had a moment like that with God? A moment when we looked to God and said, "What have you done?" "How can this be happening?" That moment when we just felt like everything was going wrong and there was no way out. It's in those moments that we wonder what God is doing, what God is thinking and we question our ability to trust in a God that seems to have left us stranded in desperation.

God's purpose in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt was to establish a relationship with them. These are Abraham's descendants, the heirs to the promise that God made to Abraham. But, they don't know God. They don't know about the promise. They don't have a relationship with God. And so God brings them out into the wilderness so that they can become God's people and God can become their God.

And, as they arrive in the desert, they aren't too certain about this God. So far it appears that God has taken them out of Egypt simply so that the Egyptians can murder them in the desert. The relationship with God is starting on rocky ground, to say the least. But, God is faithful. God is determined to show the Israelites that God will care for them and won't abandon them. As a demonstration of God's power and love for them, God parts the Red Sea and brings them all to safety. And thus begins a long relationship between God and the people where the people don't trust God and God takes care of them anyway. No matter how many times God proves to the Israelites that God will provide, they always grumble, moan, complain, and conclude that God is out to get them or that God has abandoned them.

Why is it that in the moments of desperation we wonder about God's faithfulness to us? Every day that we go about our life we are blessed. We have homes. We have jobs. We have food. As a general rule, we have access to decent, even good, healthcare. We have all that we need to survive. Yes, sometimes cruddy things happen. Sometimes we get sick, really sick. Sometimes we lose our job or our house. Sometimes our spouse or our children are in trouble - or are just causing us trouble. But in the big picture, the grand scheme of things, the long-term view, God has provided for us. God is faithful to God's promise to bless us.

And so in this journey of Lent, we ask ourselves if we trust God. Have we observed enough of God's faithfulness to us, and to those that came before us, to really really trust God?

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