My hubby and I recently went to two  prayer meetings.  Both stirred our hearts. We are thankful we can still publicly gather to do so. It is not possible in many countries around the world. In the evening meeting, people gathered and  one woman came in with a cell phone and Bluetooth speaker. It was a small crowd and there were many pressing, overwhelming needs and  requests. This woman (Nicole) had prayer concerns also, but before mentioning any of that, she quietly set up her phone, complete with playlist and speaker. The songs she played directed our minds to Gods past miracles and His character. Her simple act of obedience accomplished more than she probably realized. Not a band, just a little speaker– but it was powerful. Simple, anointed. We praised God for answers because we believed they would come– and they did. In the background of our requests, fueling our faith,  were songs of deliverance, and praise. We are free to worship, but do we? God says to The Israelites and also to us today, “Let my people go—so they can worship!”  All that effort in Egypt  and we  sometimes still think of worship as “song service”  one hour on Sunday.  The events in Exodus were reminders that God (even in a wicked culture with a wicked Pharaoh) is POWERFUL and ABLE. 

Four hundred years had passed since the people of God had come into Egypt, and they started to be perceived by the people around them as too much and too many.  The locals forgot that these “unwanted interrupters” were the reason they had been blessed. Where were the altars of remembrance? Who forgot to recount the stories of Gods faithfulness to Josephs family? Seriously, how could anyone forget all that the Israelites had added to this now very ungodly system? The foreigners were outnumbering the locals and fear spread in the camp. Someone had not carefully watched the new brothers or the borders and most of the locals had not remembered this Joseph guy with his colorful threads. Salvation stories had become a thing of the past. Oh the importance of passing God stories down to our children and grandchildren!  Recounting His provision, miracles and encounters  builds our faith. Pour some coffee and get your “Share” on!

Pharaoh, the revered power broker “disregarded humanity”  one commentator says and even worse, had killed babies. His priorities were skewed. God was not any part of his leadership agenda. Even Pharaoh’s closest advisors began to worry about the violence and started  leaving his side. Things were dark politically and spiritually. Sometimes we think God turns a blind eye to our circumstances, but we will see in this book that there is no such thing as any occurrence happening –without God noticing.  God sees and hears  it all.

So, Moses becomes the new leader. He wasn’t known for his theology at that point, he was known for murdering a local. No wonder they couldn’t believe God had sent him. A most unlikely first pick, yet God knew exactly who He needed in that position, and despite his human failings, God used Moses.

Gods purpose in choosing Moses is seen throughout the entire book. We remember that as a baby his parents trusted God so much that they put him in a basket and placed him in the river. Imagine that parental conversation. It was not exactly covered under “what to expect when your child is a under a year”. Under threat of death, they sent him down the river.  Such a picture of salvation. First rescued we see is by midwives but here we see Moses rescued by Gods oversight.  Wild animals, Crocodiles, snakes, hot sun, and a number of other factors could have taken him out – but didn’t. The Sovereign God that protected Moses at an early age, continued to protect and lead him in his old age. Is it possible, that the same God, can protect and lead us? Our children? It seems to be Gods’ trademark. The end game is the same – called out to worship  the living God.

The injustices that were experienced by the Israelites at the hand of Pharaoh increased. This is where the story gets wild – civil unrest erupts and there is violence in the streets. Servants became slaves as more work was required with less straw. We’ve all read the story. But maybe in this distant hour or year, we have forgotten Gods response? He was angry – very angry at injustice.  God wasn’t upset just by the  hard work expected without resources in the hot sun, but that some slaves were getting mercilessly beaten. It’s not just a Bible story, it was their news in that day. Evil appeared to prevail. So God, in His powerful, majestic way, —shows them all His divine justice.  Then step by step God carries out a plan to bring His precious people to Himself.

Salvation is not just about a John 3:16 sign held at a football game or pesky Bible thumper at your door. Salvation is also when a holy God shows up and says, “ENOUGH”. He gave them a warning – ten actually. Without CNN, FOX or MSNBC, God makes a statement and then waits for someone, anyone to understand that He is the all-powerful LORD.

Maybe today we need to read, repeat, and remember this? When praying about our circumstances or watching the news, we can easily forget how God moves. God doesn’t sit back and scratch his ol beard and worry like some forgotten grandpa too weak to intervene. He doesn’t look away and insist on sacrifices of gold or food like some deaf and  dumb idol. The God who saw the injustice, heard the injustice, felt the injustice –planned HIS justice and then slowly, methodically moved so ALL could see His power. It’s so memorable, that generations later– we still tell the story. TEN PLAGUES. Each one more impressive than the one before it. There was no Super bowl –but the plagues would have been the biggest event in their lifetime! It was a tug of war, Until the death angel touched down….

For space sake, I won’t write about each plague, but I cringed when reading about the locusts.  It reminding me of swimming in a lake.  You can feel the weeds, a few bugs, under the water.  I don’t like dead (or living) insect bodies bumping into me no matter where I am. Reading Exodus this year, I realized that the locusts (hundreds of thousands) didn’t just disappear in thin air. They somehow were blown into the Red Sea! Yes, that sea where all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots later get captured.  Imagine sinking deep in the water, trying to swim out and then  waves of hardened bug parts float past your eyes, lips, and teeth. It somehow makes the victory of the Israelites sweeter. No wonder they danced and sang! Complete annihilation with a twist. The horse and rider, thrown into the sea– That crunchy, bug filled, thick sea. Death by water and insect juices and parts. Yuck. God has a way of making His point and taking care of our enemies. He wants nothing to hinder our worship and did everything to set them free.  

The commentator Huang Sabin tells us that the book of Exodus can be summarized by this:

“Exit to exalt.”

We see the plagues, –God sees justice and the promised land. God did not just want to stop injustice, or violence by the  officers of Egypt. He did not just want to do some light and frog show for His peeps. It was part of a larger plan to bring them to Himself.  That is still His plan today. What beauty to realize we are taken from being  just “workers” to being a special treasured people (see Ex.19:5) as they (and we) obey Gods voice and commands.  New identity, new journey, new song.

The blood was the last sign to show us Gods thoughts on Divine Justice. These visual lessons led the people then and us today to Gods sacrificial love and the reason for why we worship. We have been bought with a price, a hefty price.

Bethel, Maverick city, Elevation, Hillsong are awesome, but they cannot worship for us. They cannot tell our individual stories of healing and deliverance. Our worship leader recently paused to stare at the cross, then continued to sing. It was powerful and caused us to remember the focus of our worship. Exodus shows us the actions and requirements of the Covenant God who brought us out and gives us His presence. Doug Stuart in Reading the Bible for All Its Worth said Gods presence is what distinguished them from all other people of the earth as well as Gods protection (miraculous deliverance). We live by worshipping Him for past deliverance, present relationship, and future victory.

Grab an index card and write down a praise report, or grab a Bluetooth speaker  and praise Him in all sorts of places—church, streets, homes. Gather with others and share your stories of  why you put your trust in God. Whether you use a harp, or a playlist – let’s share Gods incredible story and heart. We can remind those around us  that He still hates injustice. We can follow the Israelites example and worship Him. He still promises to be with us. We no longer need a tent for God to show up. May the music rise in our hearts and nation as God brings His people out to worship HIM.