Everybody Loves Moses III

đź“… July 26, 2020

The children of Israel reached the Red Sea, trapped with the army of Pharaoh approaching.

Exodus 14–The Red Sea crossing recounts the best known example of people who had no choice but to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”  [v.13-14] And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see he salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

  • God wanted to order the lives of His people so it would be impossible for them to go back to Egypt.  Exodus 13:17 And behold I will harden the hearts of he Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon his host, upon his chariots and upon his horsemen.
  • He wanted them to be completely dependent on Him.  Exodus 13:22 And the children of Israel went into  the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.
  • He wanted honor from Pharaoh (the world). Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so. [See also Joshua 2:10—when the spies came to Jericho, Rahab said, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you.”]
  • He wanted His people to learn to wait.  Exodus 14:19-21. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not hear the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
  • He wanted them to have faith.  Hebrews 11:29. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

Following the Red Sea Crossing, Moses and the children of Israel sang:

Exodus 15: 2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God and I will exalt him. [17] thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou haste made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.

And when that promise is fulfilled–they are “brought in,”–Moses gives his final blessing to the tribes of Israel—the finale of the Pentateuch. Often in Deuteronomy, Moses has admonished the people of Israel. Throughout the book, however, he also has offered the people blessings and a vision of God’s love and potential rewards. Now, at the very end, Moses fills the people with hope and promise as he speaks to them. As the greatest of teachers, Moses puts into words what they instinctively know they long for but cannot quite articulate.

Moses and Israel began together as an one-time prince leading a band of slaves to freedom. Now, the people of Israel are not only free but also they are about to be responsible for their own lives in their own land. As they become a sovereign people, Moses stitches them together, tribe after tribe, weaving a dramatic finale:

Deuteronomy 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and win; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy are thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of they help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

This stunning statement confirms the Israelites’ greatest hope envisioning a time even beyond the battles that lie ahead when they finally will live in security and safety.

This portion contains Moses’ last blessing, indeed his last words to the entire people, one nation with many attributes and possibilities.

The Root of Blessing

Some say that the Hebrew word for blessing berakhah [Bear-uh-kuh] shares the same root as the word for knee [berekh] as in “bend the knee.” This is Moses’ berakhah: to gather the best within and around themselves so as to fulfill the “promise” of the Promised Land.

After Moses blesses the tribes, he then stands atop Mount Nebo and surveys the entire land. Viewing the Negev and the valley of Jericho — city of date palms south to Zoar, perhaps Moses feels some sense of closure, an acceptance of what he could and could not accomplish in a lifetime.

Part of Moses’ blessing involves the ability to dream of what he will not see or experience directly. Affirming the future is what leadership is all about: knowing that our best dreams may be realized by others who come after us.

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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.