Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Exodus Part 1 - The Cry

I love the exodus story. I think one of the things lacking in our modern practice of Christianity is the remembrace of the major events in the history of the people of God. We sometimes forget that their history is our history, and without it our faith, our rituals, our understanding of God has no root.

Many things in Exodus parallel the Christian walk. No, it's not perfect, and trying to make things match up too closely cheepens both the history and personal experience. Still, when you look at both side by side it can be facinating. It shows we're all connected. The Exodus sotry isn't something tha thappened to a people group long long ago, it is a living story, told by the living God, that has happened in lives for generations and continues to happen now.

It begins with a cry:

Exodus 2
23During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25God saw the people of Israel--and God knew.

Most of us have heard a message at one point or another about how we are slaves to sin and can't free ourselves, but if we cry out to God He will hear us, forgive us, and break our chains. That's what God does, that is what He has always done.

The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for a long time. In fact, the ones in this story weren't even the ones who had originaly gone to Egypt. They were born there, they did not seek out slavery, they found themselves in it. The sin that we need to be saved from isn't just the sin that we do, it is the sin that we find ourselves in. If people try hard enough they can stop doing most things, at least for a time. Still, there is something deeper holding us back, and we are bound to it.

When the Israelites called out to God it could be they didn't know who they were calling to. At that point there was no Law, no rituals, no commandments, no religion as we see it. But there was knowledge of something greater than them, something bigger than the gods of the Egyptians. Something their forefathers had known and had experienced. They themselves had not experienced Him, they only had the stories, which seemed, I'm sure, more myth than anything else. And still they took a chance.

It saddens me that as a whole, the Church seems to want to hide God away, to keep Him only for those inseide its walls, for fear of wasting Him on those who haven't experienced, who don't understand. We're afraid to talk about our experiences with God for fear of someone thinking we're crazy, or that it's only legond, stories etc. I feel any knowledge of truth we can get out there is better than none.

And so the exodus begins. People cry out to God, and God answers. Something so simple, so easy, and yet so complex and difficult. From that moment, everything changes.

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