Welcome to my second “watershed wandering“. This “wander” is through the book of Exodus and the 21 posts about water that I found and reflected on there. I floated this stretch of the bible from July 23 to August 13, 2014. It is in Exodus that God and His spirit as a Godly Condensate really “condenses”.
Exodus begins with heart-wrenching infanticide when Pharaoh decides there are too many Jewish people in Egypt. God turns this horrific human event into a spiritual victory by moving in the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-8). Moses, which apparently means “drawn out of water”, was to become a means of salvation for the Israelites through their exodus from Egypt, just as Jesus is our salvation through our “exodus” (escape) from sin.
Exodus is about stepping out in faith even when the outcome is unknown or uncertain. Whether this means placing one’s baby in a basket or rappelling to church! Going out boldly in this way can be really hard and scary, and there may be consequences along the way that are confusing and complicated.
Moses found this out as he attempted to navigate these choppy waters from his strange position straddling two very different cultures. He was Jewish yet he was also an important person within the house of pharaoh, a man without a people. Moses makes some poor choices with his freedom and eventually flees to Midian where he probably thought he was going to live a quiet life away from Egypt. God had other plans. Of course it took a burning bush and some pretty awesome events before the actual exodus could happen.
God makes some natural features, mainly the Nile River, act in ways that made the Egyptians understand that the God of Moses was capable conjuring blood and water, whether through metaphysical miracles or ecosystem manipulation. The softening of Pharaoh’s heart was not a rapid process and required sensitivity to God’s timing and miracles on the part of Moses and Aaron, it involved much bitter water and sacrifice. Moses proves to be a faithful follower, even through what must have been a stressful escape and the parting of the Red Sea. He is quick to give credit to God for their deliverance, albeit in an uncharacteristically lyrical and poetic way.
The exodus is a continual listening lesson for the Israelites. They are constantly reminded to keep God at the center of our lives even when our path seems to be a hopeless maze of mishaps. In order to effectively navigate some of these dark and dangerous times we will need to develop spiritual whiskers so we can hear God’s voice and avoid calamities.
Constant conflict and adversity can make us grumblers, focused on the obstacles rather than the One who can help us overcome them. It is OK to ask the question, is the Lord among us or not? I think my answer to this question is an emphatic “yes”! The form that God takes, at least this point in history, is a “Godly condensate” that can surround and permeate the souls of those who allow it.
At this point the Isrealites have escaped bondage in Egypt, followed Moses through a sea, wandered about in the desert, and finally they reach some sense of stability and their first instinct is to begin to build tabernacles and traditions to honor God. This in itself is not bad. God seems to have requested and directed some of these sacrifices and traditions. These efforts were trying to contain the uncontainable, like capturing a cloud. God’s permeating, Elemental Presence, has always been difficult to understand, and He remains so today. The difference between now and the time of Exodus is that the “cloud” came to earth and showed us what the indwelling of God’s Spirit should look like.
Prayer: God you are in the business of leading us out of conflict and calamity. Help us to seek You at the center of our souls.