So, I’m back on track after that confusing weekend. This IS Day 26 on day 26!
Exodus 2 gets straight into the action with Moses now a grown man. Have I missed a day? No! We have jumped straight from the baby in the bulrushes to the man on a mission. The Israelites, still living in Egypt, are having a miserable time. This new Pharaoh wants to make life as difficult for them as possible. Moses kills an Egyptian who was beating up one of Moses’ people, so he flees to nearby Midian. There he meets a priests’ daughter by a water well. He saves her and her sisters from a bunch of shepherds. Her father is so grateful he invites Moses to stay for tea. Well, some time later, Moses marries the woman called Zipporah. They have a son, Gershom. The years pass and even thought the Pharaoh died, the Israelites are still being forced into slavery.
Exodus 3 and Moses meets God. It’s the burning bush story. The line that stood out for me here is when Moses asks God for proof. He wants to know God’s name. (3:14) “I Am Who I Am”, which translates as YHWH (Yahweh) or Jehovah. As Christians we have one God in three persons, which is very confusing for some.
I can recommend a short story by Arthur C. Clarke “The Nine Billion Names of God”, which asks the question: what would happen if mankind found out what God was really called? The interesting thing is that Clarke was a life-long agnostic (or atheist anyway) and this story supposes that there really IS a God. But here, in the Bible is the answer to that question. He is who he is, YHWH (Yahweh) or Jehovah, or The Lord, or…
How important is a name? Well, it turns out that names are very important. Only today I had to sign a legal document. But I don’t have a passport (gasp!) and I don’t have a photo driving license (another gasp!) and all our household bills are in my wife’s name. So, legally, I don’t exist. Moses needed God’s name as proof of HIS identification. Otherwise, the Pharaoh would just have him killed.
Matthew 17 is uncomfortable reading for Jesus’ disciples. A man’s son is suffering seizures. The disciples have tried to cure him, but to no avail. Jesus calls them, (17:17) “Faithless and corrupt…” He is clearly annoyed and probably exasperated too. Despite everything they’ve seen, the feeding of the crowds, the boat on the lake, the untold hundreds healed… they STILL don’t have enough faith! After healing the boy, he tells them that even faith as small as a mustard seed would move a mountain.
Psalm 22 is a cry to the Lord for help. And what a surprise. The verses here are the ones spoken by Jesus on the cross. (22:1) “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” and the tortures described by the writer are those suffered by Jesus just before and during his crucifixion. We will return to this Psalm later. But for now, what is the significance of it’s inclusion here, today? Do you feel alone, lost, abandoned? The Lord is not far away. You need to keep the faith. You know, that thing that’s smaller than a full stop. Or a mustard seed.
Proverbs 5 continues with a warning to stay away from the immoral woman. Who is she? How can we recognise her? If we assume the writer isn’t speaking literally, it could be a warning to stay away from corruption. Which appears in many tempting forms. (5:8-11) “Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! If you do… strangers will consume your wealth… you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.”
But it’s never too late. The Israelites suffered years of torment before God stepped in to save them. You just need to keep the faith.