[su_spoiler title=”What is a parsha?“]The weekly Torah portion (Hebrew: פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ Parashat ha-Shavua, popularly just parsha) is a section of the Torah read publicly and aloud in weekly Jewish prayer services, usually in full during the Shabbat (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath). Each week, the ECI Young Adults are providing us with a commentary on it. This week’s parasha is from Exodus 13:17–17:16 is entitled Beshalach (בְּשַׁלַּח) which in Hebrew means “when he let go”[/su_spoiler]
A New nation is Born: Egypt is devastated with 10 different plagues, the final of which kills all their first born children. Finally, Pharaoh relents and let the people of Israel leave the land of Egypt. Rejoicing, they journey into the wilderness…
However, the Lord didn’t lead them by the shortest route to the land of the Philistines. Why not? Maybe because God knew that if they tasted war they would return to Egypt. Instead, He led them to a dead end at the Red Sea. The Lord told Moses, “I will lead them here because Pharaoh will think that they are confused and I will once again harden his heart in order that I might have the Glory.”
As the army of Egypt came out against Israel, the Lord parted the Red sea and the nation of Israel crossed over to the other side. Egypt followed, but as they attempted to cross the Lord released the sea and destroyed the greatest army in the world. Watching the carnage safely from the shore, Israel rejoiced, worshiped and praised the Lord their deliverer. In the next few chapters, God reveals His nature as their provider through mana (bread), quail (meat), and water from a stone. God reveals himself as their “victory banner” when he takes Israel into its first battle as a nation.
When we first come to know Christ Jesus there is a work that he starts in our lives. He doesn’t take us along the shortest route because like Israel we are not mature enough yet to face the battles ahead. Instead He takes us to a dead-end where we are forced to face the very thing we are trying to escape. There, God reveals himself as our savior. Before He can show us anything else about himself we have to first know that He is our savior. Then, like Israel, we learn the next lesson, that God and only God is our provider. He takes us into a place without natural provision and provides miraculously for all of our needs. In these time, we are tempted to look back at our old life of slavery and say “I wish I was back there.” Instead we need to be recounting all the ways that God has faithfully intervened in our circumstances. But, like any good father, God is training us to maturity and at some point we get to go into battle for the first time, but only after we have tasted God’s salvation and provision.
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” (Psalm 18:34-35)
Israel, how God delights in her! And how He loves to let her but put into impossible places that only He can rescue her from. “Why do the Nations rage, and the Kings of the earth plot vain things?” God is still the God of Israel when he will be glorified. Israel continues to be a witness to all the nations of God’s faithfulness. Without disregarding that they are a smart and strong people group, it is still God that provides for all their needs in a parched wilderness. It is still God that continues to frustrate the plans of the Nations against Israel. The Lord is the God that lead them through the Red sea and he will surround them till the Day he returns.
The European Coalition for Israel is a unique grassroots movement, which is seeking to promote better relations between Europe and Israel through advocacy and education. More information: www.ec4i.org
Header image: modified Symonds Yat Maze by Nick Clark