Torah Portion: Sh’mot Exodus 10-13 B’shallach (He Sent)
HafTorah: Judges 4:4-5:31
Tonight we read about the crossing of the Reed Sea, the provision of manna and the attack of the Amalikites. I believe G-d has much to say to us about faith and how to live that faith out everyday of our lives.
Maybe it would be good to start with my second question of the week. What is the connection between manna and Sabbath, if anything? We will end with my first question, How do we glorify G-d? As we look at the connection between manna and the Sabbath, remember the people had been slaves for hundreds of years. Their lives had been lived in a strange land far from the fulfillment of G-d’s promises. So, as they left Egypt, we wonder, what did they know if anything about who they were and what connection did they have with the promises of G-d to Avraham, Yitzak and Ya’acove?
One encouraging verse tells us that all had not been lost. Any ideas on what verse this is? Remember in Genesis 50:25 Joseph asked that when they go out of Egypt they would take his bones to be buried in the Land. Here in our Parasha we read of Moses and the Israelites remembering and honoring Joseph’s request in Exodus 13:19. So from this we can understand there was still some remembrance of what was and some expectation of freedom from their slavery.
In chapter 16 of our reading we come to the giving of manna by G-d as a daily provision to the children of Israel. This provision would continue until they entered the Land almost 40 years later. What is interesting, interwoven in this giving of manna is the first commandment of the Sabbath. So our question is what is the connection, what do they have to do with each other? First we read in Exodus 16:22-26 that on the sixth day the people were to gather double so that there would be manna for the Sabbath. In earlier verses we were told on all other days to only gather enough for that day. If they gathered more than they needed for the day it would rot and they would not be able to eat it. In fact, in Exodus 16:29-30 the people were instructed to NOT go out even looking for it on Shabbat but to stay in their place. So they rested on the seventh day.
Let’s look deeper into the connection between the two. In a way, G-d was starting at the beginning in speaking to the people about trust. He wanted them to trust in Him. This was not an easy lesson. In Exodus 16:27 we read where some went out on the Sabbath looking for manna even though they were told not to. It was hard to trust G-d and it still is for us. G-d was asking the people to trust Him for their provision. He was teaching them that He is the source of everything. He was saying to them and to us, “I was, I am, I will be.” He has not and will not change. Proverbs 3:5, Psalms 56:3-4, Psalms 13:5, Psalms 40:4, John 14:27. G-d is our provider. Our problem begins when we see ourselves as responsible, it is up to us. Sometimes when we get to the end of ourselves we might cry out to G-d to save us after we have tried everything else. At that point He is our last resort. However, a deeper faith is to believe and know that everything we have is really from Him. The success of our “going out” is really still Him. But it is important for us to remember even in our successes we are simply vessels being used by G-d. They are His successes.
The Sabbath tells us the same thing. It is a day when we trust G-d to be our provider, our sole provider. We are no longer slaves. G-d expects us to go out and do what we can to gather but He will be there everyday and the seventh day is when we can rest and learn from Him about how we should live our lives.
This brings me to my other question, “What does it mean to glorify G-d in our lives? Exodus 15:2 is the verse I asked you to look at for this question. In this verse is the phrase, “Va An Va Hu” means I and Him. It is saying we glorify G-d, we praise G-d by being like Him. We do what He does. We are merciful, we are kind for He is kind and merciful. As we mature in our faith, we take the time necessary to come closer to the Father. Yeshua tells us in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father. (John 14:9) We see Yeshua pattern for us the love, mercy, kindness and compassion of G-d. For us to come to a place of complete trust in G-d for everything, to recognize Him as our all, comes with work on our part. Just as the people went out to gather manna six days a week, we participate with G-d. We learn who He is and how He works and we follow His example in our own lives. We strive to be and have those qualities of the Father. Shabbat is a great way to do that. On Shabbat we take time to breathe Him in and come closer to Him each day.