Your children, your future
Bo (Come) Exodus/Sh’mot 10:1-13:16
Today we study what may be the most important Torah portion of the year. In the very first verse we read where G-d told Moshe to, “Come” to Pharaoh. Here Moshe was to relate to Pharaoh G-d’s final three plagues, locust, darkness and death of the first born. Sh’mot 10:1 reads, “And the L-rd said to Moshe, Come to Pharaoh.” In all other times G-d told Moshe to go to Pharaoh. Why was the word “come” used here? I believe this gives all of us an important clues to the character of the Father. G-d was telling Moshe that no matter what we face G-d will be with us. He will already be there before us. Our faith should be strengthened by the use of this small word in this verse.
We are never alone. I pray this comforts each of you. We also see this same promise in Deut. 31:8. If we look in the Messianic Scriptures we can find the same encouragement in Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20 and Romans 8:31-39. We can draw strength from these promises just as Moshe did here in our portion. No matter what comes to us He will be there with us. I believe the use of this word come, here in our portion, would have given Moshe a feeling of peace as he entered into the presence of Pharaoh. May it also comfort us as well.
G-d told Israel, in Exodus 12:2, to mark their calendar for this month would be the beginning of months for them. At this time on their calendar G-d would be taking them out of Egypt, out of slavery. I think each of us can learn from this event. Just as Israel was beginning a new phase of their life, we share something of the same kind of event in our own spiritual walk. We all should remember our lives changed when we came out of darkness into light.
To help the Israelites G-d gave them a whole new calendar, not a calendar based on Egypt but one based on G-d’s deliverance from the darkness of oppression. This calendar would be based on the love of G-d. Again, so it is with us. We are set free from old habits and sin. We were made different by the hand of G-d. This doesn’t mean we can just sit back and relax. We are a different people. With G-d’s help we can change into who he created us to be. We are now children of the King. So as we come to this portion each year allow it to renew and refresh you in your personal walk with G-d.
In our portion Moshe also set out the commandments related to Passover. This holiday is celebrated each year in the month of Aviv, also known by its Babylonian name of Nissan. I know you are very familiar with what we do during the week of Passover. Leavening is not eaten for eight days. This week long holiday begins and ends with a Shabbat. This should help us grasp another aspect of Passover. I think G-d is emphasizing that these two Shabbats plus the weekly Shabbat represents a time of resting in our redemption. It is a time to celebrate our freedom from the old things that so easily try to come back to us. We feel pressure to go go go until we are worn out and in that condition can easily take a step back into old habits. All sins do not go quietly into the night. When we are tired and exhausted we are vulnerable. Take time to rest and concentrate on the Father.
Now to move on to one of my questions for this week. I asked you to look at a few verses, Exodus 12:26-27, Exodus 13:8, Exodus 13:14. What do you think Moshe was saying to the people and also to us in these verses? He was about to lead these people out of Egypt to a new life. Moshe gathered the people together and spoke to them before they set out on their journey to the Promise Land. What do you think he might have spoken about? Maybe he talked about freedom, the breaking of their chains. He might have even told them about their destination, a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:17) He might have explained their long walk to freedom that was ahead of them, as Nelson Mandela called it.
However, he did none of these things. Instead he spoke about their children, their future, and their duty to pass on their memories to the next generation that was not even born yet. To make his point he turned to this theme three times in this Torah portion.
So here when Israel was standing on the doorstep of freedom Moshe told them they had to become a nation of teachers. These verses tell us freedom is not won on the battlefield but in the human heart. To defend a country you need an army. But to defend a free society you need to teach your children what makes them truly free. We are free because of what G-d has done for us not what the government did or did not do for us. We must pass on to our children what our journey has been and how G-d directed our life. We must share with our children and others what G-d has done for us. Sharing our history of faith and who G-d is is our only true freedom. So, as you sit with your friends, your children or your family what will you share with them of your walk of faith and what G-d has done for you? How can you continue educating others on what true freedom is?