Torah Portion: Bo(Come) Exodus(Sh’mot) 10:1-13:16
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 46:13-28
Tonight, we come to the climax of G-d’s hand freeing the people from their four hundred years in Egypt. I want to mention the opening word of this portion which is “Bo.” Translated into English it is Go. However, this is a Hebrew word that has as its most prominent meaning “Come.” When looked at in this light we can just hear G-d saying to Moshe, “Come into Pharaoh.” G-d was assuring Moshe that He, G-d, was already there before him. He was not to fear Pharaoh or what he might threaten to do, for G-d was with Moshe. I pray we each can hold on to this truth in our own life. No matter what lies before us G-d is already there waiting for us to rest in Him.
Now let’s get to the last of the plagues. These last three plagues have one thing in common. Have you noticed what that is? The common theme is darkness. G-d sent locust, so many that the land was covered. Exodus 10:15. They destroyed everything left by the hail. The next plague was darkness so thick they could feel it. Exodus 10:22-23. Then the last, the final plague, the death of the first born took place at midnight – in the darkness.
All of these plagues were making a point to Pharaoh and his people. The most revered god of Egypt was the god “Ra.” It was believed that he controlled the sun and brought the cycles of the year. They believed this contributed to the agricultural wealth of Egypt. So, these last three plagues were making the point that Ra was nothing next to G-d Almighty Who controls all. Interestingly, the word Ra in Hebrew means evil. This added emphasis to the point that not only was Ra powerless but that any god outside of HaShem was evil and something that brought evil upon the people who worshipped false gods.
The last plague, the death of the first born, brought Pharaoh and Egypt to their knees and he ordered them to leave. Exodus 12:31. In Exodus 12:12 we read the purpose of all the plagues. G-d executed judgment on all the gods of Egypt.
Also, in chapter 12 we read of the beginning of the holiday of Passover. G-d gave the people clear instructions on what to do to prepare for this event. Blood was to be put on the door posts and food prepared. They were even given instructions on what to eat, what not to eat and how to eat it. All of these details were to be remembered each year and celebrated with a special meal and time together for each family Why did G-d command the people to do this each year? What was the point? He wanted them to never forget what He had done for them. He had delivered them from slavery, became their personal G-d and gave them a purpose for their life, something bigger than themselves. They were treasured people. This was a pattern G-d wanted all mankind to learn. He is all powerful and can bring each of us out of our own personal Egypt, become our personal G-d and give us purpose that is bigger than ourselves.
The Israelites were to teach this to their children so they too would learn what G-d did for them. This should speak to each of us. We need to take time to remember what G-d has done for us and what He does for us daily. We should teach our children, telling them who we are and what a difference G-d makes in our lives. We have been set free and changed completely, not just one day a week when we go to church. But we are changed, new creations at home, work or wherever we are. How we live our life each day is what we really believe not head knowledge that does not change us. Our life must reflect who we are all the time, slaves to the Father, the Lover of our soul.
Now to my question for the week. In Exodus/Sh’mot 4:22-23 we read where G-d called Israel, “My son, My first born.” In Hosea 11:1 He said, “When Israel was a child I loved him and brought him out of Egypt, I called him.” In John 3:16 we read, “For G-d so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” How do we reconcile these verses? How can Israel be G-d’s first born and Yeshua His only begotten Son? In Matthew 2:15 we read where he ties Hosea 11:1-2 to Yeshua rather than Israel. How? It can for sure be used that way, however it can also be used as speaking about the people of Israel as it is in our Torah portion. My point is, we can use these verses in several ways. The historical church used these passages to replace the Jewish people with the church saying G-d has rejected Israel because of their unbelief. And now the church holds the role of the chosen by G-d.
My view is different. I believe from Genesis/Bresheet 12:1-3 we can see G-d’s plan. In these verses we read of G-d’s plan for the descendants of Avraham. In Exodus 19:6, Deut. 14:2, Isaiah 61:6 and Deut. 7:6 and many more verses we read how the people of Israel are described as holy people, chosen by G-d, crown of beauty in the hand of the L-rd. We also see in the Messianic scriptures these same words to describe believers in the Messiah such as I Peter 2:9-10, I Peter 2:5, Revelations 1:6 and Titus 2:14. I think Paul helps us with this dilemma in Romans 11 where he addresses the early believers and how they should see Israel. In Romans 11:1 it says, did G-d reject His people? By no means! In Romans 11:11 did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all, Romans 11:12-13 gives us a picture of what G-d’s plan is. He has not forgotten His people. His plan is that their spiritual promises will be realized when they come to faith in Yeshua and they are grafted back in to their own olive tree just as we wild branches have been grafted in. We are grafted in to the tree whose roots are deep into the forefathers. The Jewish people are our older brothers and sisters. We often forget Yeshua was born a Jew, lived a Jewish life, and died a Jew. Our heritage is wrapped up in all the bible not just the last third of the book. The Messiah had to come from Israel where G-d’s promise to Avraham would see its fulfillment. Yeshua was a unique Son of Israel begotten by G-d, one of a kind among the chosen people of G-d.