Torah Portion: B’Shallach Exodus 13:17-17:16

HafTorah: Judges 4:4-5:31

New Testament: Luke 2:22-24; John 6:25-35; 19:31-37; 1Cor. 10:1-13; II Cor. 8:1-15; Revelations 15:1-4

In this weeks Torah section we see Israel enter a state much like a prior time in man’s history. What was it? It was the time of the Garden of Eden. Here in Sinai they did not have to work for their daily bread and G-d was constantly among them. They went through the redemption from slavery and entered, in some ways, a Garden of Eden. How can we compare this to our state spiritually? We too have been set free. G-d has said He is always with us and never leaves us. He provides us daily with our spiritual food. It is up to us to go and gather it but it is there for our gathering.


To be in this place it was necessary for Israel to put distance between them and Egypt. The word for Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzriam. One of the meanings of this word is, “boundary.” Israel needed to put space between them and Egypt. Why was that? They had been slaves for 400 years. It is easy to take the slave out of slavery, not so easy to take slavery out of the slave. So in Exodus 13:17 we see G-d leading them the long way around. He wanted them to have time to set that boundary in their lives. So it is with us, when we come out of the world we change our lives. We don’t hang around with some of the people and in some of the situations we used to frequent. We need to have boundaries (Romans 12:2, I John 5:19) in our lives.

So Israel sets out from Egypt and in Chapter 14:1 they camp at Pi Hahiroth across from Ba’al Zephon. The name Pi Hahiroth means, Mouth of Freedom and Ba’al Zephon means “lord of the north,” an Egyptian deity. So, quickly Israel finds itself at a cross roads, either go through the Mouth of Freedom or back to Egypt. With some fear (Exodus 14:10) they chose to cross the Sea of Reeds. We are often faced with this choice, continue on through freedom or return to life before redemption.

Israel chose to pass through the waters and enter a form of Eden. However, even in Eden we must spiritually drink from the Living Word each day. If not we can become disillusioned as well. So like the children of Israel, we can become bitter and thirsty. Here they arrive at Marah (bitter) complaining to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here where there is nothing to drink!” Their mood reflected the name of the place. They were bitter. Moses, at G-d’s command threw a piece of a tree into the water and it became sweet. To what can we compare the tree? It could represent the cross of Messiah Yeshua, or it could refer to Genesis 2:9 and the tree at the center of the Garden of Eden. The tree of life was also mentioned in Revelations 22:2. So it spans scripture from Genesis to Revelations. Maybe it could also mean staying connected to G-d by study, prayer and meditation on Him and His word. This truly keeps us from developing bitterness and becoming despondent in our faith. Yeshua said in John 7:38 that rivers of living waters will flow from those that believe in Him. In Hebrew, living water means water on the move. We should move forward every day in our spiritual life

Now we come to the miracle of “Manna” or “What’s this?” In chapter 16:15-16 we read about this miracle. Scripture says every person collected what they needed and then it goes on to qualify it to say they collected one omer. How is it that a child and an adult would need the same amount? It must be speaking of more than physical need. Each person had to trust G-d that an omer was enough no matter what. So maybe each of us has a faith /trust need that G-d was teaching Israel and us. The Israelites could not put leftovers in the refrigerator. Every night found them looking into an empty pantry and outside was a vast desert. Their and our only hope is G-d’s goodness and faithfulness to supply what we need. Trust in G-d to supply what we need. This is hard to learn but to not learn it leaves us at Marah, bitter about how G-d has failed us. Maybe our wants do not match our needs. Read Phil. 4:19

Do not let bitterness become resident in your life but stay connected with G-d everyday, trusting Him who can supply all we need.