Torah Portion: B’shallach(After he had let go)Ex./Sh’mot 13:17-17:16
Haftorah Reading: Judges 4:4-5:31
To begin tonight I have a question for you. In our Torah portion in Exodus 15:23 we see the second place the children of Israel stopped was at a place called Marah and they could not drink the water there because it was bitter. An English translation of Marah is bitter. Where else in the bible do we see this word Marah? In Ruth 1:20 Naomi’s husband and sons had all died. She said to no longer call her by the name Naomi but to call her Mara because the L-rd had dealt bitterly with her. I think this is another example of the wealth of meanings found in Hebrew words.
Another example is in Exodus 14:1. The children of Israel camped 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 to freedom or return to life before redemption.
Now on to our portion this week. I asked you to look at Exodus 16:32-33 and see what this ancient instruction has to teach us in our modern world. In these two verses G-d gave instructions to fill a jar with manna. It was to be kept for generations to come to see what G-d fed them in the wilderness. In fact, this container was to be kept in the Ark along with the tablets of the Law and the staff of Aaron.
The exact meaning of the Hebrew word for the container wasn’t clear whether it was to be an earthen jar or a glass container but for our study tonight it seems an earthen jar would have been the likely choice.
The more important question is what was G-d’s reason for telling Moshe to keep this jar through their generations. Why did G-d give these instructions? What was His purpose? What does it mean to us if anything? There have been many reasons suggested such as it would be a sign of the final redemption. It could have also been looked at over the years as a sign of the provision of G-d for His people. It would bring to mind His love and care for His people.
Now I want to consider what does this say to us? How does it broaden our connection and reliance on the Father in our own life? As followers of the Messiah we are to be able to remember clearly and share clearly our walk of faith. What is our manna? What can we point to and use to explain who we are and what G-d has done for us? Maybe we can look at the words of G-d to the people in our portion or other verses that remind us of who G-d is and what He had done for us in our lives. Exodus 20:1-2, “And G-d spoke all these words, saying, I am the L-rd your G-d who have brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery.” G-d is faithful. He brought us out of bondage.
My question is, what gives you hope and reminds you every day that G-d is in control, that He loves you and is with you no matter what happens. Like the manna, what do we draw on or feed on for life? Where do we go when we need direction or strength in our life? Our daily manna is the word of G-d found in scripture. It is like the manna that the people ate each day. We can read it and study it each day. Also the Spirit of G-d is our constant companion.
We must remember that our daily, public walk of faith is a testimony to the world of who we are and what we believe. In II Corinthians 3:2-3, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men, clearly you are an epistle of Yeshua, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the spirit of the living G-d, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” Whether we think we are this witness or not, the world watches G-d’s people. Our task is to be true to what G-d has done for us and live a life fed by the manna of G-d’s word. We carry our witness in jars of clay. We are today’s jars of manna. Our lives should reflect this clearly to the world by how we live, how we speak and how we relate to this world. Remember G-d is still providing for His people even while we are in the wilderness. The Promised Land is our final destination and until then we are to reflect our G-d in everything we do and say.
Bless each of you today.