Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 43: Songs and Sleep

Exodus 14, 15, & Matthew 26:36-75

These chapters offer us songs and sleep. The songs come from Moses, Miriam and the Israelites. The sleep is sponsored by our beloved Disciples, who just cannot seem to get things right!

Exodus 14:

God sends the Israelites in a new direction, changing the way they anticipated going, much like a key change in any number of songs. The destination is the same, but the path becomes different. God says this change is needed to show the Egyptians that God is real.
I find verse 19 interesting. I had not noticed the mention of the Angel of the Lord going with the Israelites before. While Angel can also be translated messenger, so perhaps this is Moses, I’m just surprised by its use here. The Angle who had gone before now moves behind as does the Pillar of cloud that has been their guard.
Moses listens to God and raises his hands to part the sea. This is translated Red Sea in some versions, but Sea of Reeds might be a closer translation. For hundreds of years people have tried to explain this occurrence by weather patterns, tsunamis, etc. I think that when we try to explain it away, we lose what was intended. There are a lot more things that trouble me in scripture than the miraculous parting of the waters.

 Exodus 15:

In this chapter we are given the songs of Moses and the Israelites as well as Miriam. I will admit to frustration at this chapter, because we get what appears to be a whole song by Moses and the Israelites and then we are given the first line only of Miriam’s song. What’s worse, is her song is an echo of the first line of Moses’ song! I think that the writer calls her a prophetess which is great, but then negates her influence by not giving her and the women more of a voice.
The grumbling of the recently freed Israelites begins early, right after they are saved from the army. They cannot find good water and so they whine and complain once again! God gives them sweet or fresh water by having Moses throw a stick into the water.
They are then led to Elim where they find 12 springs and 70 palm trees. Once again we are given highly symbolic numbers designed to show us God’s provision for God’s people.

Matthew 26:36-75

We watch Jesus and some of the disciples head to Gethsemane. Jesus goes here to pray, to have a real and honest human heart to heart with the Father. He asks the disciples, including Peter, to wait and pray. He finds them 3 times sleeping instead of praying. I wonder how often I am guilty of sleeping, or sleep walking through situations that should be prayed through?
Jesus is arrested, surprisingly not by the Romans, but by the Jewish religious leaders. They come with swords and clubs. Jesus says that he is not leading a rebellion but they came armed to take him. Acts of non-violent disobedience are far too often met with violence from the other side.
At the revelation that Jesus is not leading a rebellion, the disciples all flee. They desert Jesus. How often do we flee when the Jesus we see or encounter is not the one we expected?
Jesus is before Caiaphas, the High Priest, and the Sanhedrin, all night long. They ask for witness after witness and cannot find anything to charge him with based on their testimony. Finally they ask Jesus point blank if he is the Messiah, and he honestly answers that he is the one they are expecting. The truth is too much for them to bare. They beat him and mock him.
I have seen far too many of us, myself included, face truth with mockery and hate instead of love.
Peter denies Jesus three times as Jesus had said would occur before the cock’s crow. I wonder how many times I’ve denied Jesus before my morning cup of coffee.

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