Sh'mot/Exodus Chapter 17-18
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Parash 16 BeShalach (When he let go) Sh’mot/Exodus 13:17 - 17:16:
Synopsis – Soon after allowing the Children of Israel to depart from Egypt, Pharaoh chases after them to force their return, and the Israelites find themselves trapped between Pharaoh's armies and the sea. God tells Moshe/Moses to raise his staff over the water; the sea splits to allow the Israelites to pass through, and then closes over the pursuing Egyptians. Moshe and the Children of Israel sing a song of praise and gratitude to God.
In the desert, the people suffer thirst and hunger and repeatedly complain to Moshe and Aaron. God miraculously sweetens the bitter waters of Marah with a piece of woood, and later has Moshe bring forth water from a rock by striking it with his staff; He causes manna to rain down from the heavens before dawn each morning, and quails to appear in the Israelite camp each evening.
The Children of Israel are instructed to gather a double portion of manna on Friday Erev Shabbat, as none will descend on Shabbat, the divinely decreed day of rest. Some disobey and go to gather manna on the seventh day, but find nothing. Aaron preserves a small quantity of manna in a jar, as a testimony for future generations.
In Rephidim, the people are attacked by the Amalekites, who are defeated by Moshe prayers and an army raised by Yehoshua/Joshua.
Theme & Message – The focus of this lesson is that of letting go of the flesh in its many manifestations. It is about the struggle we, as humans, face when we allow our flesh to interfere with drawing near to our Lord. In order to truly know Him, we must completely trust Him, we must allow Him to take complete control, allow Him to be our provider, allow Him to fight the battles with the enemy. The first critical step in this life change is the letting go of the life we knew before accepting the Lord while also denying the desires of the flesh and only following only what is prescribed in the scriptures. Celebrate only that which is of God. Also we must allow the bitters waters of our life of the past be sweetened by the piece of wood that was used to bring us salvation and living water.
H3130 יוסף yôsêph BDB Definition: Joseph = “Yehovah has added”
H5523 סכּת / סכּות sûkkôth / BDB Definition: Succoth = “booths”
H864 אתם 'êthâm BDB Definition: Etham = “with them: their plowshare”
H6367 פּי החרת pîy hȧchirôth BDB Definition: Pi-hahiroth = “place where sedge grows” Family Cyperaceae, one of the 10 largest families of flowering plants, composed of about 5,000 species of grasslike herbs that inhabit wet regions worldwide.
Sedges are monocots (see cotyledon) of extraordinary ecological importance; forming the base of food webs, they provide food and shelter for aquatic and wetland animals. They are also important as ornamentals and weeds, and are used in woven products such as mats, baskets, screens, and sandals. Key identifying characteristics that distinguish sedges from grasses are solid stems that are often triangular in cross section; leaves, when present, that clasp the stem with a sheath; and small spikes of minute flowers that are not enclosed in bracts. They range in height from about 1 in. to 13 ft (2 cm–4 m). The genus Carex represents the true sedges. Papyrus and bulrushes are also included in this family.
H4024 מגדּל / מגדּול migdôll BDB Definition: Migdol = “tower”
H1189 בּעל צפון ba‛al tsephôn BDB Definition: Baal Tsphon or Baal-zephon = “lord of the north”
H3444 ישׁוּעה yeshû‛âh BDB Definition: 1) salvation, deliverance, 1a) welfare, prosperity, 1b) deliverance, 1c) salvation (by God), 1d) victory
H4813 מרים miryâm BDB Definition: Miriam = “rebellion”
H5488 סוּף sûph BDB Definition: 1) reed, rush, water plant
H4785 מרה mârâh BDB Definition: Marah = “bitter”
H362 אילם 'êylim BDB Definition: Elim = “palms”
H7508 רפידים rephîydîym BDB Definition: Rephidim = “rests” or “stays” or “resting places”
H6002 עמלק ‛ămâlêq BDB Definition: Amalek = “dweller in a valley”
1) son of Eliphaz by his concubine Timnah, grandson of Esau, and progenitor of a tribe of people in southern Canaan
TORAH LESSON –
Sh’mot/Exodus 17 -
Two passages of story are recorded in this chapter,
I. The watering of the host of Israel. 1. In the wilderness they wanted water (Exo_17:1). 2. In their want they chided Moses (Exo_17:2, Exo_17:3). 3. Moses cried to God (Exo_17:4). 4. God ordered him to smite the rock, and fetch water out of that; Moses did so (Exo_17:5, Exo_17:6). 5. The place named from it (Exo_17:7).
II. The defeating of the host of Amalek. 1. The victory obtained by the prayer of Moshe (Exo_17:8-12). 2. By the sword of Yehoshua/Joshua (Exo_17:13). 3. A record kept of it (Exo_17:14, Exo_17:16). And these things which happened to them are written for our instruction in our spiritual journey and warfare.
Immediately upon exiting Egypt the Israelites experience the love and fatherly care of their Lord. He leads them as a great pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. Scripture tells us that the Israelites were well prepared when they left Egypt. They were taken on a special route through desert area to reach the Reed Sea to avoid any possibility of war with the Philistines, which might have caused them overwhelming discouragement. They kept an oath given to Joseph and carried his remains with them as they left Egypt.
Just as the Israelites were adjusting to the idea of their new freedom, Pharaoh and his army pursued them in a sudden attempt to bring them back to captivity and slavery. Understandably, the Israelites became very frightened and cried out to the Lord. They were so anxious, even panicked, that it seemed to them better if they had never left Egypt. Moses reminded them of the power of the God were to serve. He instructed them to stand firm and stand quiet, as the Lord would fight for them.
As the Egyptians drew nearer, Moses was instructed by God to raise his staff and watch as the Reed Sea was split so that the Israelites will be able to cross over on dry land. The Lord made an astonishing statement at this point in the journey. He stated that as His power was revealed to the Israelites, He would also be revealed to the Egyptians. As a loving protective father, the Lord, placed Himself between the Israelites and the Egyptians to allow adequate time for the people to cross over to the other side of the Sea. As the Israelites reached their safe destination, the Egyptians had fully pursued them into the middle of where the sea had been separated. The Lord instructed Moses to wave his hand over the sea and the waters returned washing over the entire Egyptian army. All of them drowned with their horses and chariots. The Israelites celebrated the Lord’s victory in song.
The Israelites traveled only three days into the desert and reached a place called Marah. The name means “bitter” as the water was known to be bitter there. Showing no appreciation for the miracles and care the Lord had just shown to them, they complained to Moses. The Lord showed him a tree that was placed into the water, and it made the water sweet. Here the Lord identified Himself as the the one “who heals you” if His commands are fully obeyed
The Israelites traveled to Elim, a place of twelve springs and seventy date palms. Next they were led to the desert of Sin, where they complained bitterly against Moses and Aaron, wanting pots of meat and loaves of bread .The Lord rained down Manna from Heaven with strict instructions as to how and when and how much was to be gathered each day. This was a test to see whether the hearts of the people would be obedient.
The Lord gave the first commandment regarding the Sabbath. He instructed the people to gather double the portions of manna on the sixth day so that there would be enough to last through the seventh day. They were to do no gathering of manna on the Sabbath.
Again the people quarreled with Moses at Rephidim, where they saw no water to drink. The Lord instructed him to stike a rock with his staff before the elders at Horeb. The water poured out.
At the close of this portion of scripture, the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites . As Joshua was sent in to lead the men in battle, Moses stood on the mountain overlooking the battle with his staff. Whenever his hands were raised, the battle went in favor of the Israelites. Whenever his hands fell, the Israelites fell in battle. Aaron and Chur stood on either side and helped him to sit on a rock and to hold up his hands steadily until sunset. At the end of Israel’s victory, Moses was instructed to write a promise of the Lord. The Lord said that He would be at war with Amalek for all generations and that He would eliminate the memory of the name Amalek from under the heavens.
Sh’mot/ Exodus 18 -
Yitro/Jethro, called the father-in-law of Moshe, hearing of the deliverance which God had granted to Israel, Exo_18:1, took Tzipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eli’ezer, and brought them to Moshe, when the Israelites were encamped near Horeb, Exo_18:2-5. He sends to Moshe, announcing his arrival, Exo_18:6. Moshe goes out to meet him, Exo_18:7, and gives him a history of God’s dealings with the Israelites, Exo_18:8. Yitro greatly rejoices, and makes striking observations on the power and goodness of God, Exo_18:9-11. He offers burnt-offerings and sacrifices to Yehovah, and Aaron and all the elders of Israel feast with him, Exo_18:12. The next day Yitro, observing how much Moshe was fatigued by being obliged to sit as judge and hear causes from morning to evening, Exo_18:13, inquires why he did so, Exo_18:14. Moshe answers, and shows that he is obliged to determine causes between man and man, and to teach them the statutes and laws of God, Exo_18:15, Exo_18:16. Yitro finds fault, and counsels him to appoint men who fear God, love truth, and hate covetousness, to be judges over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, to judge and determine in all smaller matters, and refer only the greater and most important to himself, Exo_18:17-22; and shows that this plan will be advantageous both to himself and to the people, Exo_18:23. Moshe hearkens to the counsel of Yitro, and appoints proper officers over the people, who enter upon their functions, determine all minor causes, and refer only the most difficult to Moshe, Exo_18:24-26. Moshe dismisses Yitro, who returns to his own country, Exo_18:27.
Our Lord, no other gods compare with you—Majestic and holy! Fearsome and glorious! Miracle worker! When you signaled with your right hand, your enemies were swallowed deep into the earth. The people you rescued were led by your powerful love to your holy place. Exodus 15:11-13
BRIT HADASHA LESSON – Scripture tells us that sin is a form of slavery and that when we become free from sin, we then become servants of the Lord of Heaven and earth (Rom 6:17-18,22). The Word is clear that we can depend on our Father God (Mat 6:26) to lead us on paths away from sin and into righteousness (Luke 11:4)(Rev 7:17). We can rely on God to equip us and prepare us for our journey (Luke 1:17). We are reminded many times throughout the scriptures that our enemy will never forget that we were once his servants (Eph 2:1-3) (1John 4:18). Satan will therefore fight endlessly to remind us of our past life, our past sins (1Peter 5:8). He will always try to make even the foul stench and bitterness of our past even seem better than it actually ever was (Rom6:20-21)(1Co10:9-10). Satan will even try to make us doubt the reality of the miracles and power God has shown in our lives to bring us out of our own sin (John 2:23-25)(Mar 5: -15-18), because he does not want our victory to be revealed to others. (Mark 5:19-20) He does not ever want God’s power and love to be revealed to those who are not yet saved. Scripture reminds us how easily we are tempted to forget the miracles and to begin complaining about our circumstances (1Cor 2:12, 10:10). It was the tree on which Yeshua was crucified that the Lord used to bring us to the sweet living water from Heaven. (John 4:14) We are warned not to allow the desires of our flesh to tear down the sweetness of life in Messiah, Yeshua (Heb 13:5). He has made a way for us to be free from sin and death and to have the sweetness of His promises even now while we live on earth (Eph 2: 8-13)(John.6: 35, 51, 10:10) Yeshua was the one who entered into battle on our behalf to conquer sin and death. It was Yeshua who proclaimed He is Lord of the Sabbath and the Living Bread from Heaven who has brought us a way to find rest from the labors of this life (Mat 12:8). It is our obligation to lift our hands and surrender our life of flesh for the eternal life he offers to us. It is our obligation to lift our hands in praise of His glory. The battle has always been the Lord’s and not our own. The Word teaches us to stand on the Rock of salvation (1Co 10:1-5) and allow our Lord to fight our battles while we sing His praises and wait on Him. For all generations, the Lord Himself will be at war with those who would fight against His people, His servants (2Co10: 2-6). For those who would attack the servants of the Lord are really fighting with God Himself. (Rom 13:2)(1Th4:8)
The Lord wishes for us to forever celebrate and sing of the great things he has done for us and for us to celebrate our victory over sin and death. Revelation 15:2-4 tells us that in the end of days those who will be victorious by standing with God in the face of the beast (Satan) will sing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb.
The name of Amalek does not appear anywhere in the Brit Hadasha. The Lord blotted the name from the scriptures.
TODAY’S TEMPLE – Read Galatians 5:13-17 and Romans 6:12-23. As those who who have the temple of the living God within us we must encourage others by our actions and words to exercise the freedom which has been purchased with the precious blood of Yeshua. We must first recognize that when we complain or when we have jealousy, it is in those moments that we place ourselves in bondage as though we had been captured and sent back to Egyptian slavery. We must recognize the power that we have through Yeshua to set ourselves free from these vain and petty thoughts and feelings. When we find ourselves looking back at our old lives as if it were good, we are flatly denying the beautiful gifts and blessings set before us in the hope and promise of salvation and the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua.
As today’s disciples of Yeshua we are to learn through the example of Moses and the ancient Hebrews. Being set free from the slavery of sin is joyous, but it is only the beginning of our new life. With that freedom comes responsibility and, if we walk in obedience and faith, there also comes great blessings and fulfilled promises of God. Yeshua, as God, came to earth to be the perfect lamb to shed His blood and display His great power over sin and death. He also made a promise to always be with us and that he was going to prepare a place for us to be together with Him in eternity.
Whenever we feel discouraged or defeated by stumbling in sin, we need only to proclaim our freedom in Yeshua (John 8:36)
When faced with persecution or attack be still and know that He is God (Psa 46:10)
The key to a victorious walk with our Lord is to always remember that the battle belongs to the Lord (Zec 4:6)
When situations appear overwhelming or terrible, seek refuge in the Lord, rest in Him, in His shalom, trust the Lord to make a way for your good.
Whenever you are attacked, persecuted, burdened or overwhelmed praise and glorify the Lord, sing and dance with joy especially when, in the natural, there seems to be no reason. (Acts 16:25-27)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be sober and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah—as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior. 1Peter 1: 13-15
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