Thursday, January 7, 2016

Parashat Va'era ("and I appeared") Exodus 6:2-9:35



Parashat Va'era ("and I appeared")  Exodus 6:2-9:35
                       
In the first aliyah of this weeks Parasha, HaShem reveals His name to Moses.  A name that He had kept hidden from Abraham, Isaac and to Jacob. 

“I appeared (וָאֵרָא) to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai (אֵל שַׁדָּי), but by my name YHVH (שְׁמִי יהוה) I did not make myself known to them. (Exod. 6:2-3)”

HaShem explains that His name is “I AM” or rather that is the revelation that He supplied Moses.
“God spoke to Moses and said to him, 
"I am the LORD" (וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל-משֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהוָֹה:).
           
I wonder however, if HaShem spoke face to face with Moshe as Yeshua but kept His name secret still.

Anyhoo, is it a coincidence that Rachel wrote a devotional just last night for our church on this very parasha without knowing what week it is? Maybe, but I shall leave the temptation to use her devotional and write my own study.

The parasha this week is about the struggle for hope internally as much as it is about powerful miracles.  The verse that really stood out to me (and Rachel for her devotional) is Exodus 6:9,
“And Moshe spoke so to the people of Israel; but they listened not to Moses because of their anguished spirit, and because of the cruel slavery.”

Imagine a can or bottle of soft drink that when shaken or stirred produces a powerful motivational “urgency” inside the can or bottle to “RELEASE”!   Nothing can stop the pressure from forcing the substance out of its jailed confines – except time and hard knocks.  

That’s right, after shaking a can of soft drink you can wait a long time period and the urgent, excited pressure will finally subside or you can knock of the bottom of the can – about 4 hard finger flicks - (sometimes the sides) and the knocks will literally beat the excitement out of the can.  The pressure goes away, and everything returns to normal.  This is the picture of Yisrael.

The hard knocks of Mitzrayim מִצְרָיִם had subdued the hearts of the people and left them “normal”.  They had lost the urgency to return to the land that HaShem had promised.

Here’s the worst part.  In Exodus 7, Moshe begins showing miraculous signs to Pharaoh and to the Hebrews.  Can you imagine how these signs and wonders would have begun shaking the can.  The staff of Moshe turned into a snake, but the magicians could do the same – another knock to keep the pressure down.

Finally in Exodus 9, it appears that Pharaoh will let the Hebrews go  - to worship.   The can is fully shaken and about to explode and then comes ANOTHER massive and painful knock – Pharaoh changes his mind.

It is at THIS point that I can imagine the Hebrews hearts being completely convinced that even HaShem can’t help them.    Too many knocks for too long.  When will it ever end?  Can HaShem really save?? 

Last week I said to a friend, “HaShem usually waits until the odds are completely stacked against Him”.   There’s that “WAIT” word.

But it’s true.  In the case of Moshe and the Hebrews, HaShem allowed disappointment after disappointment (knocks on the can) until His perfect time.   And then He showed Himself powerfully and marvellously. 

Why?  Because bubbles in a can, when shaken, make a huge mess.  

A can that has had all the bubbles knocked out, will pour perfectly.

HaShem is more than able to save.  In fact, this whole parasha give us greater insight or rather, a greater  “appearance” of who HaShem is:
(1): Exodus 7:17: "In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord".  He exists and is all powerful; much more powerful than any magic.   These signs and wonders were a statement of powerful position.
(2): Exodus 8:22: "to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth" The uniqueness of His power and that He is involved in every part of the world and nothing is hidden from Him.
 (3): Exodus 9:14:" that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth".   His absolute superiority.

We don’t need to surge or rush on out by our own excited strength (bubbles); He will do it.  He is our answer and He is our RELEASE.

Allow the knocks of this life to shape you, but don’t let them take your hope.  Yeshua said, that, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 16:33.

Which is why HaShem begins this parasha with a revelation of who He is; the great I AM.

That is our battle.  Let the Lord fight the Mitzrayim; we need to battle ourselves and our anguished hearts.  

Shalom

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