28 January – Additional Notes
Exodus 3 – MiH: Match Made in Heaven
A popular TV show on BBC Three is Don’t Tell the Bride. The grooms are given a budget and they’ve to plan everything from the wedding dress to the cake, the cars, the venue, the wedding theme, invitations – everything. The bride has to just trust him and wait to receive what he’s planning.
I’m fairly sure that no one watching the TV show would like a selfish or spoilt bride when the poor groom is trying his best. And that’s not even getting to the bit where she becomes a reluctant, unhelpful, complaining wife that demands too much and seems to drag her feet at every junction point in their journey – making his life a total misery. But until we understand that the Creator God’s story is actually a love story about a marriage commitment, we’ll never truly understand the next 65 Acts (the remaining Books of the Bible) that make up His Epic Play.
When Adam saw Eve, he said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…”[a] And it was the sort of “match made in heaven” that we’d wish for all marriages – where two people can be so connected that life’s a real joy just traveling it together. But I wonder if you’ve noticed the bit before that – where the Creator made us in His own image and in His likeness to be like Him? We’re the closest thing to “flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone” that anyone could hope for. However, what’s being played out on the stage that He created, clearly shows that He’s not got what He original planned for – what He’s only ever wanted.
If we gave that a second thought, we may be able to see that Moses, in this chapter, is “the best man”. His job is to get “the suitable helper” – the bride – and bring her out to where the groom is waiting for her. It’s the place where the wedding will take place and the permanent home where they’ll both live together – never to be separated again. That being so, I notice two things that carry forward from the Book of Genesis:
First, there is a person called “the Angel of the Lord” who has appeared again on centre stage, this time with the appearance of fire. [v2] Now although He’s called “the Angel of the Lord” his identity is One with Father God Himself…
“The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush…” [v2] “…When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush …” [v4]
Moses is then told to take off his sandals because he’s standing on Holy ground. [v5] There is only one other place in the Script where this happens again and it also involves a “man” who’s called both “the commander of the Lord Army” and “the Lord” interchangeably.[b] This is incredibly important as the storyline progresses because, from the very first book, there is clearly two people working in unison.[c]
The second thing I notice is that the Lord identifies Himself as the same God Almighty from Act One. [v6] And having made sure that it is indeed the Creator God, He gives Moses a coded message that only a longing wife would spot if her desire is for her husband.[d] If she’s on the ball and watching for the signs, she’ll recognise the One and Only that she’s been whispering secret “prayers” about, perhaps even for centuries.
So the gemstones that I see planted between the lines are found in how the Creator God introduces Himself at the start of an epic journey that will cover in excess of the next four millennia. And, amazingly enough, God Almighty aligns His own identity with the secret prayers of an unloved Iraqi girl – Leah, the first wife of Israel. The gemstones are found in the way that Father God explains His presence, motives, plans and who He is: by using the name meanings of the first four sons of Israel:
1. “I’ve surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt…” [v7]
REUBEN – the firstborn of Israel – “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”[e]
2. “…I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings…” [v7]
SIMEON – second son of Israel – “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”[f]
3. “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land…” [v8]
LEVI – the third son of Israel – “Now at last my husband will become attached to me…”[g]
4. “And He said, ‘Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.” [v12]
JUDAH – Israel’s fourth son – “This time I will praise the Lord…”[h]
I can’t help but see the face of a loving husband saying, “Here I am – I have now come. And this is how you’ll know it’s me, I’ve heard the secret thoughts of the unloved wife who brought this family into being.” From now until the very last scene played out on this stage[i], I’m convinced that this is a love story of a match made in heaven. It’s a global drama surrounding a relationship commitment between the Creator and those He made in His own image to be like Him.[j]
The unfortunate part of this love story is the reluctance of the ones He’s chosen. This started with Moses who used every excuse imaginable until God’s anger burned against him.[k] The “reluctant, unhelpful, complaining wife scenario” ran through the storyline even to Jesus’ day[l], and it’s still going on today with you and with me.
But just as Moses name, “Draw Out”, is significant, so Father God’s names explain His essence and nature. YHWH: “I am who I am” or “I will be what I will be” [v14], shows me that He’s a present-tense God. He is today what He has always been, and will be tomorrow. Both He and His purposes are steadfast and unchanging.[m] So I can’t align myself with what I understood of Him ten years ago. I need to “get on board” and “keep in step” with Him – in the Present. The fact that “He will be what He will be” shows His ultimate sovereignty. Who He is, is completely detached from who I think, demand, want or expect Him to be.
Incredibly important for any non-Jew who wants to believe in the Creator God, is v15. He, by His own sovereign choice, has chosen to be named and remembered as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”. [v15-16] As much as we can stand here arguing with Him – and whether we agree with His decision-making process, or not – this is the pathway, from the very first book, that He has chosen to reveal Himself and His purposes to the world. All other later pathways, that claim to lead back to the Creator God, cannot contradict this. When we follow HIStory in history from start to finish, and not skipping over anything, we’ll come to understand and know the One who has made Himself known.
Having worked out who He is, He then tells us what He does: He’s watched, and is presently still watching, over us. He’s seen, and still presently sees, what’s been done to us in the “land of our slavery”. [v16] He’s promised to bring us up out of our misery and into our permanent home. [v17] Nothing has changed of Him or His purposes in 46 centuries of storyline.[n] This has always been at the heart of His Global Plan, no matter who we are or where we’ve come from.[o]
The rest of this chapter is a prophecy that explains what Moses is about to encounter. [v18-22] His job is so important and so unique, that Father God explains the story and the outcome at the outset – so that Moses wouldn’t be walking blind or left confused as the events (especially the scary bits) begin to unfold. We’re likely not to get this level of detail at the start of our journey. Most of us have to set out on our Faith Journey with no idea how our lives will turn out. Like the brides in the BBC TV show, we need to trust our Maker and wait to receive what He’s planning.
With that said, the Script from start to finish (including all the scary bits that will take place in the Planet’s future, as Father God moves His people into His Kingdom) has been fully made known.[p] If I follow the script as it is, missing nothing out, I’ll not be walking in blind faith. Nor will I be caught off guard or confused about the greatest Love Story ever told. In a match that could only be made in heaven, I’ve been rescued and saved into His family as a beloved Child of God…
“No Longer Slaves” – Jonathan David/Melissa Helsen [q]
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Genesis 2:23
[b] Joshua 5:13-6:2
[c] Exodus 23:20-21
[d] Genesis 3:16b
[e] Genesis 29:32
[f] Genesis 29:33
[g] Genesis 29:34
[h] Genesis 29:35
[i] Revelation 21:2-3
[j] John 3:16
[k] Exodus 3:11–4:17
[l] Hosea 3:1; Matthew 22:1-14
[m] Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 55:19; Hebrews 6:17 and 13:8
[n] Revelation 21:4
[o] Jeremiah 29:11
[p] John 15:15