Note: This is the first of a three-part series.
Water, in an arid or desert area, is of critical concern for everyone and everything there.
This was the context for the very first plague God brought upon the Egyptians to force their Pharaoh to let the people of God leave that desert-like land and serve Him where He would lead them.
Turning the water of the Nile River into blood (Ex. 7:17-18) was an environmental catastrophe for the massive empire, as the river was their main means of commerce as well as the primary drinking source for the desert nation. Consequently, the Egyptians frantically dug around alongside the river to find pools or shallow wells of drinkable water.
The Lord YAHWEH (the high and holy name of God, abbreviated in Hebrew as YHWH and translated in English as Jehovah) continued to bring intensifying plagues upon Egypt's Pharaoh and his people. Finally, the Passover observance was initiated for the enslaved Israelites, and the death angel brought the demise of the firstborn of each Egyptian home and all firstborn of their animals (Chapter 12).
With that extreme tragedy as the tenth and final plague, after 430 years in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh allowed these descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to leave, with their animals and riches, voluntarily "plundered" from the people of Egypt (Ex. 11:2-3, 12:36).
Miracles in the Desert
Then, in Exodus 13 and 14, the Israelites traveled from the land of Goshen to the Red Sea, which God miraculously opened, so they could cross "in orderly ranks" in the middle of the sea on dry land, with the waters stacked up like walls on either side of them. Once they were all on the other side, Moses turned and stretched out his hand, as the walls of waters came crashing back upon the pursuing Egyptians, their chariots, horsemen and armies!
The Israelites were amazed and awestruck at what God had done to save them from the Egyptians (14:30-31) and they profoundly "believed the Lord and His servant Moses." To further memorialize the spectacular event, Moses led the people in a spontaneous song, which praised God for His saving presence, rescue, protection and the unifying establishment of these former slaves as the people of God before other nations (15:1-19).
Are you pursuing your own miracle(s) in a desperate, desert-like land? Are you faithfully witnessing God's goodness and gracious actions to others? Let's pin down some lessons we have quickly passed over.
—Some things are nice to have, but not necessary to life itself. Drinkable water is not one of them. Do we take even our drinking water for granted? Or do we humbly and sincerely thank God for our daily bread and water?
—Events in past generations can affect us and our families today. The Israelites had been entrapped in their slavery status for hundreds of years. Is it possible your present desert-concerns are the result of generational curses or personal faithlessness? Or are you spiritually harassed or oppressed and need spiritual deliverance?
—When God frees you from your past and gives you a present miracle, in your desert-like experiences, will you bless His name, publicly praise Him and diligently serve Him? Can He trust you to do so? Are you doing so now?
God is a good God! /And His mercy He will show to you!
There are healing powers and there are miracles/ In the touch of His wonderful hands.
What He's done for others, He will do for you/ If you will only believe and trust Him, too.
For God is a good God/ And His mercy He will show to you! —"God Is a Good God" by Richard Roberts.
Gary Curtis served in full-time ministry for 50 years, the last 27 years of which he was part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys' California Foursquare church. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms. Gary and his wife live in Southern California and have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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