Parashat Bo (Come)
Shemot (Exodus) 10:1–13:16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13–28
God’s judgment can come in different forms, which is something that we see in both the Parashah and Haftarah portions this week. In the Parashah, we find the last three acts of wonders (locust, darkness and the death of the first born) through which God judged Egypt. The purpose of everything that God did in Egypt was so that the children of Israel would know that He is the one and only true God, as we read:
...and that you may tell in the presence of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, so that you may know that I am the LORD.
Exodus 10:2 (emphasis mine)
In the Haftarah, we read of a different kind of judgment that came upon Egypt, only that in this instance, it comes in the form of a ground invasion:
“This is the message which the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt:”
And then a few verses after,
The daughter of Egypt has been put to shame, turned over to the power of the people of the north.” The LORD of armies, the God of Israel says: “Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings, indeed, Pharaoh and those who trust in him. I shall hand them over to those who are seeking their lives, that is, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to his officers. Afterward, however, it will be inhabited as in the days of old,” declares the LORD.
Once again, we can see from these verses that God’s judgment will come in order for people to know that He is indeed the one and only true God, and the only one in whom the people ought to trust - not in Egypt, her gods, or her kings, such as Pharaoh.
Oftentimes, we forget that God’s judgment is a sure thing; it will come. I love how throughout the book of Jeremiah, God affirms that his prophetic words will happen when He says:
They shouted there, ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is nothing but a big noise; He has let the appointed time pass by!’ As I live,” declares the King, whose name is the LORD of armies, “One certainly shall come who is like Tabor among the mountains, or like Carmel by the sea. Make your baggage ready for exile, daughter living in Egypt, for Memphis will become a desolation; it will be destroyed and deprived of inhabitants.”
There is one more way that God will make Himself known other than through His judgment; He will separate out those whom He chooses for Himself, as we read:
But not even a dog will threaten any of the sons of Israel, nor anything from person to animal, so that you may learn how the LORD distinguishes between Egypt and Israel.
Again in our Haftarah, we find God’s comforting words to Israel:
But as for you, Jacob My servant, do not fear, nor be dismayed, Israel! For, see, I am going to save you from far away, and your descendants from the land of their captivity; and Jacob will return and be undisturbed and secure, with no one making him afraid. Jacob My servant, do not fear,” declares the LORD, “For I am with you. For I will make a complete destruction of all the nations where I have driven you, yet I will not make a complete destruction of you; but I will correct you properly and by no means leave you unpunished.
It is important to note that, while God will protect us and we should not be afraid, we will not be immune from His judgment on the world, which is something that I believe we all see, feel and hopefully believe by now.
I would like to close with the words from Matthew 24:3–14 as a way to encourage you:
And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Yeshua answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.
Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
The judgment of God will come, and we His followers have a very important job to make sure that we are prepared for it, as well as helping to prepare others, so that they will know that He is indeed the one and only true God there is!
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