Parashat Beshalach (When he-Pharaoh sent) Ex. 13:17-17:16
Prophets Judges 4:4-5:31
In this week’s Torah portion we read about how HaShem brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness. After the crossing of the sea and the defeat of Pharaoh and his army the Children of Israel traveled to the wilderness of Shur. They continued on for a three day journey in the wilderness and found no water. They came to Marah and there was water, but it was bitter. They complained against Moses, saying, “What we shall drink?” G-d healed the waters by showing Moses a tree which he threw in the waters which caused the water to become sweet. It was there that HaShem established a decree and a judgment with the people saying,
“If you listen diligently to the voice of HaShem your G-d and do what is proper in His eyes, and do and listen to His commandments, and keep all of His statues then all of the sickness which I placed on Egypt, I will not place upon you; for I am the L-rd your healer! Exodus 15:26
One learns very quickly from the Biblical account of the Exodus that leaving Egypt was not HaShem’s sole goal. He delivered the people that they might live for Him; that is, that they might reflect His character and thereby demonstrate to the world that they are His people. It is very significant that the chapter ends with the words,
“They came to Elim and there were twelve springs of water and seventy date-palm trees…” Ex. 15:27
Numbers are important in the Bible. The number twelve represents the people of G-d as in the twelve tribes of Israel or the twelve disciples. The number seventy is comprised of two numbers, seven and ten. The number seven represents “holiness” or “sanctification” while the number ten relates to “completeness” or “entirety”. Therefore one can derive from the verse that G-d wants not only to forgive our sins, but to also change us into Holy people. I believe that all too often when one shares the message of the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins is emphasized so much to the near exclusion of the lifestyle that G-d wants us to live. I certainly do not want to lessen the importance or the necessity of the forgiveness of sins nor imply that works are necessary for salvation. However, the outcome of experiencing G-d’s forgiveness is to know His love. One is taught that the Love of Messiah compels one (see 2 Cor. 5:14) and that one needs to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah (2 Cor. 10:5).
When one surrenders to the Holy Spirit, these things will begin to be experienced and there will be a dramatic change in one’s behavior. This is the desired outcome of salvation. When the Children of Israel came to Elim, they experienced the refreshing of water and the sweetness of dates. This is exactly what walking with G-d will bring about in one’s life. Why not concentrate this Shabbat on surrendering to G-d and obeying His word. Pray that He will bring every thought captive to His will. Imagine how the Children of Israel felt when they arrived at Elim and drank from the springs and tasted the dates.
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