Torah Commentary – Va’era “And I appeared” – Shadows of Yesterday, Substance of Today

Torah Commentary


Va’era “And I appeared”
Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Romans 9:14-17
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1tissot_the_rod_of_aaron_devours_the_other_rodsShadows of Yesterday, Substance of Today

Egypt was the greatest and most awesome nation that had ever existed. They had wealth, power, and military stature. No country would have dared to come against the might of Egypt in the days of their glory. But all this would change the day that God opened his appointment book and proclaimed that a new day for His people was about to begin.

What Pharaoh and the people of Egypt never understood was the reason they had been blessed and where those blessings had come from. They had attributed their greatness to the blessings of the god of the Nile River, the god of frogs, the god of this or that object or creature. They failed to see that the blessings they had enjoyed had come from the God of the Hebrews. Egypt had merely been the place He had chosen for His purposes.

The day came when the true God, the God of Israel, chose to reveal Himself to the Pharaoh and to all of Egypt. Each time one of their sacred gods fell, they were given a choice. They could choose to continue worshipping the false gods of their making or turn to the one true God. With each plague the choice was given, and with each plague the choice was made. In the end, Egypt would be but a memory, a memory of another culture who did not understand that their purpose was never about them, but it was all about Him and His people.

As I read through the plagues which came upon Egypt, I do so with mixed emotions. There is a sense of excitement, knowing that just as surely as HaShem brought his people out of a pagan land, a pagan system, and back to Himself, He can and indeed is doing so again in our day. To read about the first exodus in light of the fact that we are seeing the birth pangs of the second and greater exodus sends chills up my spine. However, I also feel a sense of sorrow. It is a sorrow which Moses also possibly felt. Moses was not only a major part of freeing his family from slavery. He also witnessed the destruction of a land he had called home for the first forty years of his life, the country where he grew up. Moses had helped to build the society and culture he was now seeing destroyed before his eyes. In this, I am sure he felt great sorrow.

For over two hundred years America has been a great country. I guess some could say it has been the greatest country that has ever existed in six thousand years of history. It is a nation once based upon scripture and the knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It has been a homeland for both physical and spiritual descendants of the patriarchs. America was once known for her moral convictions, which were based on the Ten Commandments. America was known for her efforts to preach the gospel to the four corners of the earth.

Yes, America has been a great country, but somewhere in the journey, America, just as did Egypt, has forgotten her purpose and forgotten her God. Because of this fact, the excitement of the days we live in are tempered with the sorrow of watching a land and country that many of us have called home fall to the same destiny as Egypt of old.

The sorrow of the death of the past must however give way to the excitement and thrill of the inheritance which has been promised. For the Hebrews in Egypt, most never grasped the fact that the events they were seeing before their eyes were events destined to take them home. In fact, they had forgotten that Egypt was not home; it was not their inheritance. Egypt was only a place for them to multiply and grow stronger. Israel was home! Israel was their inheritance!

Today, the system of Egypt is not limited to a country, but rather has spread to the complete world which is falling apart before our eyes. It is not the gods of frogs and rivers, but rather the gods of pagan worship, materialism, power, or worship of the creation and not the Creator, which are being destroyed one by one. For those who have eyes to see, we understand that it is God who is arising. It is He who is destroying the false gods of the world. It is He who is preparing to take His people from the four corners of the earth where He has driven them and return them to their home, their inheritance.

The words of Exodus 6:8 were spoken to the Hebrews of Moses’ day. And they are being spoken to the people of Israel today. They are words calling His people home, calling us to our inheritance. Let us not make the mistakes of the Hebrews then and not realize what God is doing. Let us not be so firmly tied to our own Egypt’s that we fail to see and hear His plans being proclaimed in our midst. Instead, let us embrace with great excitement the walk of exodus being revealed to us. Let us listen to the call. Let us realize we’re also headed home. But let us never take joy in the plagues of judgment which are upon a world which has refused to turn from their gods and to the True God.

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