Am I really free from my old way of life? Am I going somewhere in life that leads to eternal contentment, or am I wandering through this existence, at the mercy of happenstance? These are some of the big questions tackled in the Torah reading בְּשַׁלַּח Beshalach (“when he sent”), covering Ex. 13:17-17:16. We can’t imagine what our ancestors in faith experienced as they witnessed God’s work during the Exodus from Mitzraim (Egypt). As they were leaving the house of bondage, were they really free or did they leave their hearts in Mitzraim, despite the cruelties and indignities they experienced there?
It took more faith to save Yisra’el than lamb’s blood on the doorposts as the Destroyer of the firstborn roamed the streets of Mitzraim during the first Passover. Then came being cornered by a huge army and going into the desert without sufficient water or food. It’s all part of the training in righteousness that all believers in the LORD much travel.
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28 NASB)
The cost of freedom for enslaved Yisra’el was the death of the firstborn of Mitzraim, and the cost of our freedom from slavery to the deathward lifestyle away from the Creator is the death of the LORD’s Firstborn.
The last three plagues, including the coming of the Destroyer for the firstborn of Mitzraim, and the first Pesakh are the focus of Torah reading בוא Bo (“come,” Exodus 10:1-13:16).
A shelach is an emissary or an ambassador. In this section, we will meet several people who were sent to represent God. There are several questions to as yourself as you read through this parashah including: “Is God with us?”, “Are we really free?”, “Where do we find our daily bread?” and “Where do we find living water?” The main message of this parashah is about Emanuel, God is with us.
When we observe the commandments of God, we are like unleavened bread, flatbread, called matzot in Hebrew. There’s nothing added, nothing taken out. So we are not to add to God’s commandments, and we are not to treat any traditions we keep on the same level as God’s commandments.
In the Torah reading Bo (“come,” Exodus 10:1–13:16), we learn that matzot gives you life, but it also gives you some affliction and difficulty. God’s mitzvot are the same, they give us life but they also bring some difficulty to life.
Exodus 12–20 are the most fascinating chapters of Exodus to me — 10th plague on the first-born, Passover, departure from Mitsraim (Egypt), crossing the sea, details of the encampments, miracles of water and food, arrival at Sinai and the 10 Commandments. I hope you will see God’s pattern, the truth of this one and only “plan of salvation,” not only for the descendants of Israel but for all mankind.
Moses led Israel to the points that God, in the cloud, took them. Every location, all 40 of them, were chosen by God.