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.
The seventh day of Chag Matzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread) is a memorial to the crossing of the Red Sea. It’s not only the zenith of most movies about Israel’s flight from Egypt but also a parable about every believer’s path to repentance, salvation and righteousness.
Mankind can only serve one master: God or sin. We can’t serve both. God purchased all of Israel with the death of the first born to serve Him. God owns all of Israel. God is not only teaching Israel a lesson but Egypt as well. When God covered the children of Israel with the cloud and then sent them through the sea, this was a form of baptism.
Repentance is something that happens on the inside, the water is a physical representation of that repentance. Repentance doesn’t pay for your sins. Repentance is merely step 1 of our walk with God. It clears the conscience so salvation can enter. Step 2 is filling one’s life, so “Egypt” will never return.
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.
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.