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?
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19–20 NASB)
Some teach that the Day of Atonement (יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים Yom haKippurim, “Day of Coverings”) is a day when the people of God plead their case that their good will outweigh their bad on Heaven’s scale. Rather, God’s word teaches that we can have sober, humble, repentant confidence in what God’s Mashiakh (Christ) has done to cover and remove ours mistakes, disobedience and treason.
One of the key themes of the Bible book of Leviticus is the Tabernacle as Heaven’s way to bring those “far off” from God’s presence near by the spilled life of the substitute, the sin offering. This also is the key theme of the book of Hebrews, but it takes the message further in showing Who always has been doing the real work of reconciliation, with and without an earthly Tabernacle or Temple.
“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST’ [Psalm 95:11], although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:2–3 NASB)
We all have “pivot points” in life, times when a decision or circumstance dramatically changes our lives, sometimes irreversibly. A pivot toward lifestyle and character in step with the Kingdom of God leads to a fulfilling life, regardless of good times or bad times. A pivot away from the Creator can be “sin that leads to death,” unless we respond to Heaven’s warning “today” and “enter His rest” via the Passover Lamb, Yeshua (Jesus).
Such a huge pivot in the history of our ancestors in faith is recounted in the Torah reading שְׁלַח Shelakh (“send,” Numbers 13–15), when a “bad report” about Israel’s prospects for settling in a land of giant warriors, walls and grapes persuaded many of the generation of the first Passover, Red Sea crossing, etc. to abandon the LORD’s leadership.