The Prince Of Egypt (VII) – All is Well that Ends… Well?

At the ending of the movie “The Prince of Egypt”, we see Moses (whose heart must have been full of emotions he himself could not describe), looking out over his people who are now on the safe side of the Red Sea after so many years of slavery in Egypt. It then cuts to him coming down from the mountain of God, Mount Sinai, with the 10 Commandments – engraved by God’s own hands on tablets of stone – safely clutched in his arms.

The movie then ends with Moses, staff in one hand and tablets of stone in the other, looking out over the millions of Israeli scattered across the desert landscape. Quite the perfect ending.

But the Bible records the aftermath of the actual Exodus a bit differently- and it’s a bit ‘darker’.

Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there… one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

(Exodus 16:1-3, NLT. Paraphrased.)

Barely a month after leading the people of Israel out of the land where they had been kept in bondage and slavery for over 400 years, Moses must have realised with a deep sigh what God already knew; leading the people through the desert to the promised land was going to be the most difficult and taxing part of his assignment.

Even after God provided food for them in the above instance, in the very next chapter, the people of Israel again begin to complain bitterly and pine for the good old days in Egypt, all the while casting aspersions on the leadership of Moses (and indirectly on God).

What is perhaps the most surprising is how they seemingly forgot, so easily, how God had come through for them in the past with supernatural events and miracles (sounds familiar?).

You would think that after they saw the bedazzling and terrifying presence of God with their own eyes on the Mount Sinai, they would remain straight as an arrow for the rest of their days. But merely 40 days after this encounter, Moses comes down to meet a camp full of licentious people worshiping a golden calf at the very foot of the mountain where they had had their encounter – and with Aaron as their Worship team leader!

Aaaarghh! Moses ended up smashing the tablets of God in his hands to smithereens. Seems a bit heedless on his part right? But it’s possible that some of us today may have done something more drastic, like going ahead to brain Aaron with a sizeable fragment from the smashed tablets.

The aftermath of “The Exodus” was a genesis of something of a vicious cycle for Moses and the Israelis. Rebellion from the people of Israel. Laws. More rebellion. More laws. Until the “Laws of Moses” grew to about 600+ rules and penal codes that the people of Israel could never hope to keep, no matter how hard they tried.

How do you look at the people of Israel? Stubborn to a fault? Wicked souls? Unrighteous folks? Stiff-necked? God was trying to pass a message across to you. To me. To everyone that reads these things that were written down. You can never please God by your own efforts, or by trying to follow a set of laws no matter, how hard you try. The human nature has nothing in it that can please God.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

(Romans 5:12, NLT)

This very nature was what ailed the people of Israel, but God knew what the problem was. In His wisdom, He made arrangements (arrangements He’d been making since Genesis 3:15 actually) to rectify this problem. He also moved His prophets to decree His plans to His people. They may not have understood exactly what God was trying to tell them. But it’s clear to us now.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

(Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

(Jeremiah 31:33, NLT)

The same problem that eventually destroyed Pharaoh, was the same problem that threatened to destroy the people of Israel – and still threatens to destroy people now. But God has made a way.

And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin.

For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins… But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

(Romans 5:16-17, NLT. Paraphrased)

By believing, through faith, in what the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus represents, we are then able to please God. The coming of Jesus did not abolish “The Law”. His coming fulfilled it. As many as accept the gift of God through Jesus, their reality is that they have fulfilled the requirements of the law too. But not by the works or actions of their hands.

By faith. By faith.

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