We all know the story: God sends his 10 plagues upon the Egyptians, but not until the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, does Pharaoh give in to God and allow the Israelites to leave.
But then, what does Pharaoh do? He gives chase after them.
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And when the Israelites see the 600 chariots coming after them, what was their first reaction?
“And they said to Moses, ‘Was it for want of graves in Egypt that you brought us to die in the wilderness?’” (Exodus 14:11 JPS Tanakh)
I have always wondered why they would even think that?
I mean, c’mon- what was the only reason why Pharaoh wouldn’t let them leave in the first place? Wasn’t it because he needed them to be slaves?
Weren’t they the only labor force he had to build his own tomb, and to create the great edifices of Egypt?
Why in the world would he want to now slaughter them?
In the Torah (JPS Tanakh version), we read why Pharaoh went after the Israelites in Exodus 14: 5:
“And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned towards the people, and they said: ‘What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?‘”
Nu! Pharaoh never intended to kill them, just recapture them. But the people Moses led into the desert immediately assumed the worst possible situation.
Why? Later on, we read how they continually kvetched about everything- no water, no meat, no vegetables… yadda-yadda-yadda. Even when Korach rebelled, they didn’t want some other leader to take them to the land of milk and honey, but to take them back to Egypt!
Talk about wanting to stay in one’s comfort zone! Even when there was no comfort to be found in it.
If you ask me, I think the reason they were so afraid is because of their lack of faith. And I am not talking about their lack of faith in God to save them, but their lack of faith in anything. Especially themselves.
I see this in people all the time, this general fear that they carry around with them like an albatross around their necks, but one that they refuse to let go of.
I read a book long ago, in a previous life when I was in a very bad marriage, that was called “The Dance of Anger.” In that book, the author pointed out how in an abusive relationship (either physically and/or verbally), when one of the partners tries to change it into something better, the other partner will refuse to cooperate, even going out of their way to resume the abusive relationship.
The reason the author says this happens is that the other partner is comfortable with the old relationship, even though it really isn’t comfortable, at all; it’s just what they are used to. The more one tries to “change the dance”, the more the other one tries to pull him or her back into the old relationship.
I lived that dance and no matter how hard I tried to change it, it was impossible for me to do that.
But that’s an entirely different story.
The Israelites had been slaves for 400 years, some 20 or more generations, and that was the only dance those people knew. Their mindset was one of conditioned slavery, and the idea that they would be free- even though they had been crying to be free- was so uncomfortable to them that when they were free, they would rather have gone back to slavery.
And we can still see this in so many Christian religions today.
Those who have been brought up with Christianity’s traditional teachings about which holidays are the ones to celebrate (consequently teaching which ones to ignore), what you are allowed to eat, when to rest, who to pray to, etc. all are attractive to the previously sinful lifestyle that the people lived.
I am sorry, but if you are thinking that Yeshua (Jesus) did away with the Law of Moses, let me fill you in on what being in your current comfort zone really is about:
- The Law of Moses isn’t the law of Moses- it is God’s law! The instructions he gave to Moses, so that Moses could teach those who worship God, are the way God wants us to act. Nowhere, ever, did God’s son, Messiah Yeshua, say we should ever act differently.
- The Christian religions we have today, which originally came out of Judaism, generally do not follow what God said to do. They have created their own holidays, their own Sabbath day, their own rituals, ceremonies, and tenets. And they are all man-made; and as I said, almost none of them are in accordance with God’s instructions.
- Yeshua preached to love God and each other- in that order. And the way he said to show that love is to be obedient (John 14:15; 1 John 5).
- Christians are told they should follow in Jesus’s footsteps, i.e., live and act as Jesus did. But Christianity has, over the centuries, rejected everything that Jesus did with regards to his worship of God and the lifestyle he led!
Sorry to burst your comfort zone bubble, but that’s the way it is, and if you don’t believe me, read the Gospels and show me where either God or Yeshua said to do any of the things that modern Christianity teaches people to do.
Show me where God said burying bones under the altar is a good thing to do.
Show me where Yeshua said to pray to him instead of to God.
Show me where God said he wants churches to be jam packed with statues of people and pictures of him and Yeshua, and that people should bow before them and pray to them.
Show me where God said to ignore the Holy Days he commanded us to celebrate.
Show me where Yeshua said people should celebrate holidays devoted to him, and not to God.
Show me where…well, you get the idea.
We are all born with original Sin, or as we say in Judaism, the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination), and until we are old enough to know right from wrong, or good from evil, we do whatever our evil inclination tells us to do.
That’s why sinning is so much more comfortable and easy to do than living a righteous life.
And when we learn of something different, such as how God really wants you to live, that is so far outside of our comfort zone that we rebel; God wants us to learn how to dance a waltz with him, but we prefer to dance alone.
Can you believe it? We feel better dancing alone than dancing with God.
The Israelites who left slavery in Egypt decided they felt better under Pharaoh’s harsh and abusive rule than living free under God’s compassionate and loving rule.
And, for the most part, people are no different today.
Yeshua said we are all slaves to something (Matthew 6:24), either to God or to money (meaning earthly things), so it is up to you which master you will serve. I can tell you, absolutely, that it is much, MUCH easier to serve earthly things than to serve God.
But, if you care about where you spend eternity, then you need to break out of your comfort zone and get a new dance partner.
When you’re dancing with God and let him lead, you will be led to eternal peace; but, when you dance with the Devil, he will let you think you are leading but in the end, he will lead you to hell.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!