Friday, January 21, 2011

Get Out and Bless Me

When Pharaoh finally has enough, or more accurately, when he finally realizes that if he doesn't let the Hebrews leave there won't be an Egypt left for them to  leave, he tells Moses and Aaron to grab the Hebrew men, women, children, and livestock and be gone.  There is, however, an interesting little blip of a sentence right after that statement, "And bring a blessing on me too!"  What a strange thing for Pharaoh to say....  One interpretation of this is that Pharaoh has finally realized God is God and he is not.  That being the case, the only hope Pharaoh has for the survival of his country is for God to bless him.  There is some merit to this interpretation of what Pharaoh says.  I wonder, however, if there is a much simpler way to approach this.

So far God has blessed, protected, and provided for the Hebrews over and over and over again.  In contrast he has basically flattened Egypt economically, agriculturally, and politically.  What Pharaoh could be saying is, "God has given you blessing after blessing after blessing, so just get out of here.  Let us have some peace and quiet.  It's about time we get a blessing, and that's blessing enough for us."  I wonder if this statement by Pharaoh is just a confirmation that he has finally had as much as he can take.  "Just go," he says, "that's all the blessing I need."  Who knows....

Along another, entirely different train of thought, God didn't just free the descendants of Jacob from Egypt.  Exodus states that a mixed crowd also went with them.  These Egyptians then became members of the Israelite nation.  Some people seem to think that God plays favorites, that he chooses one group of people over another, at random.  That is not what God is up to in the Old Testament, and especially not in Genesis and Exodus.  God uses one group to bring healing and freedom to others, not to bless them over others.  Through the exodus experience, many Egyptians are freed from the tyranny of Egypt, and once freed are allowed to become members of God's people.  As God says, "There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you."  When God says, "He's/she's mine," the rest of us don't have much say in the matter, but that's not language of favoritism.  It's language of blessing.

Stopping point: Exodus 12

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