Scripture: The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders. The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Exodus 12:33-36 ESV
Observation: With Pharaoh swallowing his pride and momentarily coming to his senses, Moses and the people of God were now free and ready to trek to the Promised Land. And just as Yahweh foretold, when Israel asked the distressed Egyptians for their gold, silver, and clothing, the Egyptians obliged. But little did Israel know that they would need the clothes for an extended wilderness wandering and the jewelry for adorning a Tabernacle and priestly garbs.
So as God’s people embarked toward Mount Sanai, this massive caravan of approximately two million included:
- About six hundred thousand men (v.37)
- Women and children (v.37)
- A “mixed multitude” of God-fearing converts (v.38)
And amazingly, they had all the provisions needed: livestock raised in Goshen (unaffected by the plagues) and baked unleavened bread (that would have a longer “shelf life”). And well-nourished from the Passover meal the night before, they had the energy to make haste.
Takeaway: As we discern God’s will, there are occasions when we have to act quickly to go where he calls us. It may seem haphazard and tenuous, but God will provide. My wife, Ruth, and I certainly felt that way when we returned to the States to begin my seminary education. With limited income (from an inheritance, donors, and Ruth’s part-time work as a physical therapist), within four months of arriving in America, I started grad school—a challenging journey for the next five years as I worked toward two master’s degrees. Indeed, in my first semester, our twins arrived in the world. With three children in diapers, Ruth could no longer work. Money was tight, yet we had (or would gain) all the provisions we needed for the journey like Israel. Our two seminary communities and churches donated or loaned baby paraphernalia and even clothing for our kids’ parents. And along the way, whether we needed a financial boost or a helping hand, the Lord marvelously provided—sometimes from unexpected sources.
Twenty-two years have passed since I completed my seminary education, and we are in a more stable financial position. But as we watch and pray for our adult children, who also have, from time to time, had to make quick decisions involving their next steps, we see God marvelously providing for them as well. And he sometimes calls us to pay it forward that they might have adequate provisions for their journeys.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son and your Holy Spirit, who together have provided all we need for our spiritual and physical journeys. Would you please help us trust in and rely on your provisions and pay it forward to those we see in need? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling