Old Testament: Exodus (14:19-31)
The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
- NOTE: The entire session was focused on Exodus this morning.
- Joseph tried only in Egypt.
- Leah / Bilkah / Rachael: 8 – 2 – 2 respective children from each wife/mate.
- Not all Israelis may have been biologically related.
- Freedom for all creation — including animals.
- Always on a journey – even after Egypt.
- 600,000 people – not realistic estimate
- It may have been the population of Israel during David and Solomon’s realms.
- The large number may have implied it was all inclusive.
- Chapter 14 highlights the crossing of the “Sea of Reeds” (Red Sea)
- Very ancient story for David/Solomon (1,000-900 BCE)
- The Songs of Moses and Miriam are even more ancient.
- The people grumbling against Moses are a preview of things to come.
- The reference to Moses as God’s servant first appears here and later in Deuteronomy.
- Ends up in God’s holy abode — the narrative was written much later.
- The song could be the oldest in the Bible.
- The division between Egypt and Sinai stories are captured in these verses.
- The contest was between Pharaoh and God (Yahweh) – Egyptians are gone from the story.
- There is a poetic rhythm to the story.
- Typically women led songs of victory.
- The last part of chapter 15, verse 22 starts the wilderness story.
The Response: The Songs of Moses and Miriam
God is my strength and my song *
and he has become my salvation.
Let me glorify this God of mine! *
Let me magnify this God of my ancestors!
For valiant in battle is the God *
whose holy name is The Lord.
The chariots and troops of Pharaoh *
were thrown into the sea;
even the handpicked commanders *
went down in the Red Sea waves.
The flood covered them over, *
and they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, so glorious in battle, *
your right hand, O Lord, shattered the foe.
In triumph you tumbled your adversaries; *
your fire consumed them like stubble.
The blast of your breath piled up the waters; *
the floods stood up like a towering wall;
in the very heart of the sea, *
the murky depths congealed.
“I will chase them and catch then!” crowed the enemy; *
I will plunder and fulfill my lust;
I will unsheathe my sharpened sword *
and destroy them by my own hand.”
Then you blew forth a mighty tempest *
and the sea swallowed them up
so that they plummeted like lead *
in the billows that brought you glory.
Who among the gods is mighty like you, O Lord? *
Who is sovereign and awesome like you,
a powerful worker of wonders?
Then Miriam the prophet, the sister of Aaron, *
raised a tambourine in her hand,
and all the women danced after her with their tambourines *
while Miriam led the song:
“Sing to the Lord, the Exalted One, *
who hurled horse and rider into the sea.”
The Epistle: Romans (14:1-12)
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
The Gospel: Matthew (18:21-35)
Then Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.””