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Is there a reason why Faith seems so elusive,

so just-beyond-my-reach and virtually intangible—

this life of walking toward a future I cannot see,

a stretch of time, not yet mine to know?

Within the decision to trust,

I must remind myself,

This faith is the very thing that pleases God,

the exercise that reveals the best of Who He is and what He desires for me.

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Once they were gone, things settled down to a new normal.

The commotion, confusion, an unnatural agitation of those confounding plagues—

when all finally subsided, Pharaoh sat.

Mourning the loss of his firstborn, the horrific loss of so many firstborns,

surrounded by now-worthless fields, decimated beyond recognition,

where most of their livelihood had been stripped away…

he collected his tangled thoughts,

trying to make sense of the past weeks—

(was it only weeks? somehow it seemed longer.)

Then slowly, as realization dawned—

What have we done? Why did I agree? And where did they go? 

When regret rose to a pounding crescendo,

How could they have moved out so quickly…?

Pharaoh changed his mind.

Again.

The arrogance of that man Moses and the Hebrew slaves, God’s people, he claimed…

after they finally vacated the land,

the threats of their Israelite God

ceased once and for all.

Yet, the confused knowing filled him with dread,

this lord who reigned as deity

in the region of the great, life-giving Nile,

one not used to losing,

high priest of every temple,

mother country of the Earth,

or so he thought…

overnight his slave labor had vanished, half-a-million, one million workers or more,

gone…

Without them what would he do? What would his people do?

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Pharaoh’s voice thundered against masonry palace walls and stone pillars,

announcing the change of plans,

a new strategy—

to bring the Israelites back.

Hundreds (thousands?) of chariots made ready,

hundreds (tens of thousands?) of soldiers armed,

horses prepared for pursuit, across sand toward the Sea.

In the Israelite camp, a watchman looked out, over the flat expanse,

and saw what he least expected—

a huge cloud of dust, growing, moving, closer, closer.

Others nearby saw the same,

felt the pounding, heard the hoofbeats

of Pharaoh’s mighty army.

After the excitement of the exodus,

the hope of new life in a land called their own,

suddenly fear gripped them in a stranglehold…

where earlier they moved forward with courage, by faith,

in a single moment, every trace of trust disintegrated,

leaving them resigned to defeat.

From faith to fear, a complete shift in mood, in perspective,

the Israelites groaned their complaints,

rebelling against the leader God raised up to rescue them from slavery.

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Instructions and a promise from God, spoken aloud, gave hope.

As Moses’ staff rose up, out toward the waves,

a miracle took place before their eyes,

enabling them to walk on dry ground—

with a wall of water on either side.

The cloud in front lighting the way, mysteriously moved behind them,

repositioning itself between the two nations…

no longer radiating light,

the pillar of protection loomed high and above, ominous, shadowy,

keeping their enemies at a distance.

Thus says the Lord:

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

Let not the mighty man glory in his might,

Nor let the rich man glory in his riches…

The Egyptians continued forward, believing in themselves,

proud courage based on presumption, not true faith in the One eternally faithful.

The soldiers pursued, pushed ahead, followed the path between twin watery walls,

bold, strong, self-assured,

completely oblivious to the inevitable.

But let him who glories glory in this,

That he understands and knows Me,

That I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment,

and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight, says the Lord.  –  Jeremiah 9:23-24

To be continued…

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