Yaldi hatov ve’harach (My good and tender son)
Al tira ve’al tifh’ad (Don’t be frightened and don’t be scared)Deliver Us, Prince of Egypt
I have an active imagination. It is ALWAYS moving at 100 miles an hour. For example, if I needed to evacuate my city right this moment my imagination is working 100 steps ahead on where I am staying, what food I will find, and the closest water source. Maybe that is just the adventurer inside of me but that is where my imagination goes to. In fact, I have always had an active imagination, ask my Kindergartner teacher, Mrs. Thomason. I got in trouble in nap time many times because my brain just would not shut off because I was putting myself in stories where I was a hero. Whether it had to do with being a power ranger, a swordsman defeating hordes of orcs, sprinting to beat a tidal wave that is about to crash on the shore, or even having to tie down the sails during a dangerous storm out at sea. Suuuuper fun imagination to have growing up. Even if it did get me into trouble—sorry Mrs. Thomason..
Now, that imagination has never ceased going that fast, probably because it has been placed in more reasonable situations. However, from time to time I will slip into those extreme moments of day dreaming about the next adventure. More recently however, in the last eight months or so, I have been day dreaming about the story of Exodus. Not sure why, I think there is some sort of spiritual significance in that but I have been wanting to write about it for quite some time, and today just felt right to do so. Also because I have been listening and watching the Prince of Egypt movie non stop for the last four days. So. I feel like I am obligated to write about this now.
The history in Exodus is not that pretty, as much as we want to glance over it in our morning devotionals, I am guilty of that much of the time. But straight up—Exodus begins with fear. The mentality of an “us versus them.” The power that a ruler has, that Pharaoh has to sway the views of the Egyptians towards the Hebrews in order to convince his people that the Hebrews WILL rise up and destroy their kingdom, it is scary. The mob mentality, the McCarthyism mentality that there will be an end to life as we know it. It drives men to do things that they would not have previously imagined themselves doing. As time goes on during this period of fear it drives the Egyptians to enslave the Hebrew people in order to attempt to control their population. Of course—it is hard to regulate mankind to stop “spending time with each other” (Don’t laugh, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to appropriately word that). But it is true, nonetheless.
“But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad”Exodus 1:12, ESV
Not to say that “having quality time with a very close friend” is active against oppression, but in a way the Hebrew people were intent on continuing to build community in the midst of suffering. Of course, I am not going to say they had fun, they were oppressed by their race, they were abused for something they had no control over. They were punished by the fears of an earthly power that would stop at nothing in order to prevent the eventual downfall of one of the most powerful kingdoms to exist, that was built on the backs of slaves.
The Prince of Egypt does a phenomenal job of accurately portraying the enslavement of the Hebrews for a family-friendly movie, but that opening scene is just incredibly well done. If you’ve not seen it, watch it now:
Not to mention how incredible the music is but just simply the images of being enslaved with the knowledge that the next day is going to be just the same.
One of the images I have been getting in the last few months have been this enslavement and cry to God that He would save the enslaved. Not just me, it is just an image I get sometimes. The constant suffering, but also the constant crying out to God to “Deliver Us.” That in all things, in the shadow, that we continue to long and search for God. Even in the silence.
By far, one of my favorite things of this movie, the Prince of Egypt, has to be the use of Hebrew. The language of the people of God. I’m not sure why this sticks out to me so deeply, maybe because I have such a deep love for heart languages. Who knows? But, there is a beauty to what is sung in Hebrew by the mother of Moses, “don’t be frightened, don’t be scared,” what follows is the hope that they will meet again. (Which in the text, his mother actually becomes the midwife to her own son, it is totally a God thing). A hope for something so unlikely, yet she still sings these words of assurance, even in suffering.
Although in the book of Exodus there is no verse that says the Hebrews cried out every day, but realistically there had to be a sense of desperation for God to come and be the Deliverer. I believe that the constant act of crying out to God in repentance and deliverance is something we need to strive for. We live in a world filled with fear. We live in a culture that at the first tweet, or post, someone or something could be “cancelled” for the rest of their lives. What would it look like to kneel in humility everyday and cry out to God to save me from my enemy, from my captor?
That is my challenge for this week, choose to do it or not, I will. Physically kneel before God and call on Him to deliver me from fear. Why wouldn’t I? It is exactly what the evil forces do not want us to be doing.