Tuesday, March 30, 2010

THE HUMANITY: Passover, 2010--Going Up Out Of Egypt

I wish everyone a good Passover.

Of course, everyone will not want a good Passover, but Jews and Christians observe this important time of remembrance and re-dedication.  It has some very important...and fairly obvious...lessons for us in our time.

Israel had come into Egypt as honored guests.  The rulers of Egypt recognized the God Of Israel, and the services of God's servants in preserving Egypt's people.

Over time, Israel came to be seen as a population of "others" to be exploited by Pharaohs who did not know the God Of Israel, and did not honor the historic contributions of His people.  Israel, for its part, appears to have failed to extract itself from the slowly growing yoke of bondage, and had become dependent on "the flesh-pots of Egypt".  In other words, the serfs of Europe centuries later...were held in bondage by their hunger, rather than by actual chains.

Even as their bondage grew, Israel progressively forgot the God of Abraham and their unique relationship with Him, so that a Moses was needed both to act as a deliverer and a law-giver.  Israel had, over time, adopted much of the idolatry they found dominating in Egypt, corrupting themselves as God's chosen people. They had also become slaves in their own estimation, changed from the people their fathers had been.  God would require years to school a forgetful and polluted Israel, and an entire generation would be lost in wondering through the wilderness before Israel could be...finally...brought into the Promised Land.

When Moses came with the command of God "Let My People Go", the stiff-necked Pharaoh refused to hear him.  Pharaoh's slaves were a valuable asset  for Egypt, and he was more than willing to grind them in pursuit of his glory, and the glory of his line.  Why not, after all?  Egypt fed them, and housed them...made life possible for them.  Egypt had every right to require their service in return.  Now came this Moses to demand that, after all Egypt did for them, Israel should just be allowed to go out from Egypt...according to their choice.

Pharaoh would watch Egypt suffer under plague after plague, obstinate, self-absorbed, and able to rationalize each manifestation of God's existence, power, and will.  He would not let the people go.  He was, himself, a god after all.  He was the law in Egypt.

Finally, Pharaoh himself, in a supreme act of hubris and barbarism, declared (as had one of his fore-bearers) that the first-born male of all the households of Israel would be slaughtered.  He unknowingly called down the final, and unbearable, plague on his own people.  God sent his Destroying Angel to visit Egypt with the same penalty that Pharaoh had decreed against Israel.

Israel...that portion of Israel that chose to obey God's word...was spared the terrible night of the Destroying Angel by marking their doors with the blood of a lamb.  The Destroyer passed over those homes, but fulfilled the command of God respecting all other homes in Egypt. 

I could elucidate each parallel from this powerful story to our time, but won't.  Let those with eyes to see, see.

God bless us with vision.  "Next year in Jerusalem".  

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