I’ve never in my life been so surrounded by one thing, I can’t get away from it. Exodus is everywhere.
You know how in really good movies there is an unexpected twist? The very best kind of plot twist is when it’s really just revealing something that was there all along. Whether it reveals that the man helping the little boy seeing dead people is also dead, or the pioneer community is really a utopian society developed to escape the darkness of progress in modern times, or the two fight club founders are really just one guy...the truth was really there all along. The truth was there the entire time unrealized, that's what makes these twists so mind blowing.
Well when it comes to Exodus consider me mind-blown because I didn’t see what was there the entire time, right in front of me in black and white with serif font.
I’ve found myself comparing the Israelites' miraculous exodus out of slavery to the miraculous ways that God lead our family out of some hard times. He freed us and made a way when it seemed like there was none! Glory!
But I missed the best half of the story, the part that was there all along.
Did God make a way for the Israelites to escape their bondage? Absolutely. Is that all he did? Nope. Was freedom the end game? No again.
God drew them out of Egyptian slavery so He could draw them to Himself.
Did you catch that? He drew them out to draw them in.
Crazy thing, but Exodus doesn't actually end after chapter 14. It's not a secret, it's been there the whole time: life after the escape. There was a purpose for their freedom. But I never saw that coming. I just thought freedom was the goal. But God had something so much better to offer. He gave them himself, His presence restored.
Let’s not forget--this was the impossible. A Holy God sharing his presence with unholy sinners? That had been wrecked in the Garden. But He made a way to restore His presence with His people: the tabernacle and the law. (Later He would go further still to share Himself with us, knowing that we are too flawed to uphold the law perfectly. He would go on to abolish the law through His Son and become The Way for us once and for all.)
After our hard season, sometimes this “Now what?” feeling crept in that lead to a “Just waiting for the other shoe to drop” anxiety. But now I see it clear as day. He didn’t make a way to free us and provide for us and then just drop us off at a better season of life to do...whatever, like 14 year year olds dropped off at the mall for the afternoon.
Freedom from bondage isn’t the closing of a chapter, it's not a tidy little conclusion. It’s the start. The real excitement, the story, the adventure is closeness, nearness with our Creator, our God.
He pulled us out--yes, and then (even better) He pulled us IN. And because He is the infinite God, He can be infinitely explored. His love is infinite, His holiness is infinite, His sovereignty AND His mercy go on forever and forever. If we burrow in to His nearness, then we'll see like the children in that infamous wardrobe, what we think is simply a small hiding place is actually a new door to new revelations and infinite doorways of the goodness to come.