Pastor Ken Maxey: Morning Devotion12/21/21
Celebrating the Birth of a Nation
“The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him.” Exodus 15:2
How many of you can recall your actual birth? Well, I know for an absolute fact that none of you reading this devotion can remember one second of the day you came into this world.
The reason I know this is because every single human that ever existed did not possess the physical capabilities to store any memories of that amazing moment when it first happened. In fact, the network of neurons connecting the brain cells that allows for memories to be stored was still being constructed. And since there were no connections of brain cells, any sensory information you received at birth is forever lost.
Fortunately, you have, or had, parents, grandparents, and other folks who could remember for you. As such, they may have told you about it several times, with different vantage points, and in various ways. They may have even had photos or video of you when you were just minutes old.
Lots of times parents will bring out these pictures or tapes to help celebrate your birth and to reminisce about the day you were born. Many times parents, particularly the mom, will often talk about the length of pregnancy, the pain of the labor, and then the joy of holding you for the first time.
So even though you may not have any memories of your actual day of birth, there are often people in your lives that help recall and celebrate all that took place in bringing you into this world.
In a very real sense when we get to Exodus 15, we are seeing the celebration of the birth of a nation. Perhaps you have never looked at it in this manner. But for just a moment I want to compare the birth of Israel with the birth of a baby.
Going back to Genesis 15 we see God entering into a covenant with Abraham in a ceremony that greatly resembles a wedding ceremony. There are two parties involved. God and Abraham are represented on each side of a passageway. Both of them pass down the center aisle. Promises are made to be faithful forever, love unconditionally and to multiply.
Next we fast forward to Exodus. We see that God has planted the seed of Abraham, by way of Jacob and Joseph, within the safety and protection of the land Egypt. As a result, the Hebrews were incubated from the harsh famine, and were able to grow and thrive in the fertile lands of Goshen. But soon they outgrew the land and it became an uncomfortable situation. They were needing to be delivered.
Through a series of afflictions, God brought about enough pain and suffering to push the Pharaoh into letting the Hebrews go. As a result, the process of delivery started, and the Hebrews began making their way out from the safety of Egypt.
But then they came up against one last obstacle – the waters of the Red Sea. In a very miraculous way God broke the water, divided it in to two sections, formed a canal by which the Hebrews passed through, out into a new land. Once this happened, God cut the ties of Egypt by cutting off the Pharaoh and his army. A new nation was born!
The Israelites commemorated the event with two melodies – The Song of Moses and the Song of Miriam. Exodus 15:1 tells us that Moses and the children of Israel all sang in celebration of what God had done to deliver them. It was an awe-inspiring moment!
But let’s for a minute consider what would have happened if the Hebrews refused to leave the “safety” of Egypt. In essence they would have been telling God they simply didn’t trust Him; despite all the miraculous things He had done for them. As a result, it would have been likely that as a people group, they would have died out, or have been absorbed into the Egyptian culture.
Praise God this did not happen, or else we may still be waiting for the Messiah to come. For if the nation of Israel had not been born, there would not have been the twelve tribes, or a King David. There would have been no Bethlehem. There would have been no Mary giving birth to the baby Jesus. There would be no heavenly hosts singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” There would be no CHRISTmas to celebrate.
As we take a moment to fully grasp the significance and symbolism of the birth of the nation of Israel, we also have to remember they were on the threshold of a long journey of wondering in the wilderness. But eventually they did reach the Promise Land where they were able to find rest.
I encourage you as you are going into the Christmas weekend, remember that you were born again in Christ Jesus. Even though your journey may be rough and difficult, God has a Promise Land of eternal rest waiting for you. So, when life tries to make you feel trapped and hopeless, perhaps try reading Exodus 15 and even singing God’s praises. It may be just the thing to deliver you from the holiday blues.
I pray you have a terrific Tuesday and a Merry Christmas!