Today’s readings… (Exodus 13,14), (Psalm 68), (Mark 2)
There are interesting parallels between our two Old Testament readings today. Chapters 13 & 14 of Exodus describe the drama of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt. We noted the fear they had when the Egyptians started pursuing them and Moses reassurance that the LORD was in control, they must “Fear not and stand firm” [14 v.13]; their God would complete their deliverance and, in doing so, make a “name” for himself.
Psalm 68 gives us David’s perceptions of how God arises and so enemies are scattered and those who hate God flee before him (v.1) which is what happened to Pharaoh’s armies. That David’s words are somewhat inspired by these events is plain from v.7. “O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness … the heaven poured down rain, before God, the one of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel”
Then we noted how David had also reflected on situations with individuals, how God watches over them as “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows … God settles the solitary in a home” [v.5,6] David would think of the times he was alone when fleeing from Saul, his anxieties of mind, but, ultimately, the realization of God’s protection. Moses could well have had similar thoughts at times in the 40 years before he encountered God at the burning bush.
So David is thinking of himself and other individuals when he writes, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.” [v.19] The Lord Jesus also experienced this, the disciples had little ability to bear him up and so, at times, he retreated to the mountains alone as we will read in a few days’ time. (Mark 6 v.46).
The ultimate time was in Gethsemane before his arrest, “Could you not watch one hour?” followed by special personal advice, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” [Mark 14 v.37] As we daily read the Bible – it should have the effect of bringing us closer to God – and as we do this we will sense more and more how he “daily bears us up.”