We know from Deuteronomy 1:2 that it should have taken only eleven days to travel from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea, which was on the border of the Promised Land. Yet, it took the children of Israel forty years to make the journey. God wanted the journey to be for forty days because He programmed to teach the Israelites some certain things that will help them function well in the promised land, the wilderness was actually meant to be a Divine school that will enable God’s children to function in the supernatural. The Israelites got stuck in the wilderness and the process was prolonged because of their unbelief. Naturally the journey would have taken them eleven days but God initiated it for forty days so that He can school them for greatness but their unbelief made the process to become forty years. The Israelites had been in bondage in Egypt for about 400 years, when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush and revealed to him His two-step plan. Exodus 3:7-8 reveals God’s original plan for the Israelites which was a two-step plan:
1. The first step was to take them OUT OF Egypt.
2. The second step was to take them directly INTO the Promised Land, the chosen place of His blessings
It was never God’s intention for them to spend a fruitless time in the wilderness and consequently forfeit His blessings of the Promised Land. As we read Numbers 13 and 14 we will discover God’s desire for the Israelites to trust His promises about His good intentions and plans for them in Canaan, the special destination where He wanted to bless them. It needs to be understood from the Scriptures that God only wanted to bless His children, the Israelites. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on God’s part, yet the Israelites, as humans, still refused to consider Him trustworthy. Their unwillingness to trust in His character was based on illogical human reasoning (Prov. 3:5-6).
Actually the Exodus experience transformed the Jewish people and gave them a goodly morality. Exodus morality meant giving justice to the weak and the poor. Honest weights and measures, interest-free loans to the poor, leaving part of the crops in the field for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, treating the alien stranger as a native citizen — these are all applications of the Exodus principle to living well in this world. The Ten Commandments open with the words:
“I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” Exodus 20:2-3.
Not to have any other gods means giving no absolute status to other forms of divinity or to any human value that demands your absolute obeisance. Neither money nor power, neither economic nor political system has the right to demand absolute loyalty. This is the key to true democracy. Thus, the Exodus experience, transformed the Jewish people and their ethical value system, the civil rights of human globally is profoundly shaped by the aftereffects of the Exodus event. Till date, humans are so suffused with the vision of their own right to improvement that any revolutionary spark sets off huge conflagrations. In a way, true democracy is a secularized version of the Exodus’ final triumph. Globally, the effect of Exodus experience directly or indirectly inspires the hundreds of millions who strive to overcome their sufferings. It also helps us to remember that slavery gradually conditions people to accept servitude as the norm. The Israelites fell into that trap and were delivered, not by their own merit. The lesson is that a slave needs help to get started on liberation.
In modern times, the image of redemption has proven to be the most powerful spirit in all of human anticipation. The true impact of the Exodus experience is that it does not present itself as ancient history, a one-time event. Since the key way to remember the Exodus is renovation, the event offers itself as an ongoing experience in human history. As free people remember the Exodus, it turns memory into moral dynamic. The experience and memories of slavery that breaks and crushes slaves does not brings limitations to free people rather it evokes feelings of repulsion and determination to help others escape that state. Useful scientific ideas and conceptions of human freedom carry the same message: do not accept disadvantage or suffering as your fate; rather, let the world be transformed!
The Exodus experience is not some ancient event, however important; it is the ever-recurring redemption. It is the event from ancient times that is occurring right now; it is the past and future redemption of humanity. The Exodus is the most influential historical event of all time because it did not happen once but recurs whenever people open up and enter into better life.
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