Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left….And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses…. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord…. And Miriam… took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with trimbrels and with dances.”
Exodus 14: 29, 31
15: 1, 20
King James Version
“From Deliverance to Dancing”
“Joy is peace dancing; peace is joy resting.”
What “Pharaoh” in my life has God delivered me from?
What has God done for me that causes me to dance for joy?
“To pursue joy is to lose it. The only way to get it is to follow steadily the path of duty, without thinking of joy.”
Alexander Mac Laren
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”
The Song of Solomon 2: 11, 12
King James Version
This week, we have received a large number of prayer requests from Transformation Garden friends who have had relatives and friends diagnosed with cancer. At the same time, I’ve received so many dear notes from our Prayer Warriors assuring me that you were praying over these requests. As I’ve read your emails, I tried to imagine what it would sound like having nearly 10,000 voices in over 90 countries around the world praying together in unison like a large choir. It would be so beautiful I believe it would be difficult to describe with words.
This is exactly how I feel about the scenario painted in Exodus 15: 20, 21. Over 500,000 women were dancing and singing together. In the Hebrew, the word used for “dancing” is “company.” This would certainly be the largest dance company I’ve ever heard of.
Having been led by God through the sea and watching His deliverance from the Egyptian army, the children of Israel, like a large dance company, led by the women, broke into a song of joy and a dance filled with rejoicing. God’s deliverance inspired an overflowing, outburst of unbridled joy. This type of “deliverance” in Hebrew is portrayed as a “rescue.” And I believe we would agree, God rescued His children by providing a way through their sea of problems. God didn’t remove the sea – He made a path through it.
And I’d like to say that this is the same strategy I’ve seen God use over and over again in my own life.
While I wish God would just take away all my troubles and pain and eliminate them for good, we all know that as long as we are on this planet, problems will “dog” our path like a blood hound following a scent. God, instead, gives us one example after another as to how He takes us through our problems. And the result is that after going through the sea, on dry ground no less, our faith is strengthened and our trust in God’s guidance and power is elevated to new heights. Like the children of Israel, once on the other side, we are propelled to dance for joy because of a new found appreciation of our Father’s loving care.
I love how Kate McIlhagga expresses what God does for us in the difficulties and hardships we face:
“Spirit of God, brooding over the waters of our chaos, inspire us to generous living. Wind of God, dancing over the desert of our reluctance, lead us to the oasis of celebration.”
I have no idea what waves of chaos you face today or what Pharaoh is chasing you down, trying to haul you back to Egypt’s bondage. But I do know, the same God who was at work in the dark of night and in a fearful wind clearing a pathway of deliverance for the children of Israel, is at work in your life and mine today.
As one author so beautifully penned, “You can’t appreciate the miracle of the sunrise unless you’ve waited in the darkness.” It wasn’t until the light of dawn that God’s children were able to see the path through the sea. Who knows, your dawning may be today and your joy will, “come in the morning!”
“This day and your life are God’s gift to you: so give thanks and be joyful always!
“Lord, you have given me so much; I ask for one more thing- a grateful heart.”
“My Father, you have carried me through all my wanderings
and loved me through my rebelliousness.
I praise you.
You have given me untold riches:
friends to love,
beauty to enjoy,
I praise you for life on this planet,
for trust between people,
and the unimaginable gift of the Gospel.
Keep me thankful all my days,
that, against all the odds,
I may never lose sight
of hope and delight.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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