This week we remember and celebrate the amazing, awe-inspiring, redeeming love of God. This week millions of Jews celebrate Passover, the day the Israelites were saved from the tenth plague in Egypt, as Jews sprinkled the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their doorpost and the angel of death passed over their households. It is part of the larger story of God redeeming his people from bondage in Egypt and guiding them to the land he promised to them, flowing with milk and honey. Just when they thought there was no hope for their situation, God sends a reluctant shepherd named Moses, performs a number of miracles, and even reveals himself to Moses so that Moses has enough faith for himself and all the Israelites to keep heading towards God’s promises. Passover was the precursor to Easter, celebrated this week by millions of Christians, when Jesus, the lamb of God, was sacrificed as atonement for our sins and raised from the dead on the third day. Easter is also part of the larger story of God redeeming his people from bondage to sin, giving them his own Holy Spirit, and guiding them to a relationship with him, and eventually a heavenly promised land.
I am quite sure that God is in the business of redemption – 5,000 years ago, 2,000 years ago, and today. And I am quite sure that God is our Redeemer, our Jehovah Gaal, not just in big ways, like Passover and Easter, but in our everyday lives. In the words of Job, who went through more trials than most people can ever imagine, which were put to a popular song in the mid 1990’s thousands of years later, “I know my Redeemer lives!”
When medical situations seem impossible, when broken relationships seem like they can never be reconciled, when jobs seem to have no future, when evil people make our lives miserable with seemingly no way out – – that is when God is still working behind the scenes for our good to redeem us and guide us into a promised land of rest in Him. All too often, however, we are like the Israelites who kept looking back to Egypt, rather than like Moses looking forward to a new life and rejoicing in their new freedom that God had miraculously wrestled from Pharoah. All too often, we are like the Israelites who were frightened of the giants in the land, instead of resting on God’s promises that the land was already theirs, all they had to do was fight for it and God would give them victory. All too often, we are like the Israelites and afraid of the unknown before us, instead of finding comfort in God’s promise “I am with you,” – which is all we really need to know. And too often, we forget to ask God to bring his amazing grace and redemption, when He is just waiting for us to ask Him into our impossible situation so that He can work his miracles.
This Holy Week, my hope is that you will know that Jehovah Gaal has engraved your name on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 46:16), that He contends with those who contend with you (Isaiah 46:25), that there is nowhere that you can go where his Spirit won’t be with you (Psalm 139:7-12), that He guides you with His right hand and holds you fast as you navigate this life (Psalm 139:10), and most importantly, He is with you (Isaiah 41:10) and He is for you (Jeremiah 29:11) and He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).