Anxious Nights Between Destruction and Chaos

Scripture Focus: Exodus 14.19-20
19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. 

Reflection: Anxious Nights Between Destruction and Chaos
By John Tillman

The crossing of the Red Sea is dramatic, but it was not an instant miracle. The waters did not rush backward in seconds or in dramatic slow-motion. We do not know exactly what it looked like but we do know that it took all night long for the waters to be blown back and the path to dry out. 

During the night the people were protected by the pillar of cloud and fire, which brought them light and their enemies darkness. Despite this, the night must still have been one of sustained tension and anxiety as the wind blew and the waters slowly parted and dried up.

The imagery of the Red Sea crossing reflects parts of the Genesis creation account and establishes God as the ruler over creation. Many in the ancient world viewed large bodies of water as symbols of chaos. It is this kind of watery chaos and darkness that is depicted in Genesis when God’s Spirit is hovering over the waters before causing dry land to appear. (Genesis 1.2)

To part the waters for Israel, God’s Spirit sends an “East wind” that blows on the waters through the night, exposing dry land. An “East wind” did not necessarily blow from the East, as we would think of it. 

In Hebrew climatology, different types of winds came from the four corners of the Earth. Wind from “the East” was associated with dryness. It was a wilderness wind that destroyed vegetation. On this night, the wilderness wind brought order to the chaos of the sea, driving it back and drying the land beneath. From the chaos of the sea and the wilderness wind, God brings order and a highway to salvation.

In our lives, we may spend many anxious nights facing chaos. We may wait in tension and darkness, needing a miracle. Chaos may block our way, with destruction only steps behind us.

God is with us in these times. 

We have no pillar of cloud, but we have the guidance and protection of his Word. 
We have no wind to blow across the chaos, but we are filled with the wind of the Holy Spirit that brings order to our chaotic hearts and minds. 
When we face turbulent, chaotic waves, we have the foundation of Jesus Christ upon which to make our stand and the footsteps of the Savior in which to place our feet.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord; I will sing praises to you among the nations. — Psalm 108.3

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Exodus 14  (Listen -4:46)
Luke 17 (Listen – 4:22)

Read more about Jericho’s Wall
The lesson of Jericho’s wall is…if we are unfaithful, we too will face God’s wrath and no wall will stand in its way.

Read more about Captivity, Exile, and Exodus
The formerly oppressed, became oppressors. The formerly abused, became abusers. Israel became Egypt.

Prayer for Older Brothers :: Guided Prayer

Luke 15.31-32
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Reflection: Prayer for Older Brothers :: Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Mature believers must recognize the dual message in Christ’s parable of the prodigal son. In many ways it could be considered the parable of the prodigal sons. 

One son refused to stay in the home due to sinful rebellion.
One son refused to enter the home due to sinful unforgiveness.
One son squandered his father’s wealth.
One son coveted his father’s wealth.
One son was humiliated by his own scandalous behavior.
One son was humiliated by his father’s scandalous grace.

Beginning our faith journey, we struggle to understand how God could love us and adopt us into his family despite our sinfulness. But after living comfortably as a member of God’s family, we soon struggle to understand how God could adopt anyone else.

There are limits to what is restored to the son who returns. His inheritance is spent and will not be restored. He will be financially dependant on his older brother. But in every other aspect, he is restored. He is restored to full fellowship, full honor, and full trust. These things are indicated by the sandals, robe, and ring. His identity is restored. His authority is restored. He is not a second-class family member.

Pray this prayer for an older brother this weekend. God the Father will come out to you, and beg you to rejoice at the scandalous sinners he has adopted as his children.

Prayer for Older Brothers

God, your mercy is a mystery to me.
I see the sins of others and I am scandalized.
How could such a one be accepted?
How could such a one be loved?
How could such a one be forgiven?
How could such a one be trusted?

You come out and embrace me, Father.
You invite me to celebrate
The sinful repentant,
The wanderer returned,
The prideful humbled,
The scandalous purified.

Over your shoulder I see the celebration.
And I remember…
The day you celebrated me, repentant.
The day you celebrated me, returned.
The day you lifted me up when I was humbled.
The day you purified me from my scandalous sin.

The party is not for my prodigal sibling but for me.
The celebration is not for his sins but for your mercy.
Put your arm around my shoulder, Father.
Lead me in, to celebrate mercy shared.
Lead me in, to rejoice for sinners changed.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. — Psalm 85:10

Today’s Readings
Exodus 12:22-51 (Listen – 7:31)
Luke 15 (Listen – 4:19)

This Weekend’s Readings
Exodus 13 (Listen – 3:30), Luke 16 (Listen – 4:27)
Exodus 14 (Listen – 4:46), Luke 17 (Listen – 4:22)

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Read more about In the Face of the Impossible
In a very real sense, not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory.

Read more about The Focus of Christ’s Anger
Seek today for what in your life causes Christ to grieve, to be angry. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart and cleanse you.