Sixty six people along with their families migrated with their father Jacob into Egypt (Gen 46:26). Several decades later this same group multiplied rapidly to become a huge nation. Their growing numbers threatened the Egyptians who made slaves out of the Israelites in a bid to subdue them. Forgetting all the good they received as a nation due to the wisdom of Joseph, the Egyptians harassed the Israelites and pushed them to form the working class of the Egyptian society.
The Israelites pinned their hopes on Yahweh, the God of their Fathers and cried to Him for a deliverance from this bondage. About 430 years passed by before God decided to step in and bring His children out of Egypt. Though God could have done this with ease either by softening Pharoah’s heart or through war and bloodshed, He decided to bring freedom to the Israelites in the most extraordinary fashion.
In an awesome display of power, God defies the forces of nature and worked a supernatural deliverance for the Israelites. Even when the whole land of Egypt was afflicted with plague after plague, Goshen, the land occupied by the Israelites remained untouched. (Exodus 11:7). Ten plagues later, a bereaved Pharoah orders the Israelites out of the land.
With much rejoicing and loaded with goodies given by their Egyptian neighbors, the Israelites embark on a journey to Canaan, the Promised Land. Even this was not the end of their woes for Pharoah has a sudden change of heart and decides to pursue the Israelites and bring them back. Even as the Israelites crumble in lack of faith on Yahweh who led them thus far, God blows out the sea and makes an escape route for the Israelites while their Egyptian counter parts end up in a watery grave.
This was not the end. For forty years God continued to lead the Israelites through paths they did not know in the wilderness, with His own presence and provision till they stepped into the Promised Land. Even before much of this wilderness experience came about, God speaks to the Israelites through Moses, tender words of affection in a poetic comparison of His deliverance to eagle’s wings.
Some Bible scholars opine that the bird referred to may not necessarily have been an eagle. Another similar bird called ‘rachama’ which was known for its affectionate care of its young fits here. Whether called an eagle or rachama, this bird stands out for its strength and tender disposition. These attributes certainly fit into the nature of God’s deliverance.
God reminds the Israelites of all He had done to the Egyptians, miracles which the Israelites witnessed for themselves. God proves His power and authority through this and helps them see that the end of their journey was beyond Canaan, it was to Himself.
Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was not merely to be physical but also spiritual. God wanted to make a nation out of the Israelites, a people whom He could treasure and call His own and through whom He may reach others.
Though Israel failed to live up to God’s expectation and turned their backs on the one who carried them on eagle’s wings, God did not give up on His plan to correct His erring creation. Hundreds of years later, God once again stepped in to deliver fallen man in a miraculous fashion by sending His Precious Son Jesus to bridge the gap. God carried sinful man back to Himself on eagle’s wings through the Cross of Christ.
This deliverance comes as a comfort to aching hearts, grieved by many trials and hardships. With each new day, life does not seem to get any easier. Do you find the struggle to survive sapping out your energy? Are you looking for a way out, a deliverance like the Israelites did in Egypt?
The Deliverer is here and He longs to carry you on wings of love, strength and courage. He wants to carry you to a place of rest and refreshment. He wants to carry you to Himself. If only you let Him.
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” Exodus 19:4 (NIV)
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