Exodus 17 tells two stories: Moses bringing forth water from a rock and a battle against the Amalekites being won by him holding up his arms.
Those are weird stories.
But come to think of it, this whole book is full of weird stories.
So rather than reflect on (or humorously lampoon) Exodus 17, I’ll take some time to review how I approach this study with some big picture observations, interpretations, and then think about how to apply what I’m learning.
If you want a little refresher, check out the “How I Do It” page.
Observation: Nothing Happens “Normally”
Let’s recount some of the major plot points of the Exodus story shall we?
- Moses is called to free God’s people by talking to a burning bush.
- 10 increasingly intense plagues are unleashed upon the nation of Egypt. Including but not limited to: The Nile turning to blood, firey hail falling from the sky, touchable darkness, and the death of every firstborn.
- The people are led from Egypt by a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire.
- The Red Sea is parted and the people walk through on dry ground. Pharaoh’s army tries to get through and is drowned.
- When the people are thirsty, water is provided by throwing a stick into a spring and hitting a rock.
- When the people are hungry, food is provided by bread from heaven and quail. But only enough for one day at a time.
- In their first battle, the Israelites prevail because Moses kept his hands in the air.
Each of these events feels random. I dare you to find anyone who could guess what would happen next. Even when faced with the exact same problem, God gives different solutions!
Interpretation: Israel is Not Going To be a “Normal” Nation.
These are the first stories the Israelite parents are going to tell their children. These are the first memories this infant nation will have. This is the beginning of their story as a liberated people.
What do you think God wants them to know?
Based on the story so far, I would say that God wants them to know . . .
- He hears them and will deliver them from oppression
- He will always provide a way to be rescued, even when the circumstance seems impossible
- He will lead them
- He will feed them
- They are to live a “day to day” lifestyle. Accumulation of wealth and property is not necessary.
- If they listen to him and do what he says, things will go well for them.
- Oh, and He is way more powerful than that Pharaoh Chump.
That’s about it. Pretty simple. But also a crazy way to start a nation.
Now if we are good inductive Bible Study students, we know that we can’t just leave our study with observation and interpretation. We have to move into application.
So I will leave that up to you. Seeing what we see and trying to make as much sense of it as we can, how should we apply what we are learning?