Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 15th , 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Exodus 12:40-42 (NIV) 40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt [a] was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come. Today, I just have a short, but I think really important message to share. As I read the above passage from the second book of the Old Testament, which is part of today’s OT lesson in the lectionary, I was immediately struck by one thing.
430 years is a long time. A really long time. I did a little research (thanks to Google, of course), at the time Exodus was written, someone that lived to adulthood averaged a life span of about 50 years. What that means is the Israelites spend 9 generations in captivity to the Egyptians.
It must have seemed during that time that God was either incapable or unwilling to help his people out of their trouble and distress. Generations hoped, and prayed, and longed for freedom and the joy of the promised land without getting so much as a taste of freedom or a hint of a move to a better place.
Yet, in the end, God was faithful. In God’s timing – something we won’t understand on this side of heaven – God, called Moses and lead his chosen people to freedom, through a parted sea, and across a barren wilderness to the promised land. It was 470 years between when the Israelites first came to Egypt and when they came to the Promised Land of Canaan, but God kept his promise and, we know, was always present with his people.
In comparison, most of our times of trouble, trial, or tribulation are incredibly short. We are, no doubt, in the midst of one right now collectively (and I know many of us are facing individual challenges and hardship as well). The message from our scripture this day is that, no matter how hopeless it seems, no matter how long it takes, God is now and always will be faithful.
Sharing God’s Love, Chip Prayer: Faithful God, help us to trust in you and in your timing, even when we don’t understand it. Be with us during our times of trial, and bring us to the other side of captivity to the promised land as part of your family. Amen.