The Bible says what?

November 14, 2013

 

I have been reading the Bible since I was in first grade. I distinctly remember dragging my new Robin's-Egg-Blue Living Bible to school with me and showing off to my teacher that I could read the Bible and I didn't need any of her "reading lessons" (Yes, I was a bit of a know-it-all) 

But even though I have read the Bible cover to cover (in portions mind you, never in order, that's not my style) there are times when I come across things that blow my mind. And the line in Exodus 12:38, "And a mixed multitude went up also with them", was one of them. 

I had read the story of Moses and the Hebrews in the wilderness, watched the old movie with Charlton Heston many times, and endured years and years of flannel-graph Sunday School presentations (that dates me) but I had never realized that it was not just the Hebrews that willingly walked into that desert following after a strange cloud of fire. 

There was a mixed multitude of what we would call "Gentiles" that went with them. 

And the thought that, perhaps, many of those people could have been Egyptians intrigued me. I wondered, who would have made that choice, to deny their own heritage and gods and leave Egypt to traipse around in the desert following a foreign, invisible, god-of-slaves? 

That is when the story of Kiya from my first novel Counted with the Stars came to me--an Egyptian who was desperate enough to walk away from her country and how she came to be part of the new nation of Israel at the foot of Sinai. 

I had been studying my own heritage for a while, the foundations of my own Christian faith in the bedrock of Israel and our distinctly Jewish Messiah. So as a Gentile who has been grafted into the family of Abraham through Christ (Hebrews 11:8-12) I identified with Kiya and others who chose to throw off their "old nature" and accept the redemption offered by God. 

The Exodus from Egypt is a type, a shadow, of our walk with Christ. We are called to be separate, to accept the grace of shed innocent blood, walk through the waters of baptism, and be led by a mysterious and glorious Spirit through the wilderness of this life. 

So Kiya's fictional journey out of Ancient Egypt mirrors, in many ways, our journey out of sin toward the Promise Land of the Kingdom to come. The way is sometimes difficult, sometimes confusing, and many times filled with doubt, but God in his mercy leads the way and protects us, sometimes even from ourselves and our own bad choices. 

I love it when I dig deep and throw off the filter of what I think I know. Invariably, I find something new, something that surprises me. 

Have you been surprised by anything in the Word, perhaps something you never noticed before? How has it changed your perspective? 

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