Athlete, Have Risky Faith

*This devotional series was written by the AIA staff at the University of Virginia

Read Exodus 13-14

This is Israel’s Braveheart moment, when William Wallace delivers his freedom speech from horseback, calling a ragtag Scottish army to come out from the under the tyranny of England and to risk their lives for the sake of true freedom.  The Israelites are content to exist in a state of living death in Egypt (14:10-12), but God is calling them to a life of freedom in him!  The difference between Israel and the Scottish soldiers is that the LORD (Yahweh) will fight Israel’s battle (14:13-14), to much greater effect (14:28-31).  Israel is simply called to faith in God’s guiding presence and power, revealed to them in the elements of fire, cloud, wind, and water.  It is an extraordinarily risky faith from a human perspective, but it is a sure thing with God.  

This crossing of the Red Sea is Israel’s baptism (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).  They pass through the waters of death to find true life in God, having been cleansed of the false gods and oppressive practices of Egypt.  The crossing is the starting point of their new life together, a sign that will mark their identity for the ages and that finds its fulfillment in our eternal deliverance in Jesus (e.g. Romans 6:20-23).  

In response, Israel is called to remember God’s deliverance through the Feast of Unleavened bread (13:3-8) and through the offering of their firstborn animals to the Lord and the redemption of their firstborn sons through a monetary offering (13:2,14-15).  The sign and symbol of unleavened bread  signified wholehearted devotion, leaving the yeast of sin behind (13:9 - “the law of the Lord is to be on your lips”), while the sign and symbol of the firstborn offering signified a life wholly offered to God in response to his salvation (13:16).  

Questions for Reflection and Prayer
1. Are there any areas of your life in which you have grown content with slavery to sin?  In what ways would you have to trust in God’s provision in order to be delivered from these sinful patterns?  Are you trusting in God’s presence and power, perhaps expressed through Christian community, to free you, or are you trusting in your own efforts?
2. The miracle of deliverance at the Red Sea is only a taste of the miracle of Jesus’ final deliverance from death in his resurrection.  If you have been united to Jesus by faith, have you received the outward sign of baptism, marking your inclusion among the people of God in Jesus’ deliverance from death?  Take time to reflect on what God has done for you through Jesus’ resurrection.  
3. As you reflect on the signs of wholehearted devotion and of a life wholly offered to God that are given in today’s passage, how do you need to pray for the Spirit’s work in your life?

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