As we begin a new series on Exodus, I’m reminded of my Hebrew heritage. Oddly, I wasn’t even aware of the Israelite ancestry for the 1st decade of my life. When it was commanded by my grandparents that I must have a Bar Mitzvah, everything changed. All of a sudden, I was quite different from the 99% of kids I knew in the largely Protestant Catholic neighborhood.
Starting Kindergarten at 4 years old, as my mother went to work full time, would make me the youngest and least developed child in each grade. This was already a challenge, not to mention I was short. The only other Jewish kid I knew was bullied relentlessly and called anti-Semitic names. Since my step-father had us change our last name to his very Italian one when I was in 2nd grade, I tried to hide this little known fact about me for the entire 2 years I studied for the ceremony. I also had to lie to everyone about my whereabouts in the afternoon. Up until then, I was involved in school plays, clubs, and after school sports. It was so painful at the time, that when the Bar Mitzvah was over, I told my parents that I wanted nothing to do with any kind of religion for the rest of my life. If you had any interaction with me from 13 to 31 years old, and it had anything to do with religion, you would’ve received some harsh words or worse.
Tony outlined the new series by sharing that the story of Exodus is really the story of US also, and that the character of God is on display in the life of his people then and now. During the Israelite 450 journey from Egyptian bondage to freedom, God was concerned for their plight and remembered his promise to them. God ALWAYS fulfills his promise, if we’re obedient and patient and willing to rely on him. God really wants our freedom, not robotic rule followers. The foreshadowing of a spotless lamb’s blood over a Hebrew doorframe saving them from death, and thousands of years later a sinless Jesus would be the new lamb to also save us from death is clear. We also learn that no matter how difficult or hopeless looking the situation, God is powerful enough to do something about it. I’m looking forward to drilling into these attributes and promises over the next few months.
As I’ve grown older, I wouldn’t say I’ve embraced that uniqueness of being a descendent of God’s original chosen AND a believer of Jesus, but I am more interested in that history. I can count on 1 hand how many conversations I’ve had with elderly family members regarding the ancestry. I was told by my grandfather, before his death, that we were descended from the tribe of Benjamin. Hopefully this series will draw us all closer to God.
Have a great week !