Meditation Exodus 13:4—Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving. The month of Abib, (called Nisan in the post-exilic period), extends from March to April. Moses in the passage above was addressing his countrymen at a most historic time. God rescued them from their Egyptian oppressors and now they were headed into what would become a 40-year desert ordeal. They of course did not know that—they were expecting a fairly quick move to Canaan, the Promised Land. Their leaving was done in haste with little preparation and no doubt great anxiety mixed with the joy of liberation.
Randy told us the following story at our elders’ meeting. A young boy was sitting at the piano playing a well-known song when his mother came up behind him and started singing. The boy stopped playing and looked up at his mother and said, “Mama, you’re singing in the cracks!” The poor woman was off-key and the boy wanted her to know it.
Monday, I received a message from my antivirus program telling me that a Microsoft Word App was trying to access my protected files. I checked the block to prevent that access. The next day all my Word documents were Read Only which meant I could not edit them and anything I copied and pasted also reverted to a Read Only status. In essence I was shut down from working. Microsoft user support spent half the day trying to help me without success. The next day, the antivirus company sent me a fix and I was able to get my documents running again. Until the following day when suddenly everything was again Read Only! Talk about being frustrated—this was just not right! Once again, I contacted Microsoft and again a technician worked with me after I gave her permission to access my computer remotely. This time she was successful in solving the problem. What a relief to be able to type in new additions and to make needed changes.
Fellowship is a rich concept much deeper in meaning than we probably realize. In Hebrew the primary word for fellowship is šelem and it occurs 87 times in the New International Version (NIV). Only once is it used in the context of meeting with others (Psalm 55:13,14), in every other instance fellowship connects to God through the giving of a fellowship offering. The fellowship or peace offering in the Old Testament emphasized the opportunity the Hebrews had for close communion with God. This fellowship was consummated by eating the flesh of an animal presented as an offering to God (Leviticus 3 and 7:11-21). The peace offering meant that all was well relationally between Yahweh and His people and it was the last offering given.
British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in a speech given in 1988 said: We are a nation whose ideals were founded on the Bible. Also it is quite impossible to understand our literature without grasping this fact. That is the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaeo-Christian tradition has played in moulding our laws, manners and institutions.
“The older man continued. ‘It has been my observation that just one out of ten who start out in full-time service for the Lord at twenty-one are still on track by the age of sixty-five’ . . . What makes you think that you will be the one man out of ten who finishes strong?”