I seem to remember many years ago reading a holiday advertisement about following the route Moses took through the wilderness. The “holiday” promised lots of sand, camels, an oasis or two and lots of nomads. I was interested but it was entirely out of the question as I quite broke at the time.
Reading Numbers 33 is like reading an itinerary of all the stops and starts along the route to the Promised Land.
The chapter begins with the people of Israel leaving Egypt “defiantly, in full view of all the Egyptians” (Numbers 33:3 NLT version). The Egyptians had been their enemies. They had mistreated the Israelites for many years. Then God had intervened with all the plagues, culminating in the death of the first-born. The threat that the Egyptians posed was gone. They no longer had power to dictate their lives.
Let your lips linger over the word “defiantly”. Let your tongue taste the phrase “in full view”.
The Israelites did not creep out of Egypt in the middle of the night, on tiptoe. They did not wrap their camels’ hooves in cloth to stop them making any noise. They did not leave the country apologetically, sorry that they were leaving buildings unfinished. They left “defiantly”.
It’s worth checking out how other versions of the Bible translate the verse.
“They marched out boldly in full view of the Egyptians.” (NIV)
“They marched out heads held high and confident…and the Egyptians watched them go.” (The Message)
“The Israelites went out of Egypt with a high hand and triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians.” (The Amplified Bible)
Defiantly, boldly, with confidence and triumphantly are words and phrases that convey a strong picture. Their enemies watched and could do nothing to stop them from leaving. The Israelites were enabled to be defiant and bold not because of anything they had done, but because of everything that God had done for them. It was God who had secured their freedom.
At the cross, Satan was forced to hand over the keys of Hades to Jesus. He could only watch as hell emptied. He was powerless to stop the souls he had imprisoned there from following Jesus. I am sure that, like the Israelites before them leaving Egypt, they all marched out defiantly, boldly, with confidence and triumphantly!
God gloriously delivered His people from the hands of their enemies. Christ, through His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the grave has delivered me from my enemy - sin!
Every day I can walk defiantly, boldly, with confidence and triumphantly. I can live my life in such a way that the enemy knows that he has lost. Any authority he had over me is gone. God’s Spirit now dictates how I live my life! I don’t need to be apologetic about my faith or walk on tiptoe afraid to disturb people. Such boldness is rooted not in anything I have done, but in everything that God had done for me.
New International Version © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
The Message © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
New Living Translation © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.
Amplified Bible © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
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