PARASHAT BESHALACH (WHEN HE SENT)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 13:17–17:16
Do you know your time on earth is temporary? We sometimes lose sight of the fact that our troubles and tribulations in this life will one day come to an end. This week’s parasha offers us a clue that even the children of Israel knew that their time in slavery was not forever:
Now it came about when Pharaoh sent the people to go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt.” Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea (“End” or “Final” Sea in Hebrew. For more on this, see Parashat Beshalach (When He Sent)); and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God shall surely take care of you; and you shall carry my bones from here with you.” Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. – Exodus 13:17–22 (emphasis mine)
The fact that Moses took Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, back to the Land of Israel, is quite significant for a few reasons. First, it shows that the children of Israel always knew that their time in Egypt was temporary and that one day, God would bring them back to the Land of Promise. Second, it reveals that Moses had the same faith that Joseph had, which is what I believe drove him to trust God even in the hard times, when all odds seemed against him. The writer to the Hebrews refers to Joseph’s faith when he writes:
By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. – Hebrews 11:22
In closing, I believe we can have the same faith that Joseph and Moses had, trusting that God’s promises will come to fruition in His perfect timing. Our troubles are temporary and won’t last forever. Stand on His promises and remember: He is always faithful!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.