40. Hebrew Worship: Redemption Presaged

After the Exodus and the worship celebration(s), they headed for the desert, ran out of water and ended up at a toxic well.

The Hebrews fussed at Moses.

Moses passed the buck to God.

He told Moses to throw a particular stick into the water, and it healed the water.

The people drank and were content.

End of story.

Or not.

In actuality, that simplistic action was a prophetic picture of the crucifixion a millennium later.

There is a fascinating play on words regarding the crucifixion.  Christ made it a point to tell the disciples that He would not die on the ground.  No stoning in Jerusalem.  No being pushed off a cliff in Nazareth.  No being drowned in the Sea of Galilee.  He had to be “lifted up.”  Since the devil was the Prince of the Power of the Air, Jesus was going into His turf, to win this battle in the air, not on the ground or water.

The disciples understood the surface meaning of being crucified, but they didn’t really seem to understand the spiritual dynamic.

But the play on words comes with the phrase “lifted up.”

The Greek word is most commonly used for social elevation, not physically being lifted up in the air.  In other words, it was used for a promotion at work or a coronation in the government sector.  It refers to an increase in honor and power through attaining a new position.  Strong’s Concordance says this:

2a) to raise to the very summit of opulence and prosperity
2b) to exalt, to raise to dignity, honour and happiness

So Jesus was lifted up so He could take down the devil on his own turf.  Awesome defiance.

But He was also exalted through the act of dying for us all.  On the surface, it was a place of utmost degradation.  Both Jesus and heaven saw it differently.  “. . . who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2  NIV

While the world thought He was ending with a whimper, He was actually in the process of the ultimate promotion in all of human history.

This was the picture at Marah.  The people saw bitter water with the threat of death for themselves and their animals since they could not drink it.  God knew He was giving them a picture of redemption that would follow them through their variegated journey.

This was vital.  They only knew war so far.  Their God whupped the Egyptian gods.  This lesson they saw over and over again.  Power.  Violence.  Destruction.  Victory.  Go God.

But you can only destroy outsiders!  What do you do with the parts of your own self, or your history or your community that are less than savory?

For that you need redemption.

And this simple prophetic act, broadly not understood, was God’s first move to introduce them to a different facet of His nature.

Victory is much more easily celebrated than redemption.  The Exodus called forth poetry and parties on a large scale.  This picture of redemption was only acknowledged with a small grateful nod as they filled their bellies and their water pots.

We must do better in our worship.

For us, redemption is behind us and victory ahead.  We celebrate the cross and our salvation as past facts, while we look forward to cosmic victories through eyes of faith.

Join me in a rather personal walk through my life, as I comment on the range of areas where redemption has been part of my journey.

40. Hebrew Worship: Redemption Presaged  Trauma Bonds to Time SLG Coaching blog

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub





  1. says

    The Lord has just recently revealed a huge area of redemption for me that is core to my connection with Him. So, this blog lands in a very tender spot. I so rejoice with the fact that our King met the enemy on his own ground (the air!) and defeated him on many levels all at once. I will join you in this prayer from a special place!


  2. Michelle Neely says

    Thank you for a powerful testimony Arthur, ….I can so relate, as I am in a town, that so much happened, disgrace, dishonor, …..the list is long, I never wanted to come back here again, yet Lord wants me here, so essentially I am in hiding, and it feels appropriate.. Oh god I am undone as well. Thank you for the powerful offering of worship to God for His amazingness for us, and I agree with you Arthur. Many many thanks, Michelle.


  3. Sonia says

    I am so thankful for the pictures of redemption you shared at the seminar in Calgary! Holy Spirit gave me some beautiful reframing while listening to you for me.
    Been putting some skin on and the midwifery framing in the moment! Thank you Arthur for sharing your stories and Scripture in such life giving ways!


  4. says

    I was the lazy daydreamer, always in trouble… now a Writer of Poetry, a Seer! Redemption!

    I couldn’t read out loud in class (though I would read the print off anything, to myself)… Now I can read like a Drama Queen… and read my Poetry in Public! Redemption!

    I couldn’t write a ‘composition’ each Wednesday afternoon in class! Complete block! Bad! 100-lines-before-you-go-home-even-if-it-means-you-miss-the-only-bus-and-have-to-walk-five-miles… Now a Wordsmith! Redemption!

    How is this for a start?



  5. says

    Thank you Arthur for sharing of your personal special redemption areas. This is so amazing!

    I gladly join in worship. There are some areas of my life where I would have never thought that redemption is possible, but where I may experience it.

    Thank you for pointing it out today again so deeply.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. says

    Arthur, Confession! Reading this, my attention was 50/50, moving up the scale to 90-95%. Each story from Adam and Eve, throu David to Peter was familiar and had its familiar power bump, AB-style! Then I began to listen to the prayer. You should have seen me leaning forward to catch every word! Not just your story, Arthur, but seeing my story in there at every intersection! My soul has done its protective job of camouflaging the pain so well. I was seeing each area vaguely through the haze of failure and hopelessness… Wow! Each bit was known to Father! He then so graciously showed that there is going to be a gentle peeling off of all those layered band-aids! That promise of revealed Redemption is very real right now even as I write! Stage set! Spotlights tested and ready! Ta-dah! Joan’s Redemption Show! Father has always had the script in His hand, waiting for today! Jesus, my Redeemer, thank you for taking my hand like my big brother! Another journey of awe is here!