For the week of January 24, 2004 / 1 Shevat 5764
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 6:2 - 9:35
Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25 - 29:21
Originally published the week of January 16, 1999 / 28 Tevet 5759


You say, "The Nile is mine; I made it for myself."
(Ezekiel 29:3).

Egypt has played a significant role throughout the history of Israel. Its very existence helps to illustrate for us two different life perspectives.

The prosperity of Egypt was mainly due to the Nile River. It was the Nile that enriched the soils at its banks thus providing Egypt with fertility unmatched by its neighbours. The provision of the Nile is in stark contrast to Israel's continual dependence on rain.

The Nile is what we would call a natural resource - innate wealth for the Egyptians. Israel's situation was far more precarious. The Egyptians did not have to daily concern themselves with their water needs; the Nile was just there.

This illustrates for us two kinds of lives: one that takes confidence in what one has; the other a life of dependency on forces outside oneself.

It is easy to see how the Egyptians could take their situation for granted.

Now the Nile was God's provision for the Egyptians. The possession of natural resources is a blessing. It is just that when one has abundance on hand, it is that much easier to take those things for granted.

It is striking is see how far the Egyptians had gone in this. The belief emerged that Pharaoh, King of Egypt, attributed the Nile's existence to himself. We may think that this is a ridiculous claim. How could anyone think that they created the Nile? But how many of us who currently have possessions actually do think similarly by taking the credit for what God provided?

While we may have worked hard in our lives - maybe harder than others in fact - we are dependent on so many things outside ourselves just to survive.

The Egyptians may not have realized that while they lived on the banks of this great river, unless it rained in the proximity of its source, it would run dry. It didn't look like they were as dependent as the Israelites, but in fact they were.

When we have good supply, we tend to forget that unless God provides the sun and the rain, we would have nothing at all.

If Pharaoh took a journey up the Nile and saw where his rich supply really came from then maybe he would have a much more humble attitude.

So let us take a walk up our own supply chain and see that every good thing that we enjoy really does come from the hand of God.

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