In this issue:
Children’s story: Moses parts the Red Sea, with God’s help
Bible Accent: The Israelites sin by complaining
Saint for Today: St. John Vianney
God appeared to Moses and told him to go to Egypt. He wanted Moses to tell the pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery.
God brought 10 plagues on Egypt through Moses to persuade the pharaoh to release the Israelites. But the pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he refused to let them go.
When one of the plagues resulted in the death of his son, the pharaoh, in his grief, set the Israelites free.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt toward the Red Sea. He appeared to them as a column of cloud in the day and a column of fire at night.
Just before they arrived at the Red Sea, God spoke to Moses.
“I will so harden Pharaoh’s heart that he will pursue them,” God said. “Thus I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”
When the pharaoh received a report that the Israelites had indeed left, he changed his mind. He realized that he had freed all of his slaves, and he wanted them back.
The pharaoh readied his chariots and his army, and they took off to capture the Israelites and bring them back to Egypt.
When the Israelites saw the Egyptians coming for them, they were terrified.
Moses calmed them.
“Fear not!” Moses said. “Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today.”
God told Moses to lift up his staff over the Red Sea. Moses did, and God sent a strong wind that blew all night and parted the water. The Israelites began to walk across the dry land, and there was a wall of water on each side of them.
Just before dawn, the Egyptians chased the Israelites into the dry seabed. God slowed their chariots, making it hard for them to move.
The Israelites made it safely across while the Egyptians were stuck in the middle of the dry seabed. God told Moses to lift his hands, and the walls of water came crashing back together over the Egyptians.
When the Israelites saw that none of the Egyptians had survived, they believed in God and his servant, Moses.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Where were the Israelites living in slavery?
2. How did God get the Israelites across the Red Sea?
After God freed the Israelites from slavery, they sinned against him by complaining.
They grumbled to Moses about being hungry, so God sent the people manna and quail to eat.
After complaining to Moses about being thirsty, God had Moses hit his staff on a rock. Water flowed out for the people to drink.
Even with all of the things God did for the Israelites, the people kept sinning against him.
When Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the people demanded a new god to worship. Moses’ brother, Aaron, collected gold jewelry from the people and made a golden calf for them to worship.
This made God very angry. He wanted to destroy the Israelites and make a new nation from Moses. However, Moses asked God to spare and forgive the people, which is something that he had to do a lot.
God forgave the people, but they did not go unpunished. Since the people had sinned against God, and because they did not obey God or wholeheartedly believe in him, God made them travel around the wilderness for many years. He did this because he wanted the complaining and wicked generation to pass away before allowing the Israelites to enter the land he had promised them.
Saint for Today: St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney was born in France in 1786. He was not a very good student, but he studied very hard and became a priest in 1815.
He was assigned to be a parish priest in Ars-en-Dombes, where he served for 40 years. He was very devoted to his parishioners, and he gave good homilies. Pilgrims came from all around so he could hear their confessions.
John died in 1859, and in 1929, Pope Pius XI made him the patron saint of parish priests. We remember him on Aug. 4.