The resilience of God’s chosen.
The Israelites define themselves by what they have survived here, more than what they have achieved. It’s bonding and powerful.
From slavery, to wandering, to splitting up and then losing the promised land, and getting it back again, they survived. And as world history rolled on, they continued to survive a lot.
It is very short, and great for chanting. “You oppressed me, you oppressed me, but I won!” Is the opening cadence.
The rest is a vivid harvest metaphor. The Israelites compare the whips of slavery to ploughing… Their oppressors ploughed their backs with deep furrows, but God cut the whipping cords and released them.
Having seen many empires pass, and survived, they can compare the oppressors to useless grass grown in the wrong place, on a roof, that will wither and be useless.
It ends with a happy picture of a proper harvest day, which is blessed work. Passers by would shout God’s blessings on the work back and forth with the reapers.
Those who ploughed the Israelites backs with whips, only to find their harvest withered, will never know that blessing.
It has that confidence, arrogance even, of faith that feels sorry for those who may seem to be the winners in life, but challenge God.
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this week so, though I can’t claim anyone is ploughing my back, I can use a booster shot of resilience. A cheery chant to get me through.