Walking between the waves
Exodus 14: 19-31 (NRSV)
19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20 It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24 At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25 He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
Moses had told us not to be afraid, to stand firm. But it was so hard to be brave, to believe that the Lord could…or would… rescue us. Why would he bother, we were only slaves? Moses had been delusional thinking we were worthy of saving.
I couldn’t see a way forward. We were trapped. Just dark clouds and the expanse of sea before us. And behind us, well behind us was the thunder of horses’ hooves, the rumbling of the chariots, the drum of marching feet, growing louder, louder, louder still, gaining on us. There was nowhere to go. Nowhere to run to. No escape.
And I could hear the screams of the mothers, holding their children tight, the angry shouts of the men as the smell of fear clung to the air.
But then something happened, something amazing happened! The cloud that had been in front of us, shifted. It moved…so that it was between us and the Egyptians. It was like it became a barrier, separating us, protecting us. And the sky in front of us lit up. And the wind howled, and the sea parted creating a path of dry land for us to cross. It was as if the Lord himself had blown the sea apart.
Somehow, we found the strength, the faith, to walk across the pathway. We walked on, each of us trembling in awe through the walls of waves that were held back by the very breath of God. The power of the Lord held back the sea that whole night, so that each and every one of us could cross. What power can do this? What love? A love that can hold back the sea, to rescue someone as undeserving as me.
Your power and majesty exceed the limits of our minds,
Your love knows no bounds.
Thank you that when we feel there is no hope, nowhere to turn, you see opportunities and offer your hand in rescue.
Shine your light on our lives Lord so that we can see your hand leading us on the path of safety and renewed hope.