October 07, 2023

A Passage Through the Sea

Exodus 14:21-31; Isaiah 51:9-10

Was it not you [God] who cut Rahab to pieces . . .? Was it not you who dried up the sea . . . ?

—  Isaiah 51:9-10

God had set his people free from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:31-38), and as they were traveling away, they came to a halt at the Red Sea. Then they were terrified as they saw that Pharaoh’s army was pursuing them (14:1-10). But the Lord “drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land” so that his people could cross to the other side.

Where else have we heard of a wind (Spirit) interacting with water? In Genesis 1:2, God’s Spirit/wind hovers over the chaotic waters, preparing for his creation. Then, in Genesis 8:1, God sends a wind to push back the waters of the great flood. Now here God drives the sea with a strong wind to provide a way of deliverance for his people.

And while Israel stands safe on the far bank of the Red Sea, the waters come crashing down on Pharaoh’s army. God’s rescue of his people is dramatic and momentous, and so is the symbolism of this event. Remember that Egypt is described as the great sea monster “Rahab” in other Old Testament passages (see Psalm 89:10; Isaiah 30:7; 51:9-10). Here in Exodus the sea is cut in two. And then at God’s command the sea drowns the mighty Egyptian army.

God has delivered his people, saving them from the chaotic, destructive forces of this world. Freed from slavery, they are set apart to bring blessing to the world through God’s promises.

Saving God, we praise you for bringing us out from our slavery in sin to have abundant life in Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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