Reading: Psalm 114
When Israel came out of Egypt,
Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
Why was it, sea, that you fled?
Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
you hills, like lambs?
Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water (NIV).
“Why?” A four-year-old’s favourite question is, “Why?” Here in Psalm 114, the psalmist has some why questions as well. “Why did the sea flee? Why did the Jordan River turn back? Why did those mountains and hills seem to skip and dance? Why?”
Misty morning — photo courtesy of Liz Kranz
The answer of course is because of the jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping power of God. God caused the sea to flee. He caused the Jordan to turn back. He caused mountains and hills to skip about and frolic like yearling lambs set free from the stall. What an awesome display! What an awesome God!
Psalm 114 is all about the overwhelming power of God. It is a grand portrayal of the pivotal event in the Old Testament Scriptures. Here within a few short verses we catch a panoramic view of God’s might on display, starting with Israel’s escape from Egypt, to their arrival in the Promised Land.
Why did the miracle-working LORD make the sea flee? Was it simply to display His awe-inducing power? Was it simply to create excitement among the million or more mortals, who were eyewitnesses to this divine wonder? In the Exodus account, the reason for this miraculous intervention is stated clearly: That day the LORD saved Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant (Exodus 14:30-31).
This power display had one primary purpose. That purpose was salvation. The LORD wanted to save people—His covenant people—from the vicious clutches of oppression and a tyranny. In short, the LORD works wonders so that He can save people—so He can bring them into His Kingdom—so they can escape the sin systems of this world, and come under His loving rule.
Response: Father God, thank you for going all out to save me through the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus. What a display of your love and power! Help me to love, fear and trust you. Amen.
Your Turn: Why did God save you? Is there a reason for His mercy?