September 12, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The psalmists sometimes used recounting the events of Israel’s history in composing their psalms. In the opening lines of Psalm 106 there is remembered the Exodus from Egypt – specifically, the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. Here are verses 9 through 11:
He rebuked the Red sea…and it dried up; so He led them through
the depths, as through the wilderness. And He saved them from the
hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of
the enemy. The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of
The incident is recorded in the 31 verses of Exodus 14, and is remembered by faithful Jews as the greatest miracle that God produced as He saved the escaping Israelites from the pursuing Egyptian army. Thank God these ancient miracles are recorded in the Old Testament. And Saint Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 10:11: “Now all these things happened to them as examples; and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” In other words, we are to learn from the experiences of the people in the Old Testament, and apply it to living out our Christian lives today!
What does the miracle of the Red Sea crossing teach us about our Christian experience? I struggled with this because some scholars relate the incident to foreshadowing our salvation. They say that God brought His children out from the slavery of Egypt, delivering them from the death of the pursuing army, and leading them to freedom and new life led by Him. That, they say, is a picture of our salvation in the New Testament economy. But I believe our salvation experience is better proclaimed by the blood of the slain lamb protecting the Israelites as the angle of death passed through Egypt, killing the firstborn of man and beast, but passing over the dwellings whose doors were so blood-marked. For Christians today, the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ – applied to us when we accept Him as our Savior – protects us from God’s judgment of eternal death! The Son became the sinner in our place! He received the Father’s wrath and condemnation on the cross so we can go free!
Then what does the crossing of the Red Sea foreshadow? I believe it is a picture of the call of God upon our lives to leave the world behind, and to live for Him in His Kingdom! Let’s consider several things as we analyze this picture:
• In From Egypt To Canaan – I, I quoted the ancient Alexandrian teacher Didymus the Blind: “Egypt represents the world….Pharaoh and his soldiers are the Devil and his satellites.” Bible scholars have long recognized this representation.
• Jesus, as He prayed in John 17, said we, as God’s children, “…are not of the world…but …are in the world…” (verses 11 & 16). For “He has delivered us from the power [the kingdom] of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…” (Colossians 1:13). Satan is the ruler of that kingdom of darkness, and he seeks to keep us there, all the way into the eternal darkness of hell! (See Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; Jude 1:13). The devil’s dominion includes “… all the kingdoms of the world…” (Luke 4:5). So it is no wonder then that I John 2:15 and 16 tells us:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust
of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father
but is of the world.
And James warns us in his epistle, James 4:4: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
• Therefore Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2 and 3: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died [the old sinful nature – see Colossians 3:5], and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
• The Red Sea is the south-eastern border of Egypt. When the Israelites crossed the sea, they left behind the country of Egypt. They were also to leave behind the culture of Egypt! But, as we shall see in the next blog, that was not as easy as physically leaving Egypt!
• Since it is the sinful nature that answers to Satan’s temptations and the world’s corrupt pull (see Galatians 6:19-21), the death of the Egyptian army as they tried to chase the Israelites across the Red Sea signifies that as Christians, we are to “…reckon… ourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11).
• Do not exclude the miraculous in both that which foreshadows and the fulfillment! It was by His miraculous power that…
…the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that
night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So
the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, and
the waters were a wall to them on their right and on their left….Then
the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the
army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one
of them remained. (Exodus 14:21, 22).
And it is only by God’s miraculous and powerful mercy and grace that “…He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Once that is true in someone’s experience, it is only by His miraculous power that we can be called from this sinful world to walk in [live out] the new life of the kingdom of God!