We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord . The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. – Psalm 106:6-23
Well I have successfully translocated across the Atlantic to Ghana, west Africa. Our travels were long but mostly uneventful…I am returning to the water to see where it takes us.
There is a lot going on in today’s passage on multiple levels. It is a circling back passage to remember how God showed up for the Israelites as they to were fleeing the Egyptians. It is easy to gloss over the profound rebellion and rebuke that occurred on the shores of the Red Sea, but that rebellion has many things in common with our current rebellion and estrangement from God.
Many of the Israelites were ready to return to slavery in Egypt – choose slavery over a sovereign God. I think many of us still struggle with this choice, even after we have committed to following God. We have second thoughts about our decision when things get confusing or hard just as the Israelites did on the banks of the Red Sea.
This dynamic tension between radical surrender to God and return to the slavery of old habits and patterns is as difficult now as it was then. Our slavery may look different than the bondage, bricks, and rafted babies along the Nile, but the fundamental spiritual dynamic may not be so different. The battle for our souls is primarily a spiritual one that takes place within the context of the secular snares that can enslave us.
The root problem for the Israelites, and us, is that they “forgot the God who saved them” and they did not “did not wait for his plan to unfold”. We tend to forget the God who saved us, Jesus, and we are often unwilling or unable to wait for His plan to unfold in our lives. It is hard to wait sometimes when we feel like the “Egyptians are on our heels” pursuing us and trying to pull us back into old patterns and behaviors that enslave us.
Toward the end of the passage is an interesting prophetic “reflection of Him“. Moses “his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.” This is precisely what Jesus did and does for us as well. He stands in the breach that separates us from God…we hold His hand and He holds God’s hand.
Prayer: God thank You for safe travels and for sending a savior to stand in the breach for us and show us the Way.