1 When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back;
4 the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs.
5 Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
6 Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.
We live in a time where movie makers thrive on the idea of an impending doom or apocalypse and the idea of a hero that brings salvation from that pending doom. I can’t deny that I love the story line of a series or movie with a good ending: where good triumphs over evil. It always begins with a sense of oppression, sadness and obscurity but ends with rescue, joy and glory for those who stick to the right side of love and justice.
The notion that good will triumph over evil forms the basis of all human sense and sensibilities. Movies doubly keep us in suspense and confirm our assumption and need for an idyllic ending: that good will and has to triumph over evil. Well, Psalm 114 represents eight lines of what could be a modern day Apocalypse story that was relevant for the people of its time and for us today: A story where God’s people triumphed over their enemies.
We have come to know the story of the great rescue of God’s chosen people as the book of Exodus, but it could have very well been the book of the first Apocalypse; It just depends on which side of the story one would have found themselves at the time.
Oh what it must have been like to see the events (queue the Apocalyptic music): the Nile turning blood red, locusts filling the land and seas parting and closing- to name a few. This was the magnitude of what Israel experienced before they came from out of Egypt (Psalm 114: 1). What a terror it must have been for those who were not so favored as to have God make His sanctuary among them (v. 2). We often forget that the same God who’s presence caused the seas to part for the Israelites’ escape (v.3) and that caused Mount Sinai to tremble when the law was given to Moses (v.4), is the same God who promises to return for His people who accept Him, in the person of Jesus for another event of Exodus proportions (as described in the book of Revelation). Imagine the cosmic amazement, like the scurrying and excitement of great mountains and vast waters- mysteries once aloof, now agog and reduced to frisky lambs! That will all be caused by His physical presence (v. 7&8) among His people.
The Israelites were bound by the shackles of Egyptian slavery and, in an uncanny parallel, this world- our present reality- is bound by the shackles of sin; albeit for the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross that gave gentiles like you and I a certain peculiar status- the favor of having God present and living in us, making us the place of His dominion!
Reflect for a moment, when the Israelites crossed the red sea that God amazingly parted to ensure their rescue, the sea had to return to its oneness, in a way that only God could have allowed. Those who pursued them were awe- struck, but were swallowed up by the sea that was once parted. God’s presence recued His people, while at the same time brought the ruin of the enemies of His people. At the climax of our present story, we will all be awe-struck by the Author, the God of Jacob. Some will be awe-struck and terrified and others awe-struck with a thrilling sense of the presence and victory of God.
The difference between us and the Israelites is that we live in a post crucifixion and resurrection world where we have the directors’ script. In other words, we know the ending of this Season, where good triumphs over evil. God will remain with His people and Good will reign forever (Revelation 21: 3b- 5a).
When Christ returns to rescue us it will also be a time of ruin for His enemies. The symbiotic relationship between the recurring themes of rescue and ruin throughout the bible, can be deduced from this Psalm…the beneficiaries of either, will depend on which side of the story line you will find yourself on the day of the next great exodus of Gods’ people: when Christ returns for His Glory in the greatest story ever told.
And so it should be! TOLD! To everyone! No one wants to be the unfortunate characters in a ‘Left Behind’ series! Salvation is simple! Let God into your heart, mind and soul, confess Jesus and receive the favor of God making his sanctuary in you, then go out and tell the story.
… and let it never be forgotten.
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
– Revelation 21: 3b- 5a
Alicia Johnson- KeiraVille International Church