Thursday, January 28, 2010

Parting the Red Sea

Joshua breathed a sigh of relief. The Egyptians’ hasty retreat from darkness brought tears of joy and gasps of amazement across the crowds. Fear and panic quickly gave way to a holy calm.

Things that were frightening just moments before - the wind and stormy ocean, now seemed comforting in the last glow of twilight.

Nobody could deny God was with them. And while Pharaoh and his men were holed up the ravine like a genie in a bottle, the Hebrews basked in the soothing light from the pillar of fire.

Joshua closed his eyes and breathed in the fresh night air. Soaking up the warmth of God’s bonfire on his face, he listened to his heart beating with the symphony of waves crashing behind him. The ocean didn’t seem so terrifying now. After all, it was the handiwork of his Creator.

The sensation of a solitary tear drop tingling his warm cheek arrested Joshua’s quiet moment of reflection. He opened his eyes and turned to see Moses looking out over the sea.

“What now?” Joshua asked.

“It’ll take all night to cross,” Moses replied. “We needed a head start. I just hadn’t worked out how.

Joshua smiled with amazement. “You had to trust Him with that?

“Yes. He never explains everything,” replied Moses, stepping up onto a large rock to address the crowd.

“Caleb, go to the front.”

“The front?”

“When the waters open, take your torch and gallop across to the other side - fast as you can.” Moses urged. “Show everyone its safe.”

“Joshua, go to the rear and wait. See that no one is left behind”.

Joshua hesitated, thinking of something profound to say – but couldn't.

“You’ll be the last one to cross,” Moses continued. “Joshua, you hear me?”

Joshua nodded. The last. Why did I know he going to say that?

Moses climbed higher onto the rock so everyone could see him. Looking out over the ocean, the mighty prophet raised his staff to Heaven, with strength of stature that defied his eighty years.

“God of Abraham, by your mighty power you created the whole world. Nothing is impossible for you. The sun, stars and moon are all works of your hand.”

“And we, your people, remember the covenant you made to our father Abraham.”

“You promised him descendants, a land, and a messiah. Through Abraham’s Seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”

“There is no one greater than yourself, so you made this covenant by your own name. You are God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.”

“And so now, by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I command these waters to part. Make way for the Lord's people.”

And with those simple words, Joshua witnessed the greatest miracle he could possibly imagine.

A broad front of lightning stretched across to the opposite coast. The hot easterly wind rushed in like a tornado pushing down deep into the waters, like the hand of God carving a vast canyon into the sea.

To Joshua, it was simply awe inspiring.

A long straight road of dry land lay before them. The air inside the trench seemed quiet and still, and the ground surprisingly dry. The ocean walls were strangely solid, but wet like normal water. It still sloshed around, but any splashes fell straight back into the walls.

How fascinating, Joshua thought, the water falls into itself - not the ground.

Completely speechless, Joshua watched Caleb light a flaming torch and gallop down into the depths of the ocean. The further he rode, the darker it became - for the pillar of fire only lit the beach where they stood. Before long, all anyone could see was the flicker of Caleb’s torch half a mile away, bouncing light off the ocean walls.

“Sons of Abraham,” Moses continued, “remember this day when the Lord your God delivered you by his mighty hand. Nothing is impossible. Move quickly now and follow me to the other side, but leave no one behind in your haste.”

And with that, Joshua helped Moses down off the rock and bid him farewell. It seemed poetic for Moses to escort the bones of Joseph across. For the all the people would see the enduring power of hope.

But the important duties of a rear guard soon consumed Joshua’s thoughts. Mounting his horse, he turned and pressed against the fleeing crowds. With the Egyptians camped so close, waiting for everyone to cross was a test of nerves.


  1. Great stuff Anthony. Now they've crossed the Red Sea it should be easy right?