Exodus 15, 11-12
Something to read
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
King James Version
Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendour, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
The Israelites faced at best capture and a return to slavery, at worst a massacre in the desert. Then came a sequence of extraordinary experiences, and they were on the opposite bank and free - what kind of God can do what they had just seen him do? And what kind of God would do that for his people? No wonder Miriam was singing a song of praise.
The Exodus was the beginning of a saga of God working with his chosen people, giving them the Promised Land, and speaking to them through the prophets. That was itself just the preliminary for the real big event: God came into his creation in the flesh, went as far as death itself, and then came back through resurrection, transforming all our hopes, and our understanding of God and his possibilities.
The ancient pagans had their idols. Modern religions have a wide range of understandings of the divine. But nothing in any religion compares to the God who came in Christ, and lives in his people through his Spirit.
Something to do
Imagine yourself as one of the Israelites. Think of the elation of being released from slavery, the dreams of a new life of freedom in wherever the Promised Land was. Think of the sort of praises people would be saying about Moses, their great liberator and leader.
Then imagine the fear of that long night in the desert by the sea, knowing that the Egyptians weren’t far away, and expecting first light to bring captvity or death. What did it look like to you to see the seas part and leave a pathway for you? What did it feel like to actually walk where the seas had been, to find yourself on the opposite shore and know you would be free? What would such an experience do for your faith?
Something to pray
Incomparable God, we sing our hymns and offer up such words of praise and wonder - we use so many images, compare you to such great and wonderful things to try to say how great you are.
Yet we know that none of our words or images is enough to contain you; however great our song, however magnificent our words, they barely begin to scratch the surface of understanding a God so great and so tender, so far beyond our reach and yet so lovingly accessible.
Open our hearts to receive more and more of your love, and our lives to be more and more Christlike, so that we may become more and more the people you made us to be.
In the name of Jesus, our living Lord,
Today’s contributor is the Rev Tony Buglass, a Methodist minister, and Superintendent of the Upper Calder Circuit, made up of nine Methodist and one United Reformed Church, between Luddendenfoot and Walsden in the Hebden Bridge area