“When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.” God’s people who were once in bondage in Egypt had been held captive by an oppressive nation. The Lord delivered them from their prison. On the journey from the Red Sea to the Jordan, despite all the difficulties of disobedience that they brought upon themselves, the tribes of Israel were the Lord’s holy sanctuary. He dwelt in their midst and they called upon His Name in worship.
When the people of God finally arrived at the bank of the Jordan, the conquest of Canaan was still before them. The Lord caused that river to turn into dry land as he had a generation earlier at the Red Sea when Israel was first brought up out of Egypt. The Almighty God proved again to His people that He was Lord over all of nature. He could turn back the seas or make mountains “skip like rams.”
The psalmist addressed the mountains and the seas in Psalm 114. What made them move in a most unusual way? Did they have the answer to such an important question? The Lord gave gifts of reason and language to human beings. He expected His people to come to right conclusions and to proclaim them in accord with His own Word. They would need to make the distinction between any mechanisms that God used on earth and the Lord’s unique role as the Prime Mover of all providence. He may have used a wind to dry up the sea or an earthquake to move a mountain. These were mechanisms, but He alone was the author of the miracle. The proper response of those who saw the miracle was to worship the Lord and to testify to the truth of what they had seen and heard.
The eternal Son of God, the Word, spoke creation into being. God holds all things together by this same powerful Word (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is not only the Redeemer who became man to die for our sins—He is the Almighty Son. He made the earth move in order to bring Israel into the Promised Land. He is the Provider for His people in every generation. As the Apostle Paul proclaimed concerning the people of the Passover in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “All drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”
The word “earth” can mean the great sphere that is our present residence, but it can also refer to all the inhabitants that live on this planet. All the earth should tremble before the Son of God. They should read the testimonies of His miracles and consider His promise to come again in judgment. They should bring their guilt and shame before Him and find His full pardon for those who call upon His Name in sincere worship. There is no other credible plan for eternal security and everlasting joy.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
God of the Nations, You know how to save Your people from dangerous adversaries. You are the God of providence, and You move heaven and earth in order to preserve and protect Your children. Blessed be Your Name forever.