Do me a favor and please read Psalm 114.
If you were to think about a major event in the history of God’s people what would it be? What event stands out more than anything else and speaks of God’s dedication, love, and presence? Most people would probably say the Exodus. Most people would point to God’s stepping in and leading his people (Israel) out of Egypt, parting the sea, safely bringing his people across and then pummeling their foes as they sought to return them to slave-labor. Well – that’s what we have here. We have a short praise of God for the exodus and deliverance of God’s people. It’s a psalm that gets right to the point. It encourages Passover praise (from Exodus 12) and earthly awe as mountain, hill, and sea respond to his might.
As we read this psalm we see that it’s broken up into four poetic sections. The first one speaks of the whole event for the people, verses 3-4 and 5-6 are the response to this event, and the last section (7-8) is an encouragement for the work of the Lord. God caused the Red Sea, the Jordan, mountains, and hills to all move in ways that are not normal. Because all of creation is affected when God works.
This is a psalm of encouragement, reminiscence, and hopeful-reflection.
Often times we get stuck on the past and fail to allow the past to give us hope in our future too. I know I do this. I often talk with people about how wonderful it would be to see God’s mighty hand moving as it once had. And while these conversations are honest and truthful we need to be careful not get stuck on dwelling on the past work of God and then simply remaining there. We must never sit and reminisce while failing to breathe in the hope of God’s work to come. Yes God did mighty things in the past but never should we fail to see God’s mighty work to come as well. We think the Exodus was something amazing? Wait till we see full earthly restoration!
But those are the big things – what about the small things? The individual acts by God?
Often times the big things in life overshadow the little things – but isn’t God in both? We read about Moses’ conversations with God and then delivering that message to the people and wish we had that very thing today. We want to know God’s will, God’s plans, God’s directions in our lives…and sometimes we simply want a direct line from Him telling us of those very things. But doesn’t he do this already? Is the promise of the Holy Spirit who dwells within that very thing? Isn’t God’s presence in leading, guiding, directing, nudging, and prodding the very thing we long for? We may not have a person in our life that comes down from a mountain-top experience radiating with God’s presence like Moses did – but God still puts people in our lives that speak with his authority. The question we need to ask, or that I’m asking, is if you are listening to them?! Are you looking at them and seeing that person and hearing their voice – or are you seeing God and his voice as the Holy Spirit uses them to bring you a message?
I think one of the biggest issues Christians have is that we get very nostalgic on what once was and fail to see what still is. Scripture is breathed to give us a glimpse of God, to declare the Son, and to show us how his Spirit directs us today. It’s about a complete redemptive work of God. We fail to fully understand Scripture when we simply see it as a “history” of God and his people and ignore the prophetic voice that still rings true. Scripture is the revealed truth of God and it’s not a truth that has ended. That voice, that truth, carries into today and beyond.
So there’s our challenge from this psalm. Are we singing of the work of God in the past and remaining nostalgic and wishing God was still active today as he was so long ago? Or are we singing of the work of God as he STILL WORKS TODAY? Are we seeing how all of creation leaps and jumps, flees and turns back throughout eternity – or do we believe that stopped and never to happen again?
Hope isn’t hope when it’s stuck on/in the past. Hope speaks of a future that was promised. Hope puts a stamp on what is to come because the future is tethered to the past as what is to come is revealed in what was. Big and small – all are in God’s hands. And if God can make the sea flee and turn back…if God can make mountains and hill skip…think of what he can, and does do, in your life!