Dividing the waters (13-03-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 112:1,7
Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Bible Reading: Exodus 14:15-16, 21-22
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water
so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind
and turned it into dry land.
The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground,
with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
When it comes to prayer we probably think in terms of ‘petition’; asking God to do something, to heal, to provide, to comfort, to bring peace, to bring justice… But there is another aspect to prayer that we see here with Moses and find repeated throughout the New Testament, and that is to take authority ourselves.
I wonder how you would feel if you were an Israelite, trapped between the Red and the advancing Egyptian army and chariots, crying out to God, and for God to say, as he did to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me?’ Bewildered, probably.
God’s words to Moses continue, ‘Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water.’
There sometimes comes a time in our prayers when it is right to stop crying out to God and to ‘move on’ in the faith that he has heard our prayers and that he will answer. There is a situation in the gospels where ten lepers come to Jesus for healing and Jesus tells them to go and present themselves to the priests. It is as they go that they are healed.
There also comes a time when we should address a situation that we face with the authority that God has given us. ‘Ah’, you may say, ‘But I am not Moses’. True, but in the gospels Jesus says to the disciples, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move.’ And when it comes to healing the sick it is interesting to note that, in all the references in the gospels, Jesus tells the disciples, not to pray for the sick to be healed but, in his name, to heal the sick.
As Christians let us call out to God in prayer. Let us also use the authority that he has given us to divide the waters; to heal the sick and to preach the Kingdom of God.
Lord, when I feel trapped, give me the faith speak into the situation in your name, and to move on in the knowledge that you will divide the waters.
He will hold me fast