Do Not Fear
“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.” –Exodus 14: 21-22
When I was eleven years old I made the mistake of watching the movie Jaws. Not long after that my family took a trip to the beach where I had the chance to ski on the ocean, taking off from the beach. My sister and her friend tried first, but neither was able to stay upright for very long on the skis. Then it was my turn. I went up and stayed up as my daddy’s friend drove the boat deeper and deeper into the ocean. That’s when terror turned my brain off. All I knew was that I didn’t want to go any deeper and they didn’t seem to be slowing or turning. I let go of the rope. I realized the stupidity of that move immediately, but it was too late. I tumbled into the murky water.
The music from Jaws pounded in my ears. Fish and seaweed and who knows what else rubbed against my legs as I frantically treaded water, my eyes filling with tears. Stranded. In the ocean. With sharks. I had to keep telling myself, “My daddy will come save me. He’s coming. He won’t let me die.”
The Israelites were camped next to the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army—more than 600 chariots full, plus horsemen and troops on foot—were coming after them. They were trapped. No way out. “They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?’ (Ex. 14:11)
God supernaturally kept them safe from all the plagues, yet they didn’t trust him. Their first thought was not, “My daddy will come save me.” They got angry and scared. They blamed God. They blamed Moses. And then, what did God do? He parted the sea so they could cross on dry land. Can you imagine the trust required to walk down into that sea bed with tremendous walls of water towering on either side of you—walls that could crash on you at any moment? Their initial reaction may have been fear and anger, but when they witnessed yet another supernatural phenomenon, their hearts must have reminded them, “Oh yeah, our God is that powerful, and is able to save. I can trust him.”
Moses paints another picture of Jesus at the Red Sea:
Moses – stretched out his hands over the sea and made a way for the people—the only way.
Jesus – stretched out his arms on the cross and made a way for his people—the only way.
Moses – went down into the dark sea bed and he and all those who followed him came out safe on the other side.
Jesus – went down into hell, plunging the world in darkness, and he and all those who follow him can now pass through death into the safety of resurrected life.
Moses – stretched out his hands again to make the waters destroy the Egyptians who wanted to kill and enslave.
Jesus – his death on the cross destroyed the devil’s greatest weapon, that is, death, so that he can no longer have power over us/enslave us.
Jesus literally died for us, in our place, so that we don’t have to die. We deserve to die because our sins—from the white lies to the angry words that are equal to murder in God’s eyes—require payment and that payment is death. But if we believe, we are saved from that death and get to live on in heaven.
In the darkest places, He is there. Even in shark-infested waters, he is there. Does that mean I can jump into a shark tank and not be ripped to shreds? No. But it does mean when life takes a dark turn I don’t have to fear because 1) I’m not alone and 2) I will not truly die. Sure, I’ll leave this life and this body and these people that I love. So, I’m not looking forward to death. I’m not wishing for death. I just mean that I’m not afraid of death because it’s a passage to eternal life—an infinitely more wonderful life—in the presence of my Savior.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
My daddy will always save me. My earthly daddy set a good example for how my Heavenly Father will not let me down. I will not fear.
With love in Christ,
Gracious Father, Heavenly Daddy, you didn’t spare your own son but gave him over to a horrible death on the cross so that you could forgive me and save me. I am redeemed. You are with me. Remind me of that, I pray, when I am afraid, when I let the troubles of this world overshadow my faith, when I cry out in anger wanting to blame you instead of thanking you. Thank you that I don’t have to fear. In Jesus name, Amen.