Thursday January 21 2021

Scripture: Exodus 14:15-31

Key verse: (22) “The Israelites went into the sea on dry land.”

Reflection: Within the Jewish tradition, Rabbis through the centuries have debated with each other about the meaning of various passages of Torah.  Their debates are found in the Talmud, which includes wonderful stories developed by the rabbis to “fill in the gaps” of the Biblical narrative.  One such story exists around the crossing of the Red Sea. In the Babylonian Talmud Rabbi Judah asks, “Why does it say they went into the sea on dry land?”  He responds by saying that when Moses told the Israelites to go forward into the sea, they did not go.  Rather they began arguing with one another about which tribe would have the honor of going first.  No, Benjamin, after you!  No, Judah, we insist, after you.  Suffice to say, none of them were anxious to get their feet wet.  In the midst of the debate, a boy from the tribe of Judah, Nahshon ben Aminadab, (son of Aminadab) began wading into the water.  He went in to his ankles, and nothing happened.  He went in to his knees, nothing happened.  He waded in up to his waist, nothing; then up to his chest, and nothing happened.  At this point the Israelites were wondering what on earth Nahshon was doing.  Had he given in to despair?  He could not swim. What was he thinking?  The water got up to his neck and past his chin, still nothing happened.  As he waded deeper in, the water hit his nostrils, and at that very moment, the sea parted and a way was made.  That’s how the Israelites went into the sea on dry land.  It all began when Nahshon ben Aminadab had the courage to wade into the water.   In fact, his name, Nahshon, means “waves.”

What’s your Red Sea?  How are you called to go forward, to wade into the water trusting God to make a way?  Maybe it’s those first steps into the treatment you never dreamed you’d need, and you are trusting God will make a way toward healing.  What does wading into the water look like for us?  Where are those places in life when we feel trapped between the devil of Pharaoh’s army bearing down on us to one side, with our backs up against the deep Red Sea?  What might it mean to wade into the water?  Whatever that looks like for you, hear God’s word this day:  go forward.

Prayer: Loving God, in those times of life when we feel trapped and we don’t see a way forward, give us courage to take a step forward anyway. Give us faith that you can make a way and deliver us from whatever threats we face.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Author: Joe Clifford

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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