If you like the wide open spaces of Nebraska, you probably don’t like the situations in which God often places you. For he hems you in on every side, presses you between a rock and a hard place, so that there seems no way out.
You feel like Joseph, behind the bars of an Egyptian dungeon; like David, hounded by Saul year after year; and like the Israelites, trapped between the Red Sea and a red-eyed army thirsty for blood. God used Moses to tell old Pharaoh, “Let my people go,” but then God turns right around and lets his people go down a one way street with a pack of Egyptian wolves howling at their heels.
But such are the ways of our backwards God. He's always doing things his way and not our own. He has Israel right where he wants them: a body of water in front of them, their enemies behind them, and God above them, ready to save. Our Lord is always undoing us that he might redo us, killing us that he might enliven us. @@He baptizes us into a Good Friday sea that we might walk to yonder Easter shore.@@
Our fathers were all under the cloud of God’s glory, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. The Red Sea was one vast baptismal font in which Israel learned that the Lord fights for them. The Spirit breathed upon these waters, they split in two like a temple veil, and through them the people of God walked into life and freedom. And behind them, their enemies pursued and were buried beneath the waves.
@@Pharaoh’s chariots are rusting at the bottom of every baptismal font.@@ Your sins litter the ocean floor, never to resurface. For on the day of your baptism, there was a body of water in front of you, your enemies behind you, and God above you, ready to save. And save he did. He let his people—he let you go—out of bondage, out of death, out of sins, into the promised land of celestial Canaan.
The God who kills and makes alive, has drowned all your foes in the Red Sea of the font and brought you safely through to life in Jesus Christ.
*This reflection is part of a series of meditations on hymns that I presented at the “Day of Singing Boldly” at St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, Nebraska. This one is connected to "When Israel Was in Egypt's Land."