Red flags whipped wildly in the leftover winds of Tropical Storm Ida. Orange Beach authorities posted warning signs: “No swimming! Rip Currents!” A few adventurous souls combed the beach with hands on their hats while shorts flapped and jackets snapped. But NO ONE dared dip a toe into the ocean’s fury. Her once-peaceful waters had grown turbulent, and she was on a mission to let everyone know she was still not happy about it!
I wonder if those fleeing Hebrews feared the Force that split the Red Sea. I’m sure they gripped the hands of their children even tighter as walls of water stood at attention. I’d like to interview the first few who dared to step into the Sea’s dry bed. Did entering that hallway of water seem like the lesser of two evils when compared to an angry Pharaoh and his army? Could they see fish eyes peering at them from behind the tall waters? Was the dry ground smooth or were there shells littering the way? What did they really think about Moses being their leader? Inquiring minds want to know!
God’s parting of the Red Sea initiated such a miraculous journey of deliverance that future generations retold the story over and over again. Scripture refers to the exodus story in some form or another throughout the Old and New Testaments. God repeatedly reminded His people, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
It was Him – all Him! The Hebrews had no idea where they were going. But the same God who created the wilderness knew the way. He intricately formed each Hebrew in his or her mother’s womb, so He knew their every need. They couldn’t feed themselves, or keep themselves dressed, so He kept their shoes and clothing from wearing out, and He graciously fed them with manna. Yet perhaps most relevant to us today, He knew they needed to rest.
After all they had been through (slavery, rejection, fear, doubts, uncertainty), what they needed most was rest for their souls. It was as if God tenderly sat down next to them and whispered “You just need to rest.” He wanted them to take the time to remember what He chiseled in the stone: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8) Yes, a Sabbath day would rest their weary bodies, but learning to rest every day in His presence would provide continuing peace for their exhausted souls.
The idea of Sabbath is not merely a day dedicated to rest (though I certainly enjoy that!), it is a way of life born out of peace. A heart and soul that surrenders to the presence, power, and protection of God finds an eternal Sabbath rest. That kind of trust gives us perpetual peace when life’s stormy winds blow and rip currents threaten to take us far from shore.
We find rest and peace by spending time with God. Making worship in song, time in the Word, and prayer top priorities keep us afloat when seas of emotions are raging. Those things also help maintain our peace when it flows like a river.
Loving God and loving others are the greatest commandments of all. However, I’d like to contend that when it comes to being a living testimony of faith, it’s our peace that shines the light for our love. Our ability to display peace when we should feel stressed, when loved ones pass away, when we feel betrayed or irrelevant, or when our health declines testifies to the incredible, supernatural power available to all who believe and trust in God. That is the huge difference between us and non-believers. Non-believers can do good things, but they can only do what they can do using their own power. Believers can do incredibly MORE than they can even imagine through the power of the Holy Spirit living in them. Our supernatural peace comes from Him!
Perhaps, for the next few weeks you’d like to join me in asking yourself this question in a variety of situations: When I walk into a room, do I bring the peace of Jesus with me?
“I [Jesus] leave the gift of peace with you—my peace.
Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world,
but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear
or be troubled in your hearts—
instead, be courageous!”
John 14:27, TPT