Scripture Reading: Exodus 14:19-31
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. —Exodus 14:27-31
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? –Micah 6:8
Our scripture today is a really tough one for me. As I read it over and over again trying to make sense of it, the little song created around Micah 6:8 kept playing in my mind. The idea of God tossing anyone into the sea is unimaginable. What was God thinking? While our story does not come from this perspective, the Egyptians were God’s children also. Now I can understand the Egyptians having to face the consequences of their own actions, driving recklessly into harm’s way attempting to reclaim their slaves. And I can identify with the Israelites looking back and seeing their oppressors swamped by the returning waters and the Israelites seeing God’s hand in their resulting salvation.
There are a variety of definitions for the Hebrew naar* word translated “tossing” by the NRSV. The word “toss” is not among the definitions in the Strong’s or the NAS Exhaustive Concordances. Overthrew is as is shaken. Among the other words identified as possible meaning, the word “lose” particularly caught my attention. I can image God feeling a great sense of loss from losing the Egyptians.
Prayer: God of all, expand our vision to encompass all your children in our circle of love. Heal the wounds inflicted on us by others enabling us to love them as you do. Heal the wounds of those who strike out at us enabling them to find the wholeness of your love. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.