One of our Vacation Bible School stories this past summer was the story of God’s people crossing the Red Sea. The story also happens to be one of my favorite Bible stories. I remember watching the movie The Ten Commandments when I was young. It was incredible watching a Bible story come to life, and of course one of my favorite scenes was the parting of the Red Sea. In the movie Charlton Heston, who plays Moses, stands up on the rocks over the Red Sea, the waves of the sea are menacing and the clouds are threatening and Pharaoh’s chariots with their armies are on their way to try to bring God’s people back to a life of slavery in Egypt. Moses stretches out his arms, lifting up his staff, the winds blow (and there’s dramatic music) and the sea opens. With huge walls of water on each side, God’s people cross on dry ground.
The Prince of Egypt from 1998 is another movie (animated) that depicts the crossing of the Red Sea. In this movie, Moses isn’t a strong, muscular figure. He’s hesitant in this role of leader of God’s people, but he wades into the Red Sea, looks to God and raises that staff bringing it down into the waters and the waters dramatically part. Again, God’s people cross on dry ground.
Those are both great movies to see, but the movie I would like to see about the crossing of the Red Sea would be one that comes from the Jewish Midrash. In this account, when God’s people are facing the Red Sea, Moses tells the people to go forward and God will save them. Everyone hesitated and wailed in despair, everyone except Nahshon who entered the water. When he was up to his nose in the water, he took a step and the water parted. Some say it was with each step going forward that the water parted.
I love the Charlton Heston version and even the dramatic parting of the waters in the Prince of Egypt, but I wonder if life isn’t more like what Nahshon experienced. How many times are we faced with a Sea of uncertainty on one side of us and armies of problems behind us? Maybe God’s grace of a way forward in life isn’t in the big dramatic moments but is found in each step forward (even when we’re up to our nose in chaotic waters). God provides a way forward, not always in the huge, big miracles that we would like, but often in the small blessings of friends, family, serving, giving, loving.
May you see God’s grace in the steps you take today!
Pastor Krista Henning-Ferkin