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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

December 17 2023


Sunday, December 17

God Goes Before Us

 

Psalm 114:1-8

1 When Israel went out of Egypt, The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,

2 Judah became His sanctuary, And Israel His dominion.

3 The sea saw it and fled; Jordan turned back.

4 The mountains skipped like rams, The little hills like lambs.

5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, that you turned back?

6 O mountains, that you skipped like rams? O little hills, like lambs?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob,

8 Who turned the rock into a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of waters.

 

One of the biggest lies of the devil is that God is against you, or that He has forgotten or forsaken you. Especially when you are going through a difficult time in your life, such as when the doctor tells you that you have cancer or that a loved one is terminally ill. It might be you just lost your job or gone through a difficult divorce, and you have no ideal how you are going to pay all your bills and take care of the children. The devil loves to lie to you and tell you if God really loved and cared for you all these bad things would not be happening to you.

 

Well, Psalm 114 is a great psalm that reminds that God does love us and that He is for us (v.1), that He is with us (v. 2a), that He is over us (v. 2b), and that He goes before us (vv. 3-8). Remember this Psalm was written for the remnant after the captivity in Babylon to encourage them by remembering how God delivered them out of Egypt and set them free from the bondage of Pharoah. It became a psalm along with Psalm 113 that the Jews sang before they partook of the Passover meal each year.

 

Most of Psalm 114 is devoted to describing the miracles God performed for Israel as they left Egypt and headed for Canaan. The key thought is that God went before His people, and everything in nature trembled at His presence and obeyed His will (v. 7).

 

“The sea” in verse 3 is of course the Red Sea that opened, and Israel marched through on dry land. Several other passages in the psalms pictures God Himself walking before the people into the Red Sea and as the waters felt His presence, they “fled” and rolled back and made a wall and gave a passageway for the people to walk through. (Psalms 66:6; 74:13; 77:19; 78:13, 53; 106:9; 136:13, 15).

 

Forty years later, the Jordan River opened, and the people of Israel marched through on dry land into the Promised Land. During their long march, God gave them bread and meat to eat and water to drink. Two different Hebrew words are used for "rock" in verse 8; the first refers to Exodus 17:1-7 and the second ("flint cliff") refers to Numbers 20:1-13, one at the beginning of their journey and the other near the end.

 

It is likely that the mountains and hills mentioned in verses 4 and 6 were in Canaan, and the picture is that of God removing all obstacles from before Joshua and the victorious Jewish army. God goes before His people and takes them through the hopeless places (Red Sea, Jordan River) and the hard places (mountains, hills), and He even provides water out of rocks! He can also provide honey, see Psalm 81:16. Sweetness out of hardness!

 

The Lord is not mentioned by name until verse 7, and then the psalmist calls upon the whole world to tremble at His presence! The Exodus may have been past history, but the presence of the God of Jacob is a present reality to those who trust Christ and allow Him to lead (John 10:4). Remember that the Jews used this psalm in those difficult post-exilic days when the work was hard, and the dangers were many. This vivid picture of God going before His people must have helped them grow in their faith and trust Him for their needs.

 

It can also help us today. "If God be for us, and with us, and over us, and before us, who can be against us?" Through Jesus we are “more than conquerors”! (Romans 8:31-39).

 

God bless!

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