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Jason Silver

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Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture



Friday, October 18th, 2019
Related Song

I've been listening to C.S. Lewis' book, "Surprised By Joy," lately. One of the captivating aspects of this biography, is listening to him speak of his childhood fantasy world, which he called "Animal Land." When he was a boy, he created characters and stories made up of talking animals, reminiscent of his later Narnia stories.

There's something about the personification of nature that is wonderfully captivating for children. With adulthood comes a foggy forgetfulness about the mystery of the these worlds. However, the poet of Psalm 114 imagines a humanized nature-response to the redemption of Israel! Let's go over that.

The story of redemption referred to in this Psalm, is that of the Israelites finding their way out of Egypt. They escape, only to be stopped by the waters of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh's army at their backs. God intervenes, the waters part, and they cross to the other side.

Forty years later, with Egypt and slavery behind them, the next generation of wanderers finally approach the boundary to the Promised Land. The Jordan River blocks their access to this destination of prosperity. Just as crossing the Red Sea changed Israel’s standing from slavery to freedom, passing through the Jordan into the Promised Land, transformed Israel from a wandering horde, into an established nation.

Just as before, God's power over nature is clear as they cross the swollen river and find new life.

I love the way the psalmist personifies these waters! He says that the sea flees, that the Jordan River turns around, and then goes the other way! Even the surrounding mountains and hills skip with joy! He even describes the earth as trembling at the presence of the Lord!

How like a Tolkien or Lewis story this could be!

Also, consider this: all creation is responding to that first redemption! Just imagine how much more all of creation celebrates with joy when, through Christ, some new individual finds freedom from slavery, and passes into the promised land of God's love and life!