“Why was it, O sea, that you fled,
O Jordan, that you turned back,
you mountains, that you skipped like rams,
you hills like lambs? (Psalm 114:5-6).
Psalm 113 & 114 are recited at the beginning of the Passover meal. One has to wonder why God’s people chose this Psalm to remember the victory of their God. And the answer is wonderfully obvious.
This Psalm puts the eaters smack dab in the middle of the great saving acts of God. With vivid simplicity the psalm proclaims what happens when God shows up.
He shows up in power and His first act is to choose Israel both for His sanctuary and His dominion. Thus, if anyone else in all the earth wants to meet God or observe life in His Kingdom, all they have to do is show up in Israel.
All contrary powers are driven from the field by His appearance. The chaotic powers that put salvation in question must flee before Him. In His presence the mountains– the symbols of all that is solid, durable–quake.
God’s mighty salvific work is proclaimed by all the facts that are brought together in this weighty hymn. When Israel is thirsty, God offers her water from the rocks and desert sands. When she is hungry, she can pluck birds out of the air and bread from the ground. God provides for those who are near Him.
The elements of creation react to the powerful appearance of God. Because they move before God’s coming, Israel’s passage into the Promised Land stretches out before her. All this and more is remembered as the Jews sit down to eat the Passover meal.
Do you know why Christians choose to worship on the first day of the week instead of the Jewish seventh? The early Christians saw Easter as our Exodus. As much as the Exodus from Egypt shaped the imagination, the memory and the living faith of Old Testament Israel, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, shapes the imagination, the memory and the living faith of the church.
As much as the Exodus was the birth of Israel, so Easter is the birth of the church. And as much as Israel was God’s dominion and sanctuary in the Old Testament, the church is God’s dominion and sanctuary today.
Thus, if anyone else in all the earth wants to meet God or observe life in His Kingdom, all they have to do is find the church of Jesus.
Psalms 113-114 were recited as the opening on the Passover meal. They helped the eaters enter into the story of God, their story. We worship Jesus today to enter into the story of Easter, to make it our story.
How does Easter shape your life? How will living in the presence of the God who raised Jesus from the dead, impact your life this week?
Your Friend & God’s Friend,
1 Corinthians 15:1-28