As we head toward Easter, you’re bound to see a big-production movie (or at least a listing) that seems remarkably like a story you heard. Maybe you heard it in Sunday School or heard it told during one of the countless sermons preached about when God parted the Red Sea to allow the people of Israel to escape the Egyptians who had long enslaved them.
On-screen or off, the imagery is striking and worthy of all the mentions we can give it; God’s faithfulness to his people is amazing!
But why were the Israelites enslaved in the first place? You can trace that throughout Israel’s history leading to that parting of that sea, but more specifically to Joseph – as in the ‘coat of many colors’ son of Jacob, whose name God eventually changed to Israel.
Joseph is the one who was thrown into a pit and then sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and the one whose trials, tribulations and rise to a place of prominence in Egypt are all told within the pages of the very first book of the Bible: Genesis.
The book details how Joseph trusted God through his enslavement, betrayal and situations that would leave most of us in utter despair. It details how in a wild turn of events, he becomes the very one who saves his father and the descendants of his 11 brothers when Joseph’s homeland is dying during a devastating famine.
Even after all they did to him, Joseph helps his brothers and their enormous tribes, which leads them all to relocate to Egypt. They flourish and become productive, growing in both stature and number, and eventually, there’s a change of power in Egypt. The new king wasn’t fond of foreigners thriving in his kingdom, so he enslaved the Israelites – this continued and worsened over more than 400 years.
So yes, God parting the waters to allow them to march out unharmed under the leadership of Moses (that’s another story) is a big deal and worthy of every telling.
But there are so many points worth making along the way.
The Bible is rich with stories of pain and struggle, forgiveness and redemption, and when we study it all in context, we begin to understand God’s love for us in all-new ways.
From the table of contents in the front to the maps in the back, reading and gleaning truth from the Bible is worth your while. And just like this story about the Israelites marching out of a 430-year captivity through a sea which parted to allow them to cross on dry land, and then comes crashing in on the army chasing them, there are many pieces to every story.
So, take time to study the Bible.
Don’t miss a moment. Don’t look past a hero or a healing because if you miss a piece, you just might miss the point.