Nicolas Poussin, Crossing the Red Sea, 1634.
Psalm 66 praises the awesome works of God remembering the rescue through the sea when escaping from Egypt the children of Israel were trapped between an army and a wet place. It is the story told time and again down through the centuries. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord heard your cry and with a mighty arm rescued you from Pharaoh’s grasp bringing you to a land flowing with milk and honey. While it is remembered with shouts of joy and singing it is also the story told when the milk has gone sour and the honey runs out, when enemies are all around, when life hangs in the balance and feet are on unsteady ground. When all seems hopeless remembering in the present the providence of God in the past is how one gets through today and into tomorrow. It is remembering God’s faithfulness that preserves the life that is essential, the life of hope. It is remembering God’s mercy that places the feet of faith on the solid ground of trust. And so we remember the awesome work of God on our behalf, not a passing through the sea on dry land, but God in human flesh passing through the sea of sorrow and suffering and death. In the tomorrow that will be the day that never ends the enemy that will cringe before God is death which like the chariots of Pharaoh has been swallowed up in the sea of victory.