19
Death and salvation at the Reed Sea
This one experience of wrath was sufficient for them, 1but anger without mercy assaulted the ungodly right up to the very end. God knew before they did what was yet to come: how, 2after agreeing to send your people away, and in fact sending them away in haste, their enemies would change their minds and pursue them. 3And so, even as they still held in their arms those whom they mourned and even as they still raised up their laments at the graves of their dead, another thoughtless plan occurred to them. They decided to pursue those who had fled even after they had agreed to their request to send them away. 4A fate they fully deserved drew them to this inevitable decision and made them forget about all the things that had so recently happened to them. All this took place so that they might complete the one punishment lacking in their sufferings.
5So at the same time as your people began an incredible journey, their enemies found a strange death. 6The whole creation began to take on a new shape in its very nature. It once again submitted to your commands so that your children might be kept unharmed. 7A cloud appeared, casting its shadow over their camp. Dry land appeared where before there had been only water. It presented them an open path through the Red Sea,#Or traditionally Reed Sea in the Hebrew Bible a grassy plain where before there had been only violent surf. 8Those who were protected by your hand passed through as a single nation, seeing amazing wonders. 9They were like horses ranging about and like lambs skipping along. They praised you, Lord, for you were rescuing them. 10They remembered all that had happened in the foreign land in which they had lived so long. They remembered how the ground had brought forth insects instead of livestock. They remembered how the river had vomited up frogs instead of its normal wildlife. 11Later, driven by hunger, they requested meat and found a new breed of bird. 12Quail arose from the sea to nourish them.
13In contrast, punishments rained down upon the sinners, but not before they were given a clear warning through violent thunder. It was right for them to suffer for their evil deeds and for their hatred of the immigrants in their midst. 14Some people have failed to welcome strangers who came into their midst to stay awhile. But these people went so far as to make slaves of people who were their guests and benefactors. 15Judgment will come on those who greeted people who weren’t like them as enemies. 16But these people first gave feasts to welcome those who did right and shared with them the blessings of the land. But then they began to force the strangers to do hard labor. 17Therefore, they were struck blind, just like those people who had gathered at the door of one who had also done what was right. A veil of darkness was cast around them, and each one of them groped for the entrance to his own gates.
18If we are careful to observe events, we can see just how the elements of the universe are transformed. It’s the same transformation that happens when someone changes the sounds that a harp makes by changing the key while continuing to play the same melody. 19In this way, land animals were changed into underwater creatures, while animals that swam in the waters now moved onto the land. 20Fire was able to burn on the open water, while water forgot that it was supposed to put fire out. 21Flames no longer burned the exposed flesh of living beings, who were able to walk through the flames. Flames didn’t even melt the frostlike crystals that were a kind of food of everlasting life.
God is faithful
22In every way, Lord, you have made your people great and given them great honor. You never neglected them, but you stood by them in every time and place.
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