# 324 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 114. “A radical reading of reality”.

In the last two Psalms we have considered the power and majesty of the Name of God and then been asked the question, “Who is like the Lord our God?” The answer being of course, no one! And here again in this psalm we see why.

Psalm 114 really is a remarkable and unique psalm as a number of commentators agree:

Wilcock: “This is the Exodus Psalm par excellence”  (# 5)

NIV Study Bible: “A hymnic celebration of the exodus – one of the most exquisitely fashioned songs of the Psalter.”

Kidner: “A fierce delight and pride in the great march of God gleams through every line of this little poem – a masterpiece whose flights of verbal fancy would have excluded it from any hymn book but this. Here is the Exodus not as a familiar item in Israel’s creed but as an astounding event: as startling as a clap of thunder, as shattering as an earthquake.” (# 29)

Brueggemann: “Psalm 114 is a hymn that stays very close to the narrative experience of the exodus. It is evident that the specific liberating event is here presented as having cosmic proportion… verses 1-2 comprehend the entire sojourn of Israel from the exodus… to a land settlement… [it] is an invitation for each new generation to participate in this world-transforming memory… [it] makes available a radical reading of reality for those who want to join in.” (# 2)

Now read it again and see if you agree.

When Israel came out of Egypt,
    Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
    the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
    the hills like lambs.

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
    you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water.

The psalmist, using all the best characteristics of Hebrew poetry, describes in a mere 8 verses this momentous history changing event known as the Exodus. Why? To just remind the people of Israel of their great heritage as the people of God? Yes, but much more. This event was a foreshadowing of an even greater world transforming event which was spoken of in the OT scriptures over and over again and then finally became a reality in the coming of Jesus. The Exodus was when God delivered the people of Israel from the bondage of slavery from the Egyptians. Jesus came to deliver us from the even greater problem -from the bondage of sin and death i.e., the consequences of that sin.

The Apostle John sums it up as follows:

 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  (John 3:16-18)

No wonder, considering God’s great power and also His great love and grace, as displayed in both the Exodus and the Crucifixion and Resurrection, the last words of the psalmist are:

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob.

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