When I prepare to write my blog posts, I usually listen to an uplifting Christian song when or before I read the readings. I put my music on shuffle play and the song Confidence by Sanctus Real came on. I wasn’t really paying attention to the song as I read, but, ironically, when I got to the lines “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and their charioteers,” the first refrain came on:
“Give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den, Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness, Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense, So I can face my giants with confidence.”
Something made me stop and relisten to it. “Give me hope like Moses in the Wilderness.”
I switched tabs and turned back to the reading: Stretch out your hand to the sea. Something struck me with that.
I have found that, in the Bible, stretching out one’s hands is associated with healing and deliverance. In Matthew 12:13 Jesus tells the man with the withered hand: “Stretch out your hand,” and it is healed. In Joshua verse 8:18 the Lord tells Joshua: “Stretch out the javelin in your hand toward Ai, for I will deliver it into your power.” Joshua does so; and they end up winning both the city and the battle.
Stretching out one’s hand is a sign of freedom, whether from illness or oppression. Today’s First Reading from Ex 14:21—15:1 is no exception. God tells Moses: “Stretch out your hand”; he obeys, and not only do they escape the Egyptians, but every single one of the Pharaoh’s charioteers were destroyed.
I think we underestimate what Moses had to do here. Just put yourself in his shoes. To stop and stretch out your hand, that took guts. Imagine what was running through his head. What if nothing happened, and he just stood there, looking ridiculous as everyone else fled? What if the Egyptians got through the mud and resumed pursuit? What would happen, if he lifted his hand?
It was reckless, it was radical, and it took trust.
It took faith.
It took hope.
Moses put his trust in God, and they escaped slavery. He had the heart to hope in Jesus, to not give up, even when they were so close to capture. He had confidence that everything would turn out more than alright because God was in control, and that was what gave him the strength to stretch out his hand.
So whether by the prompting of your own music or not, look between the lines of the Bible. Get the whole story. Look for the faith, hope, and trust all of these people had. And I pray that you may have the same confidence as Moses, so that when the Lord asks you to, you will stretch out your hand.
Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.
Feature Image Credit: Jospeh Hernandez, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/10135-contemplando-creacion