Read: Exodus 14-15
This devotional comes from Tim Keesee's journal when he was at the Red Sea. For the past twenty years, Tim has reported on the Church in the world’s difficult places and how the gospel is at work across the world through a ministry called Dispatches from the Front. Our prayer is that in reading Tim's journal, you would be encouraged by the boldness of our brothers & sisters in the Middle East. Our God is still the great deliverer, setting slaves free and making a way to His Good Land when there seems to be no way through.
“Finished out my last day here with a swim in the Red Sea. The water is bracing, and after a week in the Jordanian desert, it is like a long, cool drink. From the Egyptian side of the waters, the sun is swift and brilliant, covering the Red Sea in amethyst light and burning above the mountains of Sinai like a pillar of fire.
Spent the last few days on the Syrian border where Christians run a little clinic, providing medical services along with the Gospel to Bedouin tribes. A British nurse named Claire told me that radical Muslims have threatened to kill her and the doctors and burn the hospital down. She also told me they had not reported these threats because the government would then close the clinic for the safety of the staff. She said matter-of-factly, “Whether it’s the bad man with the gun or the nice man with the tie, the result is the same—the clinic will be closed. We have no reason to stop now. They have stolen our vehicles and threatened to kill us, but they have not harmed us yet and cannot unless He permits it—and even then, it will be OK because we will be with the Lord.” Even though she has faced armed robbers and lethal force, Claire’s voice was as steady as her faith.
Claire doesn’t have a death wish; she has a living hope. She knows Christ is powerful to save her—and to save all who come to Him. And Muslims are coming. At great risk, Bibles and copies of the Jesus film are being received and slipped beneath veils. Good News is now going tent-to-tent. Throughout the region Jesus is building His Church, snapping the prison bars of Islam like a stick and breaking the chains of its captives. No one can stop His saving work!
The first stars appear in the sun’s dusky wake in this moment between daylight and darkness. What must it have felt like for Moses and a nation of freed slaves that first night on this side of the sea long ago? Joyful praise filled the shore that night. God’s deliverance of His people was complete - and completely His own doing.
So Moses and the people sang to their Savior, their great Warrior and Defender:
I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. (Exodus 15:1-3)
A few days ago I was in the far northwest corner of Jordan walking among the ruins of Gadara and looking down on the Sea of Galilee. There Jesus cast out a legion of demons and set their captive free, sending him back to that very city to “declare how much God has done for you.” When Jesus demonstrated such power, His haters hissed, “he cast out demons by the prince of demons.” Jesus said to them, “How can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.”
Our Mighty Warrior is the One who has indeed bound Satan and is plundering his house in the very heart of these captive lands! As the Lord said in Isaiah, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).”
1. Put yourself in the shoes of the Hebrew people both before & after they crossed the Red Sea. What would you have been feeling, thinking, doing before? After?
2. How is the Red Sea story similar to our salvation story?
3. God is continuing to make a way in the Middle East. Write a prayer of response with Tim’s journal entry in mind.