The Word Made Fresh
1When Israel came out of Egypt –
when the descendants of Jacob left that land of a strange language –
2Judah became the sanctuary of God,
and Israel God’s dominion.
3The sea saw it and ran away. Jordan turned back.
4The mountains skipped like sheep,
and the hills were like lambs.
5Why did you run away, sea?
Why did you turn back, Jordan?
6Why did you skip like sheep, mountains?
Why were you like lambs, hills?
7Tremble, earth, at the LORD’s presence,
for the LORD is the God of Jacob
8who turned the rock into a pool of water,
the flint rock into a spring.
1-7: This psalm celebrates (again) the miraculous work of God in bringing the “house of Jacob” out of Egypt. The only thing said of the Egyptians here is that they are a people of a strange language (the Egyptians probably didn’t think so). Then the imagery turns instead to acts of nature in succumbing to the sovereignty of God. The sea “fled” (a reference to the Red Sea). The mention of the Jordan brackets the entire exodus experience from the Red Sea to the Jordan River, both of which parted to allow the people to walk across. I’m not sure what the skipping mountains and hills refer to in terms of their remembered history, but they reflect the same sentiment of nature trembling at the presence of the LORD.
8: The pool of water mentioned here is likely intended as a reference to Massah and Meribah at the foot of Mt. Horeb where Moses struck the rock and brought forth water for the people (see Exodus 17:1-7).
It is important to remember when and where and how God has been with us. Think back on a time in your life when you knew God was there, or God had acted on your behalf, or you received divine assurance that all would be well.