Death to Life

Red Sea | Devotion 5: Death to Life
John Rigg

I wonder how many people have seen Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in Cecil B. Demille’s production of “The Ten Commandments” since its opening in 1956? For me, the movie’s climactic scene is when Moses, with staff in hand, raises up his arms and divides the Red Sea. Only then can the enslaved Israelites escape from Pharaoh, and cross over on dry land to their freedom. Once safely on the other side, and with Pharaoh’s soldiers in hot pursuit, Moses again stretches his hand over the sea, and the waters come crashing down upon the Egyptian soldiers.

Recently, I was reading the real-life account of this scene in Exodus 14:26-28 and was reminded of the reality that all the Egyptian soldiers, at least 600, died that day, “…not one of them remained” (verse 28). Although the Israelites were often stubborn and rebellious, they eventually listened to God’s messenger and followed Moses through the parted waters to their new life on the other side. The Egyptians, on the other hand, after repeatedly being warned, refused to hear the words that had been spoken by Moses and entered into the judgment of God.

Of course, for us living today, the message of future judgment is in view here as we read through the account of the Red Sea crossing. Those hearing and believing in God’s provision of eternal life through Jesus Christ will not enter into His judgment but will avoid the condemnation of sin, which is death, and pass to life.

Jesus Himself reaffirms this in John’s New Testament Gospel. John 5:24 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” 

Every time that I watch the movie or read Exodus chapter 14, I cannot help but think of those that will not pass from death to life but will enter into the judgment of a Holy God. Scripture tells us many times that the condemnation into judgment is not of God but of our own choice. John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” Ezekiel 18:32 adds, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”  

Our sin has condemned us all, yet through simple belief in the name of Jesus, judgment can be avoided. I wonder how many of the Egyptian soldiers would have listened to God instead of Pharaoh if they truly understood their final destiny?

I wonder how many of our friends, family, and co-workers might make the decision to follow Jesus if we were to be honest with them about their final destination?

The challenge from Exodus chapter 14 for us should be this. As God’s messengers, how can we be intentional about telling someone that God’s desire for them is to “turn, and live,” and that there is a way to pass from “death to life?”

Remember, not everyone died that day at the Red Sea, only those who heard and refused to listen.

Has everyone you know and love heard?

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