Separating the Waters

And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. (Genesis 1:17)

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. (Exodus 14:21)

And as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. (Joshua 3:15-16)

Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. (2Kings 2:8)

Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. (2Kings 2:14)

Should it be any surprise to us that God's pattern in creation is an example for us for how he creates in our lives? After the separation of light and darkness, comes another kind of separation - the separation of the waters.

This again is repeated in the Exodus, which is a pattern for our salvation. God follows the same pattern when he does his new creation in us as he did when he created the heavens and the earth. After he has taken us out of darkness into light, he requires that we undergo another separation in the waters. The people of Israel passing through the Read Sea, is of course a type and foreshadow of baptism. This is not an optional extra for the new Christian, but a command of God, and part of his process of making us a new creation. Just as the original division of the waters would be used to create a new heavens and a new earth for Noah and his family. It is a symbol of death and resurrection, a participation and public identification with Christ's own death and resurrection, and a powerful means of grace which cuts off the influence of the old life.

Once again I would suggest that ther is more here than just the one off action of baptism. There is also a way that, in coming to maturity, we learn to reflect the nature of God by making such separations for ourselves. It is significant that some of the most prominent men of God in the scriptures - Moses, Joshua, Elijah and Elisha all parted the waters and passed through.

The separation of water from water is different from the separation of light from darkness. It is not a separation of property but of purpose. One part of the waters were no different for any other, there was no mixture that needed to be removed, nevertheless there was a separation that needed to come in order for the purpose of God to advance.

This speaks to me of laying down our lives (another element that is strong in baptism). All that God gives us is good, and he wants us to enjoy life, but if we allow ourselves to be caught up with just the enjoyment of life then the good can rob us of the best, which is to know God and advance in his calling for our lives. Sometimes this will require us to make a division in what is good so that we may pass through into what is best. We lay down certain things or activities, not because they are wrong by nature, but because they are not in-line with the purpose. We rejoice in what God gives us, but we never cling on to it so tightly that we are not prepared to lay it down in order to move forward in our walk with him.

Is it sacrifice? Not really when we focus on what God will bring us into rather than on what we have left behind.

"Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." (Luke 18:29-30)

1 comment:

Anna Sacha said...

Separation is a big theme in Leviticus too...i think Cam posted a few things on that on his blog.