A Fantastic God!
The people of God can only move forward.
This is what the Rabbis claim. Even if they
find unsurmountable obstacles in front of
them, they have to keep on moving ahead.
They can never stop.
Exodus 14 relates the epic event of when
the people of God continued walking in the
midst of the sea. They never drowned because
the sea split open in front of them.
There is a lot of significant religious folklore
around this historical event.
The circumstances were serious. In front
of them they had a very deep sea and behind
them there were Pharaoh’s riders following
them furiously in order to take them back.
They did not know how to proceed. They were
between a rock and a hard place. They were
Then, came the order to proceed. Moses just
said, “Let us move on”. This was crazy! How
can we keep on walking in the sea?! Everyone
knows that if one walks in the water one
This order created a lot of consternation.
The people split itself in three groups.
The physically powerful said: “We will fight
the Egyptians. We will show them who we are
– we are not cowards. Our sheer physical
strength will pull us through…”
The rich guys, the ones who before leaving
Egypt took lots of money and other precious
stones, thought of a different strategy.
“Let us try to negotiate with them. Our riches
will give us an advantage on the bargaining
table. We shall sacrifice some of our resources
and gain back our freedom. Money makes the
world go around, as many argue!”
However there was a small group, the Levites,
who were neither strong nor rich. They were
poor and weak. They could not possibly rely
on money because they had very little neither
on their muscularity because they were extremely
frail. They could only rely on obeying God’s
order! They reasoned among themselves, “Who
knows… may be Moses’ order is not so crazy
after all. Perhaps there is God behind this
order. Perhaps God can even open a sea! We
have never seen it happen before, but it
may happen now! Let us do as Moses told us.”
And this poor, weak group of Israelites made
a step forward in the sea, and then another
step and another and another… And amazingly
enough the more they walked in the sea, the
more the sea opened before them. It was not
a sudden or dramatic opening. They just took
one step at a time and the sea dried up a
couple of feet. Another step and the sea
dried up even more…
Obviously all the other Jews when they saw
the sea opening up in front of Levi’s tribe,
started walking behind them. That day – the
Rabbis claim - all the people of God were
saved thanks to the poor and the weak. As
a tribute to their obedience in faith, Moses
ordered that Levi’s tribe would be the priestly
Blessed are the poor, said the Master.
These kind of ‘poor’ people will save the
Are you poor or rich?
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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