Perhaps it’s because I never looked closely enough. Perhaps it’s because I watched the Prince of Egypt too many times growing up. Regardless of the reasoning, I’ve always imagined the Hebrew people crossing the Red Sea in slave clothes.
But that’s not at all what happened.
Before any miracles. Before any plagues. Before the great exodus out of slavery in Egypt. God laid out the plan. In Exodus 3:21 he says that the Hebrew women, when the time comes, will ask their Egyptian neighbors for silver and gold and clothing and they are to dress their sons and daughters in it. It would be their plunder of the Egyptians who had abused them for so long.
Can you see it?
Slaves their whole lives. Abused and mistreated and broken down. For so long having cried for rescue. And rescue had finally come. The people of God marched across the sea on dry land and their children were no longer wearing slave clothes. No! They walked into freedom dressed in the wealth of their captors.
God didn’t just set them free – which would have sufficed- no he lavished them in excess.
The Lord wanted his people to know they were no longer slaves. They were his children, his people. They were valued and dignified and loved.
And what makes this reality all the more unbelievable is that the jewelry hanging from their necks and wrists and ears would be the very gold they would soon melt together to form the golden calf- a rejection of the one who set them free.The all-knowing God, fully aware of what this jewelry would become, still told his people to take it.
Is it possible that his highest concern for his people in that moment was identity- not future sin? (Sin he would deal with severely when it came to pass). When Jesus paid the price to welcome us into the family of God, he set did the work to us free. Before, we were slaves to sin. But now, we’ve been given a Red Sea moment; the cross has paved the way for us to march into freedom.
And we will fail. We still stumble. We will abuse his gift.
But know this. Today. Right now. God wants you to know you are his. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are free.