A Bold Act of Faith

Yael Eckstein  |  April 20, 2022

Crossing the Red Sea. © 2021 IFCJ

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. — Exodus 14:15-16

This week, my family and I, along with Jews around the world, are celebrating the most important event in Jewish history — the Exodus and redemption of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. These devotions were prepared for you in advance to help you discover the many lessons in faith Passover has for you.

Do you sometimes sit and deliberate and pray about an action you might take, not sure where you will get the strength to act? You may even know in your heart what the right thing to do is, but still hesitate. Should I do it, or not? Will I be successful? Will the money be there to support me? Is the timing right?

It’s like we are waiting around for someone else to tell us what to do, or to do the job in our place. Sometimes we wait and pray, not because we don’t know what to do, but because we are afraid to do it.

If you’ve seen the movie, The Ten Commandments, you may remember the moment when Moses, played by Charlton Heston, stands on a cliff with the anxious Israelites standing behind him as he dramatically speaks of the greatness of God and then parts the sea. 

However, according to Jewish tradition, that scene played out quite differently.

A Bold Act of Faith

Scripture tells us, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.’

On a closer read, we discover that God first told Moses to tell the Israelites “to move on,” and only then would the sea split. So, what were the people waiting for? Apparently, someone to take that first step!

According to Jewish tradition, as the Israelites stood paralyzed with fear on the shore, a man named Nahshon, mentioned in Exodus 6 as Aaron’s brother-in-law, stepped into the sea and didn’t stop walking. When the water reached his knees, and the waters had not yet split, he kept his faith and kept going.  Soon the water reached his waist, then his neck, but he kept going! 

It was only when the water reached Nahshon’s nostrils, that God then said to Moses, “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

And that was the moment when the Red Sea parted. It was Nahshon’s bold act of faith and trust in God that caused the sea to split.

In modern day Hebrew, there is a term, “to be a Nahshoni,” which means, “to be bold, to be a pioneer, to be a person that takes action.” When we step forward in faith — no matter how small a step — we are being like Nahshon and taking a bold act of faith.

Your Turn:

Is there something that you know you need to do and you are hesitating. Be a “Nahshoni” — have faith in God and move forward!

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