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December 9 – The baptism of Israel

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” – 1 Corinthians 10:1–2 

Scripture reading: Exodus 14:21-31

When God’s people were separated from Egypt, first by the cloud and then by the Red Sea crossing, they were being baptized. Baptism is a sign of the need for separation. As water washes away filth, so the work of the Lord washes away sin and gives new life. Baptism means that individuals and their households have a new identity. For Israel, that identity was tied to Moses’ leadership. They were no longer under the ownership of Pharaoh. The nation of Israel had been “born again.” God taught His people about the need for a new life, even as baptism now points to rebirth.

The church now has been baptized in “the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” We do not belong to this world! We belong to the LORD Himself. Looking back on that Red Sea crossing would motivate believers for generations. Several Psalms recount that event. In 1 Corinthians 10, the Apostle Paul also sees the need to remind the church of this event. He uses this example to remind us of the need to look to Christ, even during trials and temptations (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

Sadly, many who crossed the Red Sea fell away. They crossed the Red Sea, but Egypt never left their hearts. The same danger exists today. Therefore “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).

Suggestion for prayer

Praise the LORD of deliverance and baptism. Pray for the wisdom to continue to look to Christ amid temptations.

Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel.

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