In Psalm 114, the psalmist recalls the events surrounding the exodus and celebrates God’s sovereign watch over the Israelites, His covenant people. Like Psalm 113, the Israelites sang this psalm at Passover.
The psalmist personifies the Red Sea, describing it as being able to see the Israelites coming and in response, fleeing from them by parting its waters. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the Jordan River backed up so they could cross. When God came down on Mount Horeb to meet His people, the mountains around Sinai quaked.
In the closing verses of this psalm, the writer instructs the earth to continue trembling before the Lord, as a proper response to God’s deliverance and in respect of all He is.
We should all revere the Lord, just as the rest of His creation does, because He uses His great power to save and redeem us. Remembering the Lord’s deliverance and provision should cause us to worship Him in awe and wonder.
Psalm 114 (ESV)
1 When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
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Lockyer, Herbert (1966). All the Books and Chapters of the Bible. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Tomlin, Chris and Whitehead, David. (2017). Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship. Thomas Nelson Publishing. Nashville.
White, James F. (1993) A Brief History of Christian Worship. Abingdon Press. Nashville.