"It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations." Ex. 12:42
Toward the end of April I went on a quiet, unstructured retreat with a dear friend of mine. I had never spent much time at the beach before. Thomas and I have always considered ourselves mountain folk. But it was surely the Lord who led me to the coast that weekend. He had something specific on His heart.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, April 23, I woke up. “Come out on the porch,” I felt the Lord whisper.
I went outside and saw a near full moon reflected on the waves of the ocean and on the wet sand of the beach. It was beautiful and I was mesmerized. The midnight blue of the waves graced with white ribbons of moonlight took me back to a vision of colors I had experienced earlier. I had seen this same dark blue dancing with flashes of white light, and I knew it was an image of the God who made the galaxies spin – the Creator God– the God of magic! And then I heard Him whisper, “For my beloved, I part the sea.”
As I stood watching the light play on the waves, my internal vision was taken back to Egypt. I saw the terrifying pillar of fire – orange, yellow, red flames – and God was in those flames. His glance threw the Egyptian army into confusion, but His eyes burned over Israel with a jealous love.
The flames lit up the night sky. Orange light reflected on the waves. The moon was full, and it also played on the ocean as the winds began to blow. Black sky, fire, moon, wind and waves, walls of water, light reflected a million ways! And the tension. Two peoples facing off, God in visible glory standing between them.
Over a million people were gathered for the spectacle. All night long they sat in vigil, both Egyptians and Israelites. Who could have slept? It was the most glorious sight the world had ever seen – the most glorious sight it has ever seen to this very day.
It was magic show to win the heart of a bride! The Israelites were decked out in gold jewelry and purple linen. God plundered the Egyptians, because this was their wedding night and He wanted His bride dressed in glory.
I watched the beauty, the majesty of that vision for some time before returning to bed.
Around 3:30 am I felt the Holy Spirit wake me again and draw me into the living room. My friend was sitting there. The Lord has waken her as well. We sat together for awhile, and then I told her I had seen the Exodus.
"Sister," I said. "God loved Israel like a bride and she broke His heart." And then I wept hard. I wept for the heartbreak of God, the heartbreak of a rejected lover. The magic did not win Israel’s heart and she went after other gods.
I was up most of the night - talking with my friend, just sitting with her in the presence of God, waiting. Finally I went back to bed at 5:00 am, though I knew it would be a short sleep at best. The Father asked me to walk with Him on the beach at sunrise.
At 6:00 am the sky was already a gorgeous deep pink. I walked out to the surf and watched the sky as I made my way along the beach, picking up shells. The sky brightened, moving through shades of pink, peach, orange and yellow. All light seemed more alive, more beautiful than ever.
When the sun rose hot pink I stood still and let the light wash over my face. A man passed and then turned back and spoke to me.
“It is beautiful, isn’t it” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“The most beautiful day of the year,” he answered.
And then it hit me. I knew what day it was, though I had not realized or thought about it before. It was the Passover! I had kept a vigil with the Father on the night of the Passover, then walked with Him on the beach at the first light of dawn, like the Israelites passed through the sea at daybreak.
When I returned to the beach house, I ran inside to read the story of the Exodus, to see if it really happened the way I saw it in the night. Scripture read exactly as I saw the vision. The winds blew all night. The light flashed all night. And the Lord called Israel to walk through the sea at the first watch of the morning.
What a precious night of grief. What a glorious hope! To feel the love, the pain, the vulnerability of the God of Israel. And still, He will have His bride!
He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Ps 19:5