Deep Waters

Lake Ouachita was created as a flood control project; it is one of the largest lakes in Arkansas with approximately 900 miles of shoreline, 40,000 acres of surface area, and 200 islands.  It is very easy to get lost on this lake because of all the islands and fingers reaching into the Ouachita Mountains.  The lake is deep and clean; diving enthusiasts visit it to see fresh water sponges, jellyfish, underwater islands, and unusual geologic formations.  There are places in Lake Ouachita that are very deep, and the water gets extremely dark and cold.

I get a real thrill when I am drawn to see a pattern of words or metaphors repeated throughout the Scriptures.  The past two weeks I have spent time in Jonah and in the end of Revelation (in heaven!).  They are just two portions of scripture that involve the deep, dark, and dangerous sea.

One of man’s greatest fears is a fear of deep, dark, uncontrolled water.  We sense its power and our helplessness.  Many times throughout scripture, God’s power is described by reviewing the way he controls rain, water, and exactly where it is allowed to go.  One the other side of this pattern are man’s pleas for rescue from deep water.

I think we use drowning as a metaphor for many of our fears.  We drown in our work; our troubles flood over us; our fears of an unknown can take on the mythic proportions of leviathans and monsters of the deep, etc.  Take just a little time to ponder and I suspect that you will come up with your own dark and watery descriptions.

The following excerpts trace the pattern of watery worlds from Genesis to Revelation.  They highlight God’s complete control, identify our enemy, give words to our fears, and point to the Source of our rescue.

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Genesis 1:2

Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth.   The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.  Genesis 7:17-18

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.  The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left…So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea…Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.  Exodus 14:21-22,27,30

Save me, O God, For the waters have threatened by life.  I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.  I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.  David in Psalm 69:1-3

Water encompassed me to the point of death, the great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head.  I descended to the roots of the mountains.  The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.  Jonah in Jonah 2:5-6

And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.  Jesus himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.”  And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.  Mark 4:37-39

And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.  Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.  Revelation 13:1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  Revelation 21:1

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street (the new Jerusalem).  Revelation 22:1

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