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Tsunamis in the Bible?

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I have always wondered how the Red Sea parted as described in the Exodus story of Moses.

The recent Tsunamis that happened in West Sumatra and the tremendous destruction that came with it got me thinking – was this what really happened to the Egyptian army when they were pursuing the Hebrew people while they were led out of Egypt by Moses?

On the internet, many eyewitness accounts can be obtained very fast. Pictures taken by amateurs appeared on the news channels within hours of the event. Many people were able to witness the destructive effects of gigantic waves through these movies. Death just happens in an instance with the pounding of 700 kph waves that destroyed everything in its path.

Ironically, just a few hundred meters away, people were busy with their shopping, eating, laughing, as if nothing happens. Nobody had expected such fury and destruction. It was just like a monster coming in and swallowing its victims.

On that eventful Sunday of 26th December 2004, I was attending Mass at our local church. At approximately 0900 hrs, I could feel a very slight tremor while I was listening to the homily delivered by our Parish priest.

The tremor was so slight that at first I thought I was not feeling well and felt a bit dizzy. Then I noticed that many other people were looking around them as if they also felt something. My neighbor sitting next to me could not even feel anything.

Everybody went home without even suspecting anything amiss.

My family and I even went over to a shopping complex very near to the seaside where the tsunami hit. That was at about 1300 hrs.

Back to the event of the Exodus. About 4 thousand years ago, there was a report in the bible that the Red Sea parted, and the Hebrew people led by Moses were able to walk through the sea as if it were dry land.

After they had cross over the seabed, the pursuing armies of the Egyptian pharaoh followed in their trails. The wheels of their chariots got stuck in the mud, and the water came back, swept and destroyed them. None of them survived.

I was wondering. The waters must have come in very fast! How come none of the soldiers were able to escape? The recent Tsunami, triggered by an undersea earth tremor seems to provide a living example of what can cause the water to rise so high and so suddenly that none of them could survive.

The recent tsunami was caused by an earth tremor. Was it likely to occur at the Red Sea? Sure enough, I found that some areas in the Mediterranean were well known for volcanic activity.

Was it possible that 4 thousand years ago, something like this happened?

I have never seen such destructive forces at work before. Houses, people and buildings were swept out of the way like match sticks. It’s so swift and sudden. It brought to mind the words Jesus Christ spoke, “On that night, I tell you, there will be two people sleeping in the same bed: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. Two women will be grinding meal together: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind” (Luke 17:34-35). This sobering passage was referring to the final days of the coming of the Kingdom. But it does dawn on me that nothing is impossible with God. It’s only we who do not believe such a thing can happen.

This tsunami event left a lasting impression on me to never underestimate the power of God. The bible is so full of such events, God bringing in locust, bees, flies, plaque and many other natural phenomenons to show His power. The story of how Gideon with his 300 men defeating 120,000 enemies, and many other stories tell us that seemingly unimportant people led by the power of God was able to conquer impossible odds.

Actually it does not matter to me anymore whether a tsunami really parted the Red Sea or not although I wonder how it happened. It does not matter to me anymore how the sun is able to shine, how the weather behaves, how the many different species of plants and animals come to inhabit the earth. How the minute cells of living things are able to grow… The wonders of God are really too much to comprehend. It’s simply awesome!

But there is something I do know. The bible is God’s chosen medium of communication with humans. In every situation of our lives, God is able to communicate with us if only we allow Him to. It is good for us to study His word.

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