Waves in the Bible

Though ocean waves appear to be rolling in, that is not actually the case. The waves you see in the distance are not the same waves you see crashing along the shore. Instead, wind moves along the surface of the water and transfers energy to make waves. Think of it like a stone skipping along the water.

In the Bible, waves are often used to illustrate power.

“The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea — the LORD on high is mighty. Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days.” (Psalm 93)

Other references comparing God’s power to ocean waves include Job 9:8, 38:11, Psalm 65:7, 89:9, 107:25-29, and Isaiah 51:15. There are also references illustrating the power of emotions (2 Samuel 22:5, Job 22:11, and Psalm 42:7) and those showing how powerful praise (Revelation 14:2 and 19:6), peace (Isaiah 48:18), and angels (Ezekiel 1:24) can be. On the negative side, some references to waves help understand the power of evil (Isaiah 17:12) and the impact false teachers can have (Jude 1:13).

Comfort and Confidence

The Bible uses waves to describe and illustrate power because we understand how powerful waves are even if we’ve never seen an ocean wave or waves on a big lake. When something is described “like a wave of the sea,” we understand it to be powerful, unpredictable, potentially destructive, overwhelming, tumultuous, and/or uncontrollable.

“This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the Lord Almighty is his name.” (Jeremiah 31:35)

References to waves in the Bible can cause fear when we realize the power involved. Even more so, though, we can find comfort and confidence because we know the one who makes the oceans roar.