Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15)
After the nine horrific plagues descended on Egypt, Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go. The fact that it took nine plagues whose destruction and desolation is beyond description tells you what a hard heart Pharaoh had.
And as he watched the sons of Israel beating a hasty exit, he realized his entire labor force was leaving the country, and he changed his mind. Actually, God did. But by this time, the more than a million Israelites were well on their way, so he sent the Egyptians after them to bring them back.
God had told Moses to take the sons of Israel between Migdol and the Red Sea. If you look at the topography of the land, (see the satellite view) the Israelites had to go through the wilderness of Egypt, and then into a very rough and mountainous region. The mountains literally go all the way to the Red Sea. But in-between these mountains is a clear passageway that you can see on the satellite view, and it opens onto a broad beach, now called the Beach at Nuweiba. It’s almost as though God designed the topography–and probably did–to accommodate the flight of the Israelites.
The problem was, once the Israelites arrived there, they were virtually trapped as the Egyptians came roaring after them.
Moses had a clear conundrum. He knew God had led them there. God had been quite specific in his directions. But what was he supposed to do now? When the Israelites saw where he had led them, they looked at him as though he’d lost his mind. So he did what most of us would do…he stalled.
But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
Scripture implies that Moses turned to God at that point and cried out to Him. Can you imagine what he said? “Lord God, help us! What are we supposed to do now? Please, show up or I’m going to have a revolution on my hands!” That’s when God said, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.”
God’s words may sound harsh, but He was trying to make a point–and to calm Moses down with His authority. In essence, what He was saying was, “I brought you here and I’m going to get you through. Now move ahead in faith, even if you don’t know how I’m going to do it. I simply cannot lead you if you stand still.”
This was the opposite of what Moses had told them to do. Although he had said, “stand by and see the salvation of the Lord” this was no time to stand still. Yet they were literally on the beach facing a broad expanse of water. It seemed ludicrous, but God said to go forward.
This verse has been a guiding light for me many times in my life. It is guiding me right now, as I move forward into a financial decision that’s a bit scary for me. I’ve prayed over this decision for some time, and feel that it’s the right one, so I’m moving forward. I’ve told the Lord, “OK, Lord, I’m going to stop crying out to you, and move forward. I’m trusting you to make all of this work. I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but I believe that You will. And if this isn’t the right decision, close the door.”
There are times in our lives when we come to our own Beach at Nuweiba, where we can’t turn back and it looks impossible to move forward. The fact is, God knew we’d arrive there, and He’s already got a plan. Perhaps he’s even brought us there to show us His power, and to force us to move forward in faith.
Even if we see what looks like an ocean of impossibility before us, we can be assured. He won’t let us drown. He will meet us there and He will part the sea for us, so we can walk through. So get moving and watch as the ocean walls of impossibility part before you, then rise up and stand at attention before our marvelous God.