Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.” (Exodus 14:15-16)
There is something truly wonderful about the story of how God brought the Israelites through the Red Sea with the Egyptians in hot pursuit. Every time I read it, I glean something new.
For example, if you read the story closely, you’ll note that God did things in a very unconventional way, so much so that the Israelites were often looking at Moses (whom they knew was led by God) and said, “What are you thinking? We’re going to get killed!” (My paraphrase.) First, the shortest way to get the Israelites out of Egypt was through the land of the Philistines, but that would have been way too simple AND had they changed their minds, they could have easily turned around and headed back to Egypt. He led them through a place that was a narrow valley with tall mountains on either side, and the Red Sea was before them, and the Egyptians were in hot pursuit behind them. God ensured that they could only go in the path He had for them–a path that looked like it headed straight toward death. When they arrived, the Israelites looked at Moses and said, (with just a tinge of sarcasm), “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” If it were me, I’d be saying something like, “Lord, I need you to show up now…”
Then Moses says, “Do not fear! Stand by [literally: Take your stand] 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.” At this point, there must have been a dead silence, as Moses waited for God to do something, anything.
Then God said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.” Here’s the thing: God wasn’t about to show His power until Moses and the Israelites put their faith into action.
Then God said, “And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharoah, through his chariots and his horsemen.”
And just as the Egyptians closed in on the Israelites, the angel of God in the form of a pillar of cloud who had been going before them, came around behind them, blocking the Egyptians from the Israelites. And night came, and the Egyptians were completely incapable of attacking the Israelites all night as the pillar of cloud became a pillar of fire.
And during that night, God worked as Moses stretched his hand over the sea. He swept the sea back by a strong east wind until the sea became walls on each side, and the ground below became dry land. Only when the way was clear did the Israelites cross over, and only then were the Egyptians able to pursue them. But even then, the Lord fought for them, causing their chariot wheels to swerve, bringing confusion to their minds, and making them drive with difficulty. Then the Egyptians said something we should all write on our hearts: “Let us flee from Israel for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.”
Amen. God likes a good fight, especially when it proves to us that when we take a stand for Him, He will fight for us and we will always win. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from this:
- God may take us down a precarious path to a place where it seems there is no way out. Don’t be afraid, because that’s precisely where He wants us to be.
- Even if it seems there is no way, God will make a way where there is no way. Trust Him in that. Even if it seems like God isn’t arriving on time, remember, His timing is absolutely perfect.
- When we feel the enemy pursuing us and closing in, first, take a stand and know the Lord will save you. Stop running in fear. Turn, look your enemy full in the face with confidence, knowing that your powerful God is with you.
- Next, go forward, even if it looks like you’re walking off a cliff or into an ocean.
- Exercise your faith and God-given power, raise your hands and command the sea to part.
- Speak only words of power and faith. Moses told the Israelites that God would fight for them while they kept silent…that’s because he didn’t want them doing their usual complaining. Words have power, so when we’ve got our backs up against a wall, speak only words of power and faith. Do not speak words of fear or disbelief.
- Now, watch as God fights for you and your loved ones. Smile as He puts Himself between you and the enemy. Know that He will destroy the enemy so completely that you will have nothing left to fear.
- Walk on in faith, peace and joy. Don’t let doubt crowd your mind and make you fearful. Don’t look up at the huge towers of water on either side of you, wondering if God really will deliver you to the other side safely, or if the walls of water or the Egyptians will crush you. Your God is with you. He will not fail you or your children.
Walk toward your destiny with confidence in our mighty God, knowing that He will command even the sea to part if that’s what’s needed to get you there.