I was reading in Exodus today about Israel's deliverance from Egypt. Although the parting of the Red Sea and the host of other miraculous deliverances of Israel are familiar to us, I think we often take them for granted. Can you relate? Consider the Red Sea deliverance in Exodus 14 for a moment. Can you imagine what it must have been like! Imagine as we all are just delivered from an oppressive people, only after years of slavery and miraculous acts of judgment from our captors. Imagine we are all finally allowed to leave into the wilderness. Imagine the relatively swift departure from this land, an oppressive land but the one you've come to know your entire life. Imagine as we all depart not for a day-long interstate trip with air-conditioning and a hotel with a pool later that night. Instead, we all depart on a dusty road and set off for hundreds of miles of sheer wilderness. Of course, we are all steadied and at ease because God Himself is leading and delivering us… at least we want to believe this. Imagine then after all this we approach the mighty Red Sea with the Egyptians deciding to now chase us, attempting to bring us back into slavery. Now, given that context, what would our response be? Consider Israel's response to their predicament: "When the Israelites saw the king and his army coming after them, they were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help. They said to Moses, 'What have you done to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? There were plenty of graves for us in Egypt. We told you in Egypt, 'Let us alone; we will stay and serve the Egyptians.' Now we will die in the desert.'" (Exodus 14:10-12)
What would our response be? I think I am often so quick to criticize Israel for their lack of belief and grumbling before God. However, I often find myself succumbing to the same attitude. Even after countless testaments to God's work of deliverance in my own life, it's so easy to immediately doubt and question God amidst a trial. I think it's often easier to even succumb to our own desires for the "satisfaction" that sin and our own way offers, than to trust in God's plan. Can you relate?
Of course, we read Moses' response (which ultimately is God's response to the people) in verse 13, "But Moses answered, 'Don't be afraid! Stand still and you will see the LORD save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today. You only need to remain calm; the LORD will fight for you.'"
The rest of the story is quite familiar to us. Imagine then as we all watch in the dark that night as God commands Moses to spread his staff out over this massive body of water. Imagine then as the east wind blows in and the waters part. There lying right in front of us is dry ground! Now, with the massive amount of people maybe you're camped with your family near the back of the group. Imagine as the massive encampment of Israelites begin to erupt in wonder at God's parting of the waters. Well, all night long we all cross the seabed on dry ground, and watch as God thwarts Egypt's attempt to overtake us.
What would be our response to such deliverance? Exodus 15 is testament to their response… namely, worship. Moses leads the people in resounding praise at God's clear act of deliverance. Yet, as the Biblical story unfolds, Israel continually wrestled with trusting in God's leading.
Question, why do we so often doubt God's leading in our lives? I ask myself even as I write this, why I so often doubt God's leading and ability to deliver and give me strength to persevere? So, can you relate to Israel's struggle? Can you relate to my struggle? I'm sure we all can at various points in our lives.
May we, the redeemed in Jesus, recall (along with Israel) God's wondrous acts of deliverance and leading in our own lives. May we bolster our confidence in Him! And, may we along with Israel in Exodus 15, respond to our God's leading and persevering strength with resounding worship!
For the Spread of His Fame,