“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” Exodus 14:21-22
The parting of the Red Sea is probably one of the most famous and awesome stories in the Bible. The Israelites had just been freed from 400 years of slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. They had escaped and headed east only to find themselves stuck between the vastness of the Red Sea in front of them, and the doom of the Egyptian army behind them. Their choice was either death or slavery. The Lord, though, provided another alternative and saved His people by sending a strong wind to drive a tunnel-like path right through the middle of the sea, allowing the Israelites to walk across on dry ground at the bottom of the sea, but with much effort, pain, fear, and exhaustion.
First, the Israelites were thrown into fear when they saw the powerful army of Egypt coming to capture them. Second, after the sea was parted, the Israelites remained in fear from not only the power of God, but also the continued pursuit of the Egyptians.
- “As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened, so they cried out to the Lord.” Exodus 14:10
And thirdly, they fought physical and emotional exhaustion through the night. Their bodies wanted to sleep, but they were forced to continue on through the entire night, hauling all of their belongings, probably carrying their children on their backs, and stumbling and tripping on the sea-bottom rocks with their sandals that may have been worn and tattered. They were tired, but fear kept them moving, step by step, probably with pounding hearts, sweaty brows, and carrying the weight of dread. Would they make it? What was going to happen? Would God help them? Would God crush them in the sea? I’m sure they remembered their rebellion and grumblings and felt the weight of their guilt and wondered if God would forgive them and save them.
We think God’s plans should the easiest way for us, but it is usually the contrary. God’s plans are the best plans to show His glory in and through us, but they are often ones we wouldn’t choose as they are the hardest and most difficult for us, personally and spiritually. God doesn’t desire our comfort as much as our change.
It was a very long night for the Israelites. Throughout the length of the darkness, there was fear. It was not until the first light of morning, that God threw the Egyptians into confusion, slowing them in their path, giving the Israelites hope that they may actually make it out of the sea alive. Until then, it more than likely looked bleak.
- “The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”” Exodus 14:23-25
God wants to instill glory in us, fear in us (a rightful fear), awe in us, and trust in us. He may choose to do it in unusual ways.
- “But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” Exodus 14:29-31
Be ready to go. Be ready to be stretched. Be ready to do things you thought not possible. Be ready to be exhausted. And, be ready to grow to new levels.
God desires change in you and He will lead you on a path to that change, though it may take longer than you thought, will be more work than you thought, will have more pain than you thought, but in the end, you will be better than you thought possible.
- “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Father God, thank you for your assurance that you are with us, even what seems like the darkest times in our lives. Help us to remember that it is in these times that you are doing your greatest work in us. You are a loving God and we are so thankful for your guidance. In Jesus Name. Amen.