Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left…
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians…”
Exodus 14: 21-22, 30 (ESV)
Let me start this morning with a recap which may lead to the miracle for your day, and this week. Just in case you need one.
Moses and the Israelites have been on a faith building journey, leading to what would be a miraculous moment which only God could orchestrate.
After 400 years, or so, of being enslaved, God used Moses to confront Pharaoh (along with some pretty nasty plagues to really get Pharaoh’s attention) to free the Israelite people from captivity in Egypt. God then led them with a pillar of cloud in the daytime, and a pillar of fire by night, on a journey through the desert toward the Promised Land taking care to protect them, and make sure they received food and water along the way.
He led them to the shores of the Red Sea, and had them camp there for a while.
God had already decided to set up a really neat moment, and He went back and changed Pharaoh’s heart about letting the Israelites go. No work was getting done any more in the country and the Egyptian people were blaming him. And so Pharaoh gathered his best troops and chariots and went after the Israelites to recapture them and return them to slavery in Egypt.
When the Israelites saw the desert sand kicking up in the distance signaling Pharaoh’s approach, God told Moses to tell his people to “not be afraid…that the Lord will fight for you. Just stay calm.” A reminder for them, and maybe even us today, that no matter where we find ourselves, God is there and we need to leave room for God to work and continue to fight for us.
But even with that assurance, they were still in despair as the clouds of dust rose in the distance from the approaching chariots, and they engaged in their usual response which they had perfected so well through the years—they began to moan and whine.
God questioned their crying, and told them to “get up and get moving, just keep moving.” Reminding them, that even though He is always at work for us, we need to be a part of that, we need to be all-in. That when the mountain is too big before us, the valley too long, and you can’t see to the end of where you think you’re headed—that there is always the next logical step ahead of us to take with Him and toward Him—one-step-at-a-time. Moment by moment. Day by day. Trusting Him for all that comes after.
So there they were on the shores of the Red Sea with God at hand protecting them and standing between them and the Egyptians, but the Israelites were still uncertain as to what would be their ultimate fate. They saw two possibilities of what could happen next—
To die at the hands of Pharaoh and his men, and be buried in the desert; or
To return to Egypt to be slaves again.
Maybe, there was a third, wishfully thinking that Pharaoh would forget the whole thing, turn around and head home empty-handed.
Anyway, that’s what they saw.
But you and I know what God had in mind, and they never saw it coming. But if you and I were there that day, whining and crying, I’m guessing that we wouldn’t have seen it coming either.
God had something planned for them entirely different—something incredible. A miracle. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea…”
So there they stood, watching silently, anxiously, as Moses raised his hand and rod over the waters next to them. And then a mighty wind rose from out of nowhere above, blowing those standing there—still disbelieving, still afraid. The waves began to rise forming glassy walls above them, and a pathway of dry land in front of them.
All fashioned for them by their God who was there, and with them all the time.
They never saw it coming. A simple lesson and clear message: we can prepare, make the best choices, and take the next best steps before us, but we must always be ready for God to do something we never saw coming; something only He can do.
Daniel figured he faced death in the lions’ den. God shut the mouths of the Lions.
Goliath saw an easy victory over a shepherd boy. God gave David a sling and five smooth stones and the giant fell.
The disciples were certain their boat would be tossed over in the storm and they would all die in the angry sea. God spoke quiet into the wind and waves.
He always is doing what we never see coming.
And in the midst of our “Red Sea” moments, or at other times when we don’t know what to do, there’s a couple things we might always remember—
God always knows where we are, is always with us, and always has us right where He wants us; and
No matter what we face in life, we need to stay calm, make room for God to work, and be at peace knowing that God will always be there fighting for us.
Oh, and yes, be ready—because He may just have another miraculous moment—like the Red Sea parting which they never saw coming—up His divine sleeve!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.