The ten plagues in Egypt have ravished the land and crumbled Pharaoh’s resolve to continue enslaving the Israelites. After letting them go, and watching about 600,000 men (let alone women and children) walk out of Egypt with all of the land’s riches, Pharaoh’s heart imagined an even greater evil upon them. He called upon all the horses and chariots in the land, and led his army in pursuit of the Israelites. They were going to annihilate Israel once and for all.
Meanwhile, the Israelites, led out of Egypt by Moses, were now following the LORD’s pillar of cloud by day, and fire by night through the wilderness. After 430 years of sojourning in a land that was not theirs (dating all the way back to God’s promise to Abraham, Gen. 15:13) the people with all of their flocks, herds, and cattle, not to mention many jewels of silver and gold from Egypt, left to obtain a land promised to them by God. Little did they know, God was leading them to a dead end at the Red Sea, and Pharaoh was in hot pursuit with all the horsemen of Egypt.
Confounded by where the pillar has led them, the Israelite’s take a break from traveling. Murmuring against Moses and God commences.
“Why in the world would he take us to a piece of land that has water on three sides. Now we’ll just have to turn around and find another way!” cried out one voice.
“I’m so hungry, we’ve been walking non-stop!” chimed in another. “Where is this so-called ‘promised land’ anyway? You can’t grow anything here, and that water’s definitely not fresh!” she continued.
“Go home pillar, you’re drunk!” exclaimed a man as he stumbled down into the water after having a bit too much wine during the journey.
Just then, as the Israelites began to settle in and get over their complaints, a faint rumbling could be heard in the distance by those closest to the wilderness. As the commotion moved through the camp, the Israelites one by one lifted up their eyes to see what was going on.
As the rumbling continued, it grew louder and morphed into a cacophony of tree-moving, branch-breaking, leaf-crushing, earth-trampling noise.
The hairs on the Israelites’ necks stood up, their eyes widened, and their bodies became boards as they feared what might be coming through those trees. Even the drunk man in the Sea was scared stiff, as his heart slammed rapidly against his chest.
Then it happened, Pharaoh and his army of chariots emerged and the people were put to a choice: they will either have to fight or flee for their lives. What will they do?
This scene is part of a true story depicted in Exodus 12 through 14 in the Old Testament of the Bible. Obviously I’ve taken some creative liberty in presenting it to you, but it doesn’t make the actual event any less real! I’m going to try to relate it to all of our lives, so help me out by focusing in and really thinking about this next question.
Have you ever been in a situation where there seems to be no good way out? You’re stuck facing an unconquerable task in front of you, an impossible decision, or a bad habit you simply cannot defeat on your own. And then you turn around to run away from all of it only to find yourself in the midst of a sea of absolute nothingness. I mean, c’mon, am I the only one or does this resonate in your life, too?
Our natural instincts, which are basically comprised of a bunch of chemical reactions that take place in our bodies, tell us to do one of two things: take on our obstacles and enemies head-on (fight), or turn tail and run away from our problems until they magically disappear because it’s the only thing that’s ever worked for us in the past (flight).
But for most of the situations in our lives, neither one of these responses is beneficial; and in fact, both lead to a great defeat in our personal growth and well-being. Like the Israelites in the passage, if they (as a bunch of malnourished slaves who are also weary from traveling) choose to fight, they will certainly perish by the sword. And if they choose to take flight into the Red Sea, they are more or less committing suicide!
So then what can we do when our natural responses to life’s situations both produce a seriously negative result?
Well, let’s see how the story ended for these poor slaves who tasted freedom for seemingly only a moment.
As the Israelites are panicking and fearing the end of their lives are at hand, Moses, a man of God, says
Fear you not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever. The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:13-14
What? How? You can’t be serious?
Those were the thoughts that ran through my head anyway, the first time I read this. But sometimes, when the natural response doesn’t work, fight or flight, we have to at least consider giving this supernatural response a shot, “Stand still.”
To sum up the story, God told Moses to lift up his hand and his rod toward the Red Sea to divide it. As Moses responded in faith to God, even though it made no sense at all in his natural mind, the Bible says that the LORD caused the sea to go back all that night.
For those of you wondering why Pharaoh didn’t attack the whole night, it’s because God stood between the Israelites and Pharaoh’s army. He was a pillar of darkness and confusion to the enemy, and a pillar of light and comfort to His people.
In the end, the Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. And when the pillar of the Lord returned to lead the people, Pharaoh and his chariots pursued to their own destruction. The Red Sea came crashing down on himself and his entire army.
As a believer in Jesus Christ and the God represented in this account, I have to ask you first and foremost, have you ever stopped to consider that the answer to your impossible, natural circumstances might be found by looking to the Supernatural God who created you?
Instead of going with your gut and your instincts, instead of fighting or fleeing, that the answer might be in Moses’ words, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD”?
If you’re a fellow believer, these other verses are so worth your consideration! Psalm 20:7, 140:7, 2 Cor. 10:3-4, and the story in 2 Chronicles 20 of a similar impossible situation for man to get through on his own!
And if you’re an unbeliever, and this story tugged on your heart and hit home because of something you are facing right now, then you need to know one extremely important thing:
God loves you
He cares about your life and your circumstances. He sent His Son to die for you, so that He could, “perfect that which concerns you,” in Psalm 138:8, because His mercy toward you endures forever!
He’s just waiting for you to respond in faith like Moses did in the passage. He’s saying to you something along the lines of, “Stop relying on yourself, and look to me. Ask me to be a part of your life and I will fight your battles!”
It could be an addiction, a broken relationship, a living situation or a personal problem you can’t overcome; a feeling of guilt/shame that you just can’t shake, or even a fear you don’t think you’ll ever get past.
But look at what God is capable of! He can part the Red Sea that you would drown in, and He can conquer the ginormous enemy staring you in the face each day if you let him! He wants to do a new thing, making a path through the wilderness of your life and streams through the deserts of despair you go through (Isaiah 43:19)!
By faith, respond to Him. Say to Him, “God I need you in my life. I’m sick of trusting in myself or others and always being let down! Help me, Jesus, forgive me of my sins and create something new in my life. I want to stand still and see your salvation. Thank you for dying for me. Amen”
If you believed in God and His ability to save you today for the first time, or said that prayer with a sincere heart, then God heard you and sealed you with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), and made you a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
I thank God for your decision of faith!
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God bless you,