I think of Moses. Poor guy. Must have been so confused. God tells him to go tell the leader of Egypt to let the Israelites go. And what happens? The leader of Egypt makes life worse for the Israelites. And then they all turn their anger towards Moses.
What gives, God? I did exactly what you told me to do and then things got worse.
This was to happen a few more times. I think of specifically as the Israelites were backed into a corner against the Red Sea where the Egyptians were hot on their tail. Ready to punish or slaughter them all. And yet God led them to that exact spot. Moses was following directions perfectly.
We don’t normally hear that sermon: do exactly what God tells you and things are going to get worse. Not exactly something your friends and associates are going to believe most often. Sounds like an excuse.
I’m sure it was the logical ones in the bunch that maybe were the most vocal: “Whose idea was it to stir up the wrath of our Egyptian boss and then saunter out into the desert following this former murderer and thinking we would just walk away with no plan?”
But God told me to. Yeah, a tough sell.
Maybe another reason for the plagues beforehand. The Bible says they didn’t really know their God. They had been living in this other culture for so long that they forgot Him. He showed them over and over way before the Red Sea as He brought so many miraculous things on the Egyptians. But the Israelites were still freaking out.
It says God went behind them as the Egyptians approached. I imagine the ones in front were a little scared. Maybe seeing the cloud by day and the fire by night was a comfort. But all of a sudden even that was out of view. Not gone. Just out of view. But being such slaves to our senses, I imagine that could have been scary.
How many times in life have we felt like God led us to a certain place and then all of a sudden we can’t see Him anymore? We feel abandoned. But maybe He is just protecting us from the rear. Maybe He has already prepared the way forward and is asking us to continue and step out based on what He’s already done. Saying, “I got you.”
The Israelites were safe all along. Will we believe?
How do we know whether we came to this place on our own or were just following where we felt we were led? Even that knowing must be surrendered. For peace. Place it all in His hands. As one of my favorite songs says, “Empty pockets, open hands.” As a child. Scared, sad, angry. But loved through all. In all.
Someday you can choose to believe it. Right now ask Him for help. For comfort. For encouragement. For hope. To see how He sees. Remember what He has already done. Remember His ways are higher than our ways. Remember He sent His Son. For God so LOVED the whole world. Including you. Surrender the need to know, the need to understand. Ask for His peace. Run to Him. Resist accusing. Risk vulnerability.
Here I am, Father. Your child. I depend on You and Your love. Please part our Red Seas. Please help us see You in the midst of our confusion and fear.
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.'”
“So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.”