Miracle after miracle God had performed on behalf of His people, finally leading them straight out of slavery, away from the cruel hand of the Egyptians. He set them free. Free from oppression. Free from captivity. Free from bondage. And the adventure was just getting started.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God didn’t lead them on the road that made most sense. The Bible tells us in Exodus 13, that though the path was shorter right through the Philistine country, God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” V. 17
So He led them around the desert road over towards the Red Sea. Hot, dry, barren wasteland. I can almost see the sea looming off in the distance. And hear the grumblings starting. Feel the fear rising. As the Israelites got closer that sea must have looked bigger and deeper. An obstacle that seemed too difficult to overcome. Their eyes focused on the problem. They forgot about the bigness of their God.
Questions loomed. How were they going to get across that thing? Surely someone had made a wrong turn. But just how do you go about doing a U-turn with 2 million people in tow?
9 Powerful Reminders from the Red Sea Miracle:
1. God knows what He’s doing. “So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea...” Ex. 13:18 Even if the way He’s leading doesn’t seem to make much sense and His timing seems off, or the wait and journey get long, and wandering in desert places is the last thing we want to do, we can trust Him. Always. He knows our way. He sees the big picture. He has good in store. And though it may not have been what we would have chosen, or how we would done things, we can thank Him for His Sovereignty, His care over us, and His leadership.
2. God leads our way. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to given them light…” Ex. 13:21 God will not leave us to fend for ourselves, struggling to find our way. He will lead us. He promises to. We may not see him in a pillar of cloud or fire these days, but we have His Word, and the Holy Spirit to give guidance to our days. He is with us, He gives wisdom, He provides direction, so we never have to fear being left on our own to figure things out. He goes ahead of us, He walks with us, and He guards our way from behind. His Word gives truth and life and shows us the way to walk in this world.
3. God is able to turn the hearts of kings. He holds all things in His hands. He can turn around the evil workings in this world to ultimately bring glory to His name, so that all will know that He is the One True God. “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” Ex. 14:4
4. When we see obstacles, God sees opportunities. He will make a way where there seems to be no way out. The bigger the problem, the greater his ability to shine right through it all. “The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea...” Ex. 14:9 Things were looking bleak and dark, yet God had a plan. And it was amazing.
5. We can focus on the problem or we can choose to trust God. The Israelites were terrified when they saw the enemy coming their way. They doubted their leader, they questioned God, they complained, they grumbled, they panicked. Yet God didn’t get mad at their humanity or fears. He only asked for their obedience. And their trust. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Ex. 14:14
6. Prayer is vital, yet sometimes God says, “It’s time to get moving!” God may ask for stillness and trust and other times he might say, “Get going and keep trusting.” God said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” Ex. 14:15 It’s so important to listen for his voice, to know when to be still, and also to know when to get up and move forward. His voice will lead us, He never leads in confusion, but always with assurance and clarity. There’s times in life when we pray about a decision and even though God shows us what to do, we get stuck along the way. So, we just say we're still "praying about it." Over and over. Instead of moving forward. And doing what He’s already said to do. If we ask Him for wisdom to know the right steps to take, he will always provide direction. He will open doors on our behalf and close those that need to be shut too.
7. God will work powerfully on our behalf, but He often asks for our obedience first. God asked Moses to do one thing. “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” Ex. 14:16 Moses was asked to obey God's voice. And with staff raised and hand outstretched, God's Mighty Power unleashed. That sea not only divided, but the people walked right through it on “dry ground.” Not even a hint of sinking sand. As God’s children, we aren’t destined to walk in mud and mire. He dries up the path before us so we’re heading out on firm ground. He is our sure foundation. Our obedience to His voice will always lead to blessing.
8. God will stand between us and the enemy. We never fight alone. He will send his angels to fight for us and guard us. He Himself will fight for us and guard us. That’s how much He loves us and desires to set His protection over us. “Then the angel of God…withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them…”Ex. 14:19 He will hem us in from all sides and keep us under His care. It doens't mean we won't ever face the battle, but we can know that He is surely with us in the midst of it.
9. Our God is a God of miracles. This same God who divided the Red Sea so the Israelites crossed on dry ground, and covered up the enemy in the depths of that same sea, bringing salvation to His people—this is the same God who works on our behalf today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” Ex. 14:31
We may be facing our own Red Sea moment this week. Maybe the enemy seems hot on our trail, lurking close, whispering lies and defeat, trying his best to trip us up. Maybe the obstacles that loom before us seem way too hard to overcome. We want to turn back. We want to give up. We find ourselves questioning God and doubting His care and love over us.
But it still doesn’t change this one Truth. He’s with us. And He fights for us today. As believers who have made the choice to put our faith and trust in Christ, we can stand on the assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will lead us. He will bring honor to Himself through even the hardest circumstances we face in this life. He is strengthening us and guiding us continually.
His plans for our lives will never be thwarted by the enemy’s attacks. Though it may seem like he’s winning at times, he does not have full control. God’s still greater.
And sometimes when we’ve done all we know to do, he whispers these words down deep into our soul, “…you need only to be still.”
For the Lord fights for you.
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel.