After 430 years, the Israelites were finally leaving. Pharaoh who had vehemently opposed their leaving abruptly ordered them to leave... immediately. Though they had been slaves, they were not leaving empty-handed. Moses had previously instructed the people to ask the Egyptians for clothing and articles of gold and silver and in Exodus 12:35-36 we learned that is exactly what they did.
And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. 36 The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!- Exodus 12:35-36 (NLT)
I cannot possibly imagine the mixed emotions the people must have had that night. Certainly there was joy and excitement at being released from bondage. However, undoubtedly there was also a sense of horror and awe at the judgment of God upon the Egyptians as well as fear. Were they truly free? Would they make it safely to their destination? What awaited them in the Promised Land?
Still, I don't think they had to be told to leave twice and I am sure that their feelings of fear and apprehension were overruled by their feelings of victory. What a story!
There is nothing like the feeling you experience when your enemy has been conquered. In addition to great joy, you also have a great sense of power even if someone else fought the battle on your behalf.
Then they came to the Red Sea and then... Pharaoh's army came.
You have just had an incredible victory. You feel strong and powerful. God is on your side! You set off optimistically ready to take possession of all God has promised you and suddenly you discover you're surrounded. On one side is an impossible barrier to cross and on the other side is the enemy, certain that you are trapped and that he will easily take you a prisoner and a slave once again.
Now, I want you to notice a couple of things here. First of all, God actually led the Israelites into this "trap".
Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: "Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!'- Exodus 14:1-3 (NLT)
Does God sometimes actually lead us into difficult places where we might feel trapped? Yes He does. While He often does not give us a reason (God owes us no explanations), in this case Exodus 14:2 explains why and I believe this is true in our case more often than not.
And once again I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!" So the Israelites camped there as they were told.- Exodus 14:4 (NLT)
Yes, God will sometimes place you in rather sticky, uncomfortable and even scary situations. It is during those times that we must simply remember where we have been, what He has brought us through, what He has promised and trust Him.
As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, "Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren't there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn't we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, 'Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It's better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'"- Exodus 14:10-12
The second thing I want you to notice is what the people did after they cried out to Lord. Their initial reaction is understandable and they did exactly what they should have done in that situation. They cried out to the Lord but rather than waiting for His response and directions, they turn to Moses instead. How quickly they forgot the hardship they endured in Egypt. How quickly they forgot the horror of slavery. How quickly they forgot the miracles God had done as well as His promises. Does this sound a bit familiar?
Moses however is different. Though he is caught between Pharaoh's army and the Red Sea and there is no visible way of escape, Moses trusts God.
But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."- Exodus 14:13-14 (NLT)
Just stay calm? I must confess that I do not do calm very well. I tend to be reactionary. I tend to want to do something. I want to have a plan and a couple of dozen alternative plans just in case Plans A, B, and C do not work.
God does not make alternative plans. He does not need them for His plan is always the right plan. When we are faced with challenges we must cast aside fear, be still, watch and listen for God's instructions and let God do the fighting for us.
And that is exactly what He did for the Children of Israel on that day.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4331097922/
[quote]Just stay calm? I must confess that I do not do calm very well[/quote]
Great blog, K! Great admonition!
Great Blog, I love the way you get to the heart of things. Feeling! The stories in the Bible are meaningless unless, unless we can feel them. Personally I believe that feeling is the God part in us.
Peace, The Regifter
Love the re-run! Great job K! In Him, Les