I am reading through the Old Testament right now. It’s a little like showing up in Oz, walking down the Yellow Brick Road and trying to find your way in a strange land. You see a lot of things that don’t make sense. You notice some odd characters. The lion and tin man and scarecrow show up as food falling from the sky and a talking donkey and a bunch of complaining people marching through a sea. But you keep walking along... because surely this all leads somewhere good?
The crossing of the Red Sea is a story we’ve probably all heard a time or two. The Israelites, led by Moses, have left Egypt and they’re headed toward the Promised Land. But then Pharaoh ups and takes his army after them, thinking the Israelites will be trapped in the wilderness and he will defeat them in no time.
The Israelites panic, questioning God and Moses and their willingness to leave Egypt in the first place. (If you’ve read Exodus before, you know this happens a ridiculous number of times and grow frustrated with the Israelites before realizing you are just like them.)
And then something really crazy happens. God uses Moses to divide the water, and they walk THROUGH THE ACTUAL SEA on dry ground, chariots and all. When the Egyptians try to follow, it doesn’t work out so well for them.
Here’s the thing: since we know the story pretty well, it often seems harder to meditate on the important events that are happening. But when we take the time to look closely and soak in the verses? Gosh, we might just see the Creator behind all of the curtains.
If you have a moment, take some time to read through Exodus 14 (I’ve also included it at the bottom of this post for you).
I know that was lengthy, but hang with me for a second for a few reflections from this passage:
1. God is after His own glory. And His glory is what’s best. (v. 4, 18, 31)
At the end of the day, God is going to be glorified. There’s no doubt about it. And if we are wise, we will live out a constant desire to display the Lord’s magnificence. We will want His glory above our own, because His glory is what’s best for every single person on the planet.
2. No matter how many times we doubt, God remains faithful. (v. 10-12)
The Israelites feared for their lives, but God came through. How many other times do we see His faithfulness despite His people’s failures play out? Scripture is filled with this story. My life is filled with this story. Praise the Lord that His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.
3. It’s important to proclaim truth in tough situations. (v. 13-14)
Even if it’s preaching to yourself. Even if you don’t feel like it. Show up for your people through prayer and encouraging verses. Show up for yourself by going back to the Truth in God’s Word, over and over again.
4. God will lead the way, but He also works behind the scenes. (v. 19)
I love that God led the way in a pillar of cloud, but the scary part is when He goes behind the Israelites, coming between them and the Egyptians. God often does His best work behind the scenes, which is honestly pretty frustrating. We want to see the whole plan, but a lot of life requires heaps of trust. A lot of life looks like wandering through the wilderness. We have to believe the Lord keeps His promises, even when we can’t see the Promised Land.
5. The Lord shows mercy to His people. (v. 26-31)
Let’s not miss this: God saves His people AGAIN despite their grumbling hearts and bad attitudes. And anytime we see redemption in the Bible? We know that we are being pointed toward the ultimate redemption: Jesus. The Lord continuously shows extravagant mercy to His people, y’all. What a beautiful and holy Gospel this is.
There’s one more verse I want to highlight here. Exodus 14:14 reads:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Now, I don’t think this means to be passive or still in the literal sense (although sometimes we do need to slow down). But in this passage, the Israelites are about to march through the Red Sea and Moses needs them to get their butts in gear. When I read this verse a few weeks ago, I completely lost my cool. Because I read it as a command to surrender, to have faith in the God who is on our side, who is after our best and His glory.
How many times do I try to do all the things? How many times do I try to take control of the situation or plan out every detail? How many times do I turn to anxiousness or fear when I should be turning to God? How many times do I respond to tough situations just like the Israelites?
The answer to all of the above: Too. many. times.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord of the Universe is fighting for us! Let’s loosen our grips on our own plans and the ways we think they should play out.
Let’s lay down all of the things we were never meant to carry and follow Him into the better Promised Land.