After the plague of death the Egyptians begged the Israelites to leave. They threw their gems and gold at them to encourage them to leave. But after the shock of death of the firstborn wore off, now the anger and resentment kick in. Pharaoh says, “What have we done? Why have we let them go? Why have we let go of their labor, their services?” (Ex 14:5)
The Egyptians assemble their rapid response troops, the chariots, to go racing after the Israelites. The text said the Israelites had marched out boldly, but once they see the Egyptians bearing down on them they loose their composure.
Immediately whining, complaining and panic set in. “Why did you have to set us free from being slaves??!! Didn’t we beg you not let us leave our slavery? It would have been better for us to be slaves than to die!”
Wow! Really? It would be better to be slaves than to die. There is a great line from Pink Floyd’s song Wish You Were Here: “Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”
Being a Christ follower can be a scary thing. Walking by faith rather than by sight.
Moses tries encouraging the people. Don’t be afraid. Stand firm in your faith. You will see God act on your behalf. (v.13)
Often the way God acts is to delay. To stretch out what we need: time, patience, money, thinking.
So the LORD delays the Egyptian army with a pillar of fire and cloud. The Egyptians are threatening. The Israelites know the Egyptian army is bearing down on them, but not yet.
Then Moses standing in the water prays stretching out his hands over the sea. The LORD then beats back the sea with a strong east wind. The waters were divided.
The Israelites were not looking for this solution. They wanted the LORD to smash the army before their eyes. Instead the LORD provides a way for them to flee, to escape.
While they are still running for their lives making their way through the wet pathway between the waters, the LORD is carrying out his vengeance on the Egyptians. The Israelites will not see it. They didn’t need to see it. They need to keep their eyes on God’s provision.
When we feel threatened and panicked, we are called to cling to our faith and focus on the provision from God. Don’t worry about all the other unimportant side issues. Focus on being God’s child.
Put your trust in the LORD.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7