What challenges are you facing? Do they seem overwhelming?
I have been reflecting on the exodus from Egypt. The Lord had miraculously led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, carrying the silver and gold articles and clothes given to them by their former captors (Exodus 12:35) and ready for battle (Exodus 13:18) Having led them via the desert road, God then turned them back towards the Red Sea, all the time, speaking clearly to Moses of His plans.
As the Israelites got close to the Red Sea, they looked up and saw the Egyptian army in full attack mode – horses, soldiers and chariots, and they were terrified. Now bear in mind there were around 600 thousand men amongst the Israelites, and they were fully armed, but still they were terrified.
And the first thing they did was blame Moses. ‘What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?’ How quickly they forgot that this was the place where they were forced to make a full quota of bricks each day but were given no straw. They had been whipped and forced to work long hours. But their focus was on their fear, and they needed someone to blame for their predicament. How often to we do that? How often do we look for a scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for where we are, despite the challenges that lie ahead?
The second thing they did was want to go back into slavery. ‘It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than die here in the desert.’ (Exodus 14:12) How often do we ask God for direction, and then become fearful because things seem to be going wrong. How often do we want to go back to our familiar place, even though that place is a place of hardship?
Moses knew the answer. He turned his back on the challenge of the enemy and listened to the Lord. We know that it is not easy to do this when all around us in chaos, but his trust in God was so strong that he could say to the people: ‘Do not be afraid, but stand still and see the deliverance the Lord will bring today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.’ (Exodus 14:13 & 14)
And the Lord gave him a strategy that took faith – He told him to raise his staff, stretch out his hand to divide the water so that the Israelites could go through the sea on dry ground. Did Moses hesitate or argue that this was unheard of? No, His heart was so fully aligned with the Lord that he simply obeyed, and we all know the rest of the story. He did not allow his own understanding of the situation to get in the way, but fully trusted the Lord for the outcome.
As we face our challenges, and there may be many in our lives, let us take heart from this account. We serve a God of miracles. Proverbs 3:5 & 6 says: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.’
Let us not look back in fear, even if the giants of lack, or ill health, or disappointment seem to be close on our heels. Let us not allow our emotions to drown out the voice of God. But let us turn our back on our fear and let us stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring. Trusting in the Lord with all our heart takes faith, and faith takes courage. Whatever you are facing today, may the Lord go ahead of you, and may you see His mighty and miraculous hand at work. May the enemy that has been challenging you be vanquished, and may you walk into the land of the Lord’s promises rejoicing in His goodness. Amen.
Lapis Lazuli Ministries – Board Member