Between The Devil And The Red Sea – My Daily Bread!
Our courage to trust in the Lord is taken from the words in the Song of Moses where Moses praised the Lord for delivering the Israelites through the Red Sea. In Exodus 15: 11-13, NKJV, He said:
“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out your hand; the earth swallowed them. You in your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.”
No one who has ever heard the story of how God delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage starting with the miraculous plagues in the land of Egypt would deny that their Red Sea experience was a sentinel event in the lives of the Israelite nation. The Lord had indeed redeemed them from a life of slavery and all who heard about it knew that something extraordinary had occurred.
However, before the Angel of the Lord took up His position separating the Israelites from the Egyptians; before they knew how God was going to save them, although the Word does not say how long, enough time elapsed for them to become afraid. For the word tells us: “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptian marched after them. So they were afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14: 10-12, NKJV) Judging from their comments it’s fair to say that their lack of knowing resulted in anguished hearts, tense moments of doubt, fear and high anxiety.
What a complete 180 degree turnaround from the previous passage where the Word tells us “and the children of Israel went out with boldness.” (Exodus 14: 8, NKJV) In a flash the boldness melted away. They obviously made their own assessment of the situation from their vantage point which caused them to lose faith in what God had said; all they saw was Pharaoh and his armies approaching from behind and nothing but the deep Red Sea in front of them. And here is where things got interesting: for although they called upon the Lord, they did not wait upon the Lord. Because they could not see exactly how God was going to deliver them in this circumstance, they forgot the mighty hand God displayed in the plagues, just days ago. They began to attack Moses and although their words were directed at Moses, they were also directed at the Lord.
They also discounted the validity of God’s plan. They forgot that God had instructed Moses on what was going to happen and given Moses instructions to reveal it to them as well. “Now the Lord spoke to Moses saying ‘speak to the children of Israel that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon, you shall camp before it by the sea.” (Exodus 14 : 1-2, NKJV) I don’t think that God could have been more specific about where they were to set up camp; He led them to exactly where He desired them to be at that moment. Let’s also not forget they were being guided by the Lord “who went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.” (Exodus 13: 21, NKJV) And if His presence was not enough, in His mercy, He revealed to them His plan for Pharoah: “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘they are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.’ And they did so.” (Exodus 14: 3-4, NKJV)
These last four words – and they did so, let us know that the Israelites were aware of God’s plan to save them out of Pharaohs’ hand. But often being aware of a thing is not always the same as believing it. Under extreme emotional stress it is possible to doubt even the very Word of God and His promises for our lives; despite what we have personally experienced in our own lives. Just like the Israelites, we too can half get it right. We may look to the Lord, but waiting to see God’s solution is another matter altogether. And just like the Israelites, the first thing we do when we are between the ‘Devil and our own ‘Red Sea’ – we become afraid and start to complain. How silent we can be regarding God’s blessings at these times.
Saints, we all experience ‘Red Seas’ or times when our backs are against the proverbial wall and what is in front of us is as insurmountable as what is behind. But be encouraged to see these times for what they are – turning points in our lives where God is trying to grow your faith. It is at these very times we are called to trust in God’s plan even though we don’t have all the details. We are challenged to keep moving forward, confident that God will bring us through the midst of the sea onto dry ground. Trust that God sees you and knows just where you are; and that He can use your ‘Red Seas’ to your advantage. Are we not told “So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Exodus 14: 27, 29, NKJV)
And finally Saints, do not trust your own assessment of the situation especially when your vantage point weakens your faith in the promises of the Lord found in His Word. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6, NKJV)
Praise: I rejoice Father that You still lead those whom You have redeemed. That You have given your angels charge over me; to keep me in all your ways. (Psalm 91: 11) This gives me confidence to echo Moses’ song of praise “Who is like you O Lord?” There is none like the Lord – Glorious, Fearful and Wondrous is He! For I know you will cover me Lord, even me at my Red Sea!
Copyright© 2011-2012 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.