The Israelites have just been liberated from captivity of the Egyptians. They were being led by Moses into the promise of God. Then God instructed his newly liberated people to go backwards and asked them to wait there. He asked them to go back towards where they just escaped after years of captivity and camp there! That sounds like the most absurd, impractical thing you could do.
After that, God then went and hardened their captivator’s heart so that he could rally up his army and pursue after the newly liberated, former slaves. The Israelites after a while look up whilst in the desert, only to see the Egyptians charging at them. They naturally begin to panic and start to question the point of the rescue mission, when they were still going to be hunted by their wicked captors.
In retrospect, to them, it was better, more comforting to live under the level of oppression they were in, than to face what looked like certain death. Fear and panic kicked in and they lost sight of all God had done to bring them out of slavery. Loosing sight due to fear and panic, disabled them from rationalising that if God did all of that to get us out, surely he can’t leave us out here to die.
Then God simply asked Moses why he was crying out to him and that he should tell every one to get a move on. Moses, before hearing from God, told the people to be still in their time of panic. God then said, “start moving”. Rationally, God’s instruction makes sense. You see the enemy fast approaching so the natural response is you get up and start moving. Moses however thought the better option was to be still, something you wouldn’t opt to do naturally in the face of danger. The Israelites opted to panic and assume the end.
It makes you question, did Moses suggest to be still to hear first from God. If that’s the case then I understand why he would say that and I admire him for thinking about hearing first from God rather than acting on impulse.
Reflecting on this scripture and my current circumstances, it makes me realise that God has the power and will do whatever he wants to with my life, in order to glorify himself and to make me understand that the glory belongs to him. By default, I think life should be peachy and everything should be straight forward. However my past experiences in life and present ones say otherwise.
It’s interesting that God purposefully made the situation more difficult for the traumatised former slaves. But in doing so, the Israelites were able to see that, no one could snatch them from the hand of God. They were able to see God raise them up, in the presence of their enemies and after, crush their enemies before their very eyes. They were able to see God make a way where there seemed to be no way. They had no choice but to look to God because it was only him that could deliver them from this predicament.
Situations like this build faith. They make me have an appreciation for God. Many times when I feel like I’ve been liberated and it’s smooth sailing from here, I find myself moving backwards and suddenly in the middle of a storm. Before, I’d think God was punishing me for sinning and for being bad. But after many storms, I’ve realised it helps me see God clearly. Sticky situations help me understand my limitations and God’s omnipotence.
They make me understand God’s love for me and his faithfulness as well as commitment to me. From this scripture, I know that fear and panic will only make me forget and lose hope. Which makes no sense when the God of hope is my God. So as God commanded the Israelites to “Get Moving!” while they panicked and concluded it was over because of their great enemy, I too, will get moving because God is about to do the impossible in front of my enemy. He is about to make a way where there is no way. He is about to crush my enemy before my very eyes for his glory. I will give him the glory and glorify his name with my life.
Thank you God.