One of the great dramatic moments in the Bible occurs after the Israelites have left Egypt. Here they are, standing at the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army and horsemen marching right behind them. The Bible tells us in Exodus 14:10 that the sons of Israel became very frightened when they saw their former captors approaching, and cried out to the LORD. Many of the Israelites were in despair, and complained to Moses: “…it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
When Moses heard the desperate cries of his people, he said to them “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Those words seem powerful, and very encouraging. Yet, at this point, the LORD corrected Moses: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.’” (Exodus 14:15-16)
God’s response to Moses seems a bit shocking. Was He saying that prayer was a bad idea? Or that Moses said the wrong thing? Not at all! The fact was that at this point, after all the prayer and encouragement, it was time to take action and go forward. Had Israel not taken any action, they would have been taken captive by their oppressors. Moses, on his part, already had the authority in his hand (the staff) to move the Israelites forward in the direction they needed to go in order to fulfill God’s will.
In our own lives, we all have “Red Sea” experiences. In other words, there are times where we come to an impasse, in which we must take action or suffer the consequences. For example, suppose you have wronged someone else. The right thing to do at this moment would be to take action, and ask forgiveness. You could pray for direction, but it is already abundantly clear from the Bible which action you need to take. You could complain about the other person or the situation, but, as was the case with the Israelites, complaining doesn’t accomplish anything. You could listen to an encouraging sermon on the situation, but as the Bible says, “…faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (James 2:17) And, as was the case with the Israelites, taking no action would lead to being in bondage.
So, don’t linger by the Red Sea. Take action, and go forward!
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