2008-06-30 - Israelites: You Want Us to Go Where?
Through faith the Israelites gained their freedom. (Exodus 13-14, Hebrews 11:29)
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. Hebrews 11:29 (NIV)
The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians. They were forced laborers in the areas of brick-making, agriculture, and irrigation. Oppressed and mistreated by Egyptian rule, the Israelite people cried out to the Lord, and He answered in the form of a leader named Moses. Moses continuingly confronted Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites, but he stubbornly refused. When Pharaoh denied the Lord's people their independence, God sent destructive plagues. This did not change his mind, until the first males of Egyptian families were killed, including Pharaoh's own son. When the royal ruler finally allowed the Israelites freedom, once again Pharaoh changed his mind and had Egyptians chase after the Israelites.
The Israelites grew afraid. They blamed their plight on Moses, wishing they had stayed under the Egyptians' thumb, instead of leaving for a free life. Moses told them not to be afraid, and that God would deliver them that day. The Lord told Moses to put his staff over the Red Sea as the Egyptians continued to attack the Israelites. God drew a strong wind and turned the sea into dry land. The Israelites were able to walk across the sea and escape their Egyptian enemies. The Lord told Moses to then put his hand over the waters, and when he did, the sea returned back to normal, drowning Pharaoh's entire army. After witnessing this miracle first-hand, the Israelites trusted Moses and praised the Lord.
The Israelite men and women were faced with opposition, placed in new situations, and wanted to give up and return to what they knew. We can feel the same way when we are following after a God-inspired dream. It can be something different that shakes the very core of the world we've created. Once we make the decision to abandon the comforts and safety of the shore for uncharted waters, there God will be - cheering us on and directing us. "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." (Psalm 54:4) We have to take the first step, and continue taking the steps, in order for us to behold the future and plan God has for us. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
Lord, I want to complain, but I am determined to not let things get to me. I am going to strive to put all my energies into obeying You - and not my human tendency to get angry and impatient. I can't do this alone. Please graciously help me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.