Being led by the Lord implies that we are moving. Although it’s important to know how to wait on the Lord and to be still, sometimes we need to move to understand His will for us. And sometimes we need to show that we trust Him, and not just say it. The Israelites were faced with just this sort of situation right after leaving Egypt…
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:10-15 ESV)
Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place! The Israelites had Pharaoh’s elite forces behind them, and the open sea before them. As a rag-tag group on foot, their situation seemed helpless. In what would become classic behavior, the Israelites resorted to complaining and blaming others. All of a sudden slavery in Egypt didn’t seem so bad, and just who did Moses think he was to bring them into this situation? Obviously, this was all his fault!
We can look at the Israelites with such clear hindsight today, and yet it is so easy for us to do exactly the same thing. When faced with our own open sea, some new challenge, we comfortably slip into despair and blame. Life was so much better before this, so somebody must be to blame now that the road ahead looks so scary.
What’s even more surprising about the Israelite’s reaction is that they had just been delivered from Egypt in spectacular fashion, and had been constantly accompanied by the Lord in a tangible, powerful manner: pillars of fire and cloud. It seems obvious they should have known better. And we should know better, too. How easy it is to praise God for past victories and affirm a daily walk with Him one moment, yet the next moment shrink back from stepping forward again.
Moses had confidence in the Lord, but even he missed the need to keep going. Faced with a whining mob, he stood firm and declared the Lord’s deliverance. They need only watch… Yet the Lord wouldn’t let them sit still; He told them to get going! Yes, they were facing an impassable obstacle, but He knew what lay ahead and that the only way to experience His deliverance was to walk into it.
And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. (Exodus 14:22 ESV)
Graciously, God repeatedly brings His children to such places as we walk with Him. For through such experiences we learn to really see and trust Him, to grow closer to Him, and to become more like His Son every day.
The sea is before you; seek the Lord, then start walking and behold His power.