Most people are familiar with the story of how Moses led the people of Israel out of captivity (even if it's only based on some popular movie they have seen, complete with errors!) There is one part, however, that I have only heard explained once in my life; yet it was so powerful that I have never forgotten it.
Many years ago, a friend of mine, Joseph Britain, taught on the Exodus of the children of Israel. I will attempt to retell one small part.
The children of Israel, and there were hundreds of thousands of them, had left Egypt. They were headed away from their life of captivity and I'm sure thinking that finally life would start getting better. Instead of taking the shorter route, however, God directed them to take the long way. They were guided by a pillar of fire at night and a cloud to shade them by day. Talk about a visible sign that God was with them! Finally they camped out at Etham, at the edge of the wilderness, and one version says "The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people." I immediately thought of God's promise to never leave us nor forsake us. (Deut. 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrifiedbecause of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”)
Of course, you know the story. The Egyptians realized they had not only lost their labor force, but their wealth as well and Pharoah sent his army after them! When the Israelites realized they were being followed...well, read it in the Message translation:
Exodus 14: 10-14
10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them— Egyptians! Coming at them!
They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, "Weren't the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn't we tell you this would happen? Didn't we tell you, 'Leave us alone here in Egypt—we're better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'"
13 Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again.
14 God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!"
I love that part - "They were totally afraid." Ya think?!?! I mean, they do have an entire army coming at them! But Moses tells them, stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. (I also kind of like that whole, "And you? You keep your mouths shut!" If you can't speak words of faith - just shut your mouth and at least don't add words of doubt and fear!)
Then comes the part that I was telling you about.
Exodus 14: 15 - 21
God said to Moses: "Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.
17-18 "Meanwhile I'll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I'll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God."
19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn't come near each other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.
Notice the direction and timing in verse 21. The wind came from the EAST!!! They were standing on the WEST bank. That means the Red Sea started to split from the other side - at NIGHT! They couldn't see what was happening until it was right up on them! The pillar of fire was standing between them and the approaching army so there was no light for them to see what was going on and how God was making a way where there seemed to be no way!
This has really been on my mind lately as I face some situations where I feel that God has led me in a direction and now I'm kind of "stuck". There seems to be a Red Sea in front of me blocking my way. (Thankfully, other the army behind me hasn't caused me to totally shake in my shoes since I can't really see them - God is blocking their way and my view from seeing them.) Still - I stare at that sea and wonder, "Now how am I supposed to cross that?" But in the darkest part of my "night", God is already at work, parting the sea from the other side. It may look like nothing is happening, but God is making a way to not only take me across ON DRY GROUND, but to show Himself mighty so that others may see HE IS GOD!
Now, in the words of another old friend Murphy Matheny, if that don't stir your soul, your spoon's done fell out your bowl!
That SEEMINGLY impossible situation you are facing, God is already at work making a way through the darkest night so that you may pass over into victory and promise. That enemy that has been biting at your heels; you will see no more forever! (I love that part of the promise!)
And our job? Shut our mouths and see the deliverance of the Lord. It's not the way I would have done things...but God has a way of doing things in such a way that shows HE IS GOD! We can take no credit for it. I don't know what your "impossible" situation looks like, but I do know that God is at work even when we do not see it. He is making a way where there seems to be no way. Don't give up and walk away before you see the miracle in front of you. It's coming....like that East wind blowing and parting an impossible sea.
It's funny, but as I get ready to post this I heard the words to an old Simon and Garfunkel song..."the nearer your destination, the more you're slip-sliding away." One more word of good news - God's miracle included being able to walk across on dry ground. You don't have to fear about slip-sliding as you step out in faith. (In case you wondered about the picture used in this blog - my friends and I faced our fears and took on the Warrior Dash...but we definitely DIDN'T go through on dry ground!)