CAUGHT! Between Death and Death
After a long and sensational ordeal of witnessing the wrestling match between God’s miraculous power and the stubborn heart of Pharaoh, the Israelite people have finally been led by God out their bondage of cruel slavery in Egypt. He chose Moses, an imperfect knucklehead, so that all would know Who had really delivered them. After several days of marching toward their long anticipated home in the Promised Land, the people follow God’s direction via Moses to settle their camp on the bank of the Red Sea. Just as they are settling in, they realize that the whole Egyptian army is hot on their trail, led by an infuriated king who has decided he is not ready to let his vast supply of slave labor slip away so easily. The Israelites are understandably very upset, anxious, and afraid. And they turn on Moses, blaming him for leading them to their seemingly unavoidable and rapidly approaching doom. To attempt to swim across the Red Sea would have meant certain death. And to stand and face the terrible army of Egypt would have meant death, just as certainly.
Picking up the story right here, check out Exodus 14:13-15 (New Living Translation)…
But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!”
I LOVE the paradox reflected in these three verses! And I find this message is at the heart of recovery from my old life of self-reliance and self-indulgence, as I desire to grow in the freedom of walking in God’s will.
My flesh is so given to worrying. Fearful fretting and hand-wringing WILL NEVER HELP! Focusing on the problem – or worse yet, on the fears of how much worse it could get – will only make my situation seem that much more bleak and terrifying. And I will only get sicker. I must focus on the solution – the loving hand of God, and doing my best to grasp His hand by surrendering to His will. Trust God and calm down. That WILL ALWAYS HELP!
At the same time, my flesh is so given to sitting on my backside, whimpering to God to somehow make my problems go away without me having to do anything challenging or painful. And so often, His response to me is to ask me what I expect HIM to do for me, when He has already told me what I need to do, at least in part. I am reminded of the clever and insightful poem, “Buttprints in the Sand.”
Like the nation of Israel, I so often find myself caught between death and death. The death of flesh-driven self-destruction on one hand, and the death of flesh-sacrificing surrender on the other. And when I am willing to receive God’s grace, deny the impulses of my flesh, and surrender to God’s will in the moment, it sill amazes me to see the way He parts Red Seas in my life still today.
- This post brought to you by the impact of feeding daily on God’s Word for a continual month, assisted by the One Year Bible reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app for the iPhone.