Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!”
So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.
The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians-all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops-pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen-the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
There are times in life where you might think that things are looking up, that you are in the clear, that the trial has passed. Occasionally, it is right at that moment that the table turns again, and you find yourself thrown right back into the midst of a trial.
This must have been the feeling that the Israelites had as they looked back toward Egypt and saw Pharaoh’s entire army coming at them in hot pursuit! Moses was probably at his wits end as the people challenged his leadership and yet again doubted God’s ability to bring them through their circumstances.
Life has the tendency to bring the unexpected our way.
Many times, those unexpected occurrences lead to unpleasant circumstances. The doctor informs you of bad news from the latest test results. You find out the company is downsizing. Your child’s school shares some bad news. A relative calls and what they have to say sends you into a tailspin.
Life’s great challenges have a way of bringing us to crisis in our faith as well.
The Israelites’ initial reaction was to doubt the promise of God.
In light of their reaction, I love Moses’ response: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Regardless of where you are in life right now, or where you find yourself in the future, don’t forget that God is on your side.
Finally, when God delivers the Israelites yet again, we see the people finally put their trust in God and in Moses as their leader.
Though we cannot always know the cause or reason for a trial, God can use that circumstance to deepen your trust in Him.
When that next crisis of faith comes along, or if you are in one today, choose to run toward God, not away from Him.
God never wastes suffering or trials. God knew that Israel would need a deepened faith in Him to face what was coming their way in the future.
God can use what you are going through today to strengthen you for future circumstances.
The Big Question
What is your initial reaction when a trial comes your way?
Do you run to God or pull away from Him?
How can you make sure to draw toward God in times of trouble?