As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 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? 12 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!’
13 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. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’
You can no doubt identify with this scenario. Like the Israelites, you are “marching out boldly” (8). You’re going well. Then, without warning, trouble looms, and you crumble before it. You see the Egyptians heading your way, and Pharaoh has his “best chariots” to boot (7).
God’s people spoke out of a mixture of fear, unbelief, sarcasm…yet also faith – they did pray, a desperate prayer, after all (10).
It was Moses – a ‘non-anxious presence’ in the face of the brewing storm – who brought the prophetic word they needed to hear (13,14).
‘This is a powerful message for any believer engaged in any type of struggle or conflict. Most of us react in one of two ways: either we complain and give up like the Israelites did, or we take things into our own hands and fight in our own strength. Both choices are equally wrong. We need simply to stand firm and have faith in God. Yes, action will sometimes be required on our part, but we must take action only under God’s direction.’ Tom Hale: ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.229.
PRAYER: Lord God, although I see storm clouds gathering, enable me, please, to trust in you, and to wait to hear your instructions.