If you have served any time on earth, if there is any span of time that you’ve been a part of between the cradle and the grave, you know that life slings its arrows of outrageous fortune. You know that every now and then you will find yourself without intention between a rock and a hard place, between the devil and the deep blue sea. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? That is a good question. Especially when you feel as if you have done all you can for God, and it seems He has moved away without leaving a forwarding address.
In this the 14th chapter of Exodus, we are dealing with a group of recently emancipated slaves. They have for a number of years, made brick without straw. For a number of years they have been a part of the construction of cities in which they were not even privileged to be citizens. They have served and not been served, and they have served almost without any kind of payment. But now, God has declared an Emancipation Proclamation, though it has been signed with the blood of the firstborn of those who have been oppressors.
These people, the released ones, are the people of God, and they march now from the land of oppression toward that place that God has set up and whose foundation He has laid. They march toward the Promised Land; this motley group, this throng of nomads making their way out of Egypt being led by that stammering, tongue-tied sheep herder named Moses. Things are going well for these recently emancipated slaves, and then, all of a sudden, they reach this body of water called the Red Sea. They look at it. They stare at it. They check it out in whatever way they can and discover that there are some serious impossibility that are accompanying their presence at this body of water. They recognize that it’s too deep to wade in; historical accounts would suggest the sea is some 5,000 feet deep; they do not have the strength to swim, and neither do they have the abilities within their ranks to pull together a Corps of Engineers that can build a sea-going vessel or a bridge across. They are in a word, repressed. The Rea Sea is in front of them with mountains on both sides; they hear the rushing steeds and the roaring of chariot wheels of Pharaoh and his army; their swords glistening in the Mid-eastern sun. It is during this time the children of Israel realize they are at a dead end, and they are blaming Moses for getting them there. Following God requires a walk and leap of faith. When problems occur, God doesn’t isolate us from the problem, but insulates us in our problems to make certain we know He is always there with us. Dead-end situations require us to realize God’s will never take us where His grace can’t keep us. There is a quote many of us memorize, but few of us believe: “If God takes us to it, He takes us through it.” As the complaints of the people continued they kept praying to God for deliverance but kept complaining to the leader, Moses. Somehow they developed amnesia by blaming Moses, forgetting it was God who told him to return to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let Israel go. Moses wouldn’t be disobedient to God for the sake of pleasing others, so he tells them, “Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of God.” (Exodus 14:13) God has to power to do anything; especially making a sea a highway allowing people to walk on dry ground in wet places. The angel of the Lord who was leading Israel moved to the rear of them allowing darkness to appear to their pursuers. If we have the faith, God has the power to reverse any situation besetting us.
Moses stretched out his hand using the rod God gave Him years previously allowing the Red Sea to experience a strong east wind and work a “split shift,” and the Israelites crossed over to the other side. The story goes on to say that, when they all crossed over, Moses stretched forward his hand again, the Red Sea returning to its rightful place in oceanography fashion, clogging the chariot wheels of Pharaoh and his crew whereas they ultimately drowned. Following God is never a dead-end, but in the event we don’t see how things will turn out, He just makes an unexplainable way out of no way.