Stuck Between A Rock and A Hard Place. (Exodus 14)
Do you ever feel stuck between a rock and a hard place? I have! I've thought that I can't move forward because of what lies in front seems like the Red Sea, deep, wide and impossible. There are mountains and a desert to my left and right that look insurmountable too. Then I turn and look behind me, and I can see my Egyptian Army chasing me, getting closer, and fear takes hold of me... This Army may be disguised as my past mistakes, hurts, or the circumstances that I really don't want to go back into. But, right now, it seems like the best and most comfortable option. It's the option that I know... This is how the children of Israel would have felt! I have always thought how small-minded of them, but in reality, I would have felt the same. In fact, I often do feel the same when faced with my own situations... The Israelites didn't have the luxury of reading the end of the chapter like we do. (see Exodus 14).
Sometimes seeing Gods vision and seeing our reality is so hard when we are in the place where there seems to be no way out. God's vision needs to become our reality, but how is that possible?
As the people of Israel looked at the Red Sea in front of them; all they wanted to do was turn back in fear and stay in the past life that they knew. I can relate to that. I have frequently wanted to go back to my old ways of thinking, or my old circumstances however hard they are. It's easier in some ways because I know that. I remember when I first split up from my abusive ex-husband, I knew God had rescued me from that situation, but I was scared of my future. I was terrified of the unknown and sometimes thought that it was all too hard, and I thought 'maybe I should go back and put up with the hurt, the abuse and be bound again'.
Sometimes when we are in certain situations, looking forward is so scary. The children of Israel were no different, they could see this expanse of water before them and thought 'if we go forward we will drown and die'. Then Moses, with all good intentions, wanted to stay in the present: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:14). He wanted to wait until God just did something with the Army that was vastly approaching... I often wonder what he had in mind. I have felt like this too, God will show up and rescue me. And often what is required is to wait on God, but, in this instance, God had a better plan, He wanted them to move. He wanted to see faith in action and move forward into the future. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on'" (Exodus 14:15). Wait a minute... Move on???
There is only a deep-sea in front of them, it wasn't a puddle it's a big sea, and there was no bridge to go over it, no tunnel to go under it. God did step in, and He helped His people supernaturally by parting the sea, but first He expected Moses to act in faith. Moses had to lift up his rod and put his trust in God's plan, and God came through for them all... He parted the sea... What always makes me smile when I read this is the detail that 'they walked on DRY land'. He knew that if they walked across the wet sea bed, it would slow them up, they may slip and slide, and can you imagine the state of their feet and the bottom of their garments? (They didn't have washing machines on hand). Of course, it would have also taken them so much longer to cross as they waded through the mud. So, in His goodness, He dried that up too. Although, I can imagine it being very daunting, looking into the waves on either side, watching the wildlife looking confused at the mass of people walking through their territory.
Sometimes we want to turn back in fear. Other times we may just want to sit back and wait for God to act on our behalf. But sometimes God wants us to move forward. He will always be there to guide and provide, and He will give us the strength to keep going but first we must be willing to step out in faith. He will never let us down.
Going forward does not mean it will be a comfortable journey, we will probably face disappointments, opposition, and some setbacks here and there. But no matter what you face, God will see His plan for your life accomplished when you follow His leading.
When we cross over our Red Sea obstacle and look back, we will see that the fears and the things that kept us bound in the past are now just all problems on the other side of the sea. God has dealt with them all. We will be stronger, wiser, and we will have grown in faith. We will see that The Lord has come through for us.
I don't know about you, but I want to go forward, onto the other side of my Red Sea. So I stand in faith with my rod outstretched expecting my sea to part and I will expect an incredible miracle. What is God asking you to lift up in faith?
Pastor Xenia Schembri