This story is a bit maddening. God just liberated Israel from Egypt. He was literally leading them personally with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. He tells Moses that Pharaoh was going to make one more attempt to subdue Israel but that He has the situation well in hand. So how does Israel respond? Well, they start griping about being killed in the wilderness.
One needs to remember that God was working to transform His people from having a slave’s heart to having the heart of a free people. God knew that was a process and that each event on the journey helped to chip away at the slave inside them. This event was no different. By the end of this day, God knew that Israel would no longer have to fear or deal with Pharaoh or with Egypt. Still the Red Sea crossing would seal God’s credibility to the rest of the world–even if His people still struggled with doubt.
God moves us through our lives in a very similar way. He reveals his pan to us a piece at a time. Sadly, no matter how many times we see the Lord’s power and hand in our lives, we want to run back to our own fears and slave tactics whenever things become difficult. We berate the Israelites for doubting God when He made Himself so apparent to them. Yet, we have the Lord’s Spirit in our lives and His word to read and see His glory, but in tough times we still cave–just like Israel.
We must trust God and His leadership. As we do, we can count on attacks from the world and the enemy to disrupt, minimize, and even destroy our fellowship and ministry for God. But, even when we struggle, God remains faithful to complete His mission in our lives. Expect to become fearful from time to time, but, in those times cling to His amazing and perfect track record of faithfulness and protection.
God Bless You
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-Zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, 7 and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. 9 The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”