The Ocean Before and the Army Behind

Exodus has always been one of my most favorite books of the Bible, especially when I was a kid. To me there was no other book in the Bible where God was more awe inspiring. The story is epic.
Little old stuttering Moses in front of the great and powerful Pharaoh.

Moses requests, “Let the people of God go.”

“Never!” Responds the stubborn, pig-headed King.

So God reaches down and starts shaking things up. Water to blood. Flies. Dead livestock. Boils. Hail. Frogs. Locusts. Darkness. One after another, calamity is heaped upon Egypt. Yet Pharaoh is still not ready to let them go. So God lays down his trump card. The angel of death sweeps over the land and steals every firstborn Egyptian for his own.

The cries of despair rip through the land, and Pharaoh’s voice mingles with them. He’s through with the Israelites and their God, “Leave us alone!” He exclaims, “Get out of here! Take everyone! Go!”

The Israelites leave Egypt as conquerors! Their neighbors weigh them down with silver and gold, they take food and animals. They leave victorious!

For weeks they witnessed the hand of God at work on their behalf. They saw the might of Lord fighting for them, in all sorts of ways. But at the first sign of trouble, at the first point where it seemed as if the tide was against them, they forget everything.

They forget the water to blood. The flies. The dead livestock. The boils. The hail. The frogs. The locusts. The darkness. The firstborn.

All they see is a raging ocean before them, and a furious army behind.

This is the point in the story where I think, “Stupid Israelites. God’s been on your side this whole time. How could you doubt Him now?”

And then, if I’m really honest with myself, I realize that I am no different than the shifting Israelites. How easy it is for me to forget God’s might. How quick am I to forget His mercies, His power, and every way that He has brought me.

I look at the sea before me, and the armies coming behind me, and I forget to look above and call on the name of my God. I forget that He has delivered me in ways that no one else is capable of. I simply forget. Why do I forget?

Then, for the time in 21 years, I took notice of this verse- Exodus 14:3-4

“Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”
God planned it. God wanted the Isrealites between the ocean and the army. He wanted them to see the power of His hand. He wanted the world to see how mighty He is. The parting of the Red Sea wasn’t just God responding to a situation. It was a conflict that He himself had orchestrated. It was the final act to one of the most epic stories told in the Bible.

So why do we doubt God’s power and His ability to deliver us, when it is He who began the good work in us? The moment you truly submit your life, your heart to God, is the moment that He begins to orchestrate a story that is impossible and that shows how desperate we must be for His power.

The point of our lives is to glorify God. So if you are standing before an immovable ocean, and if there are vicious armies coming behind, rejoice! Now is the time for God to do something impossible.

Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

by Christal George