Exodus 13-16; Psalms 15-16; Matthew 23

Week Number

The sea stretches before you. Can you feel the fear surging through your body as your muscles clench and your heart pounds? You’re trapped. Completely and utterly trapped. You feel the thud of the horses’ hoofs behind you. You hear the sound of the chariot wheels, the voices of your enemy, the uproar of the chase—ever closer, ever nearer. You search frantically for a way of escape. But it's useless; you are doomed. You can’t go forward because deep and unyielding water blocks the way. You can’t go backward because behind you the sounds of your terrible fate quickly approach. You know there is no escape, no hope. But you call out from the depth of your being for the Lord to help.

And in the midst of this unbearable chaos and inevitable devastation you hear Moses say, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again” (Exod. 14:13). Stand still? Just watch? Your terrified mind can’t comprehend what he is saying as your frantic body calls for action.

God agrees. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!’” (Exod. 14:15). Move where? Move how? There is no place to escape and no means of escape, but God has heard the prayers, and it is time for action.

You probably know the rest of this beautiful story. God blocks the path of the Egyptians, opens the Red Sea, dries the sea bed with a mighty wind, and leads His people to safety.

Why did God do this? We are given at least two reasons. Exodus 14:18 says, “When I am finished with Pharaoh and his army, all Egypt will know that I am the Lord!” The Egyptians would know, as would anyone else reading or hearing this story, that the Lord was not merely one of many gods acknowledged by the Egyptians but the one true God. The only God. The God of incredible power.

That same display of power was also to draw the Israelites, and other believers, into a trusting relationship with God. God wanted His people to understand His awesomeness, to put their faith in Him, and to believe without hesitation that He would care for them.

As we read through Scripture, it is evident that God, as our Creator, knew how often we would face times that frighten us, worry us, upset us, and turn our world upside down. He understood our frailty. He knew that each new problem could cause us concern and threaten to shake our trust in Him. How do we know this? Because almost every week we read the words, “Don’t be afraid” and “Trust in God.” Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the words are repeated over and over; the reminder is given.

Likewise, story after story backs up why we can, and should, trust in God’s plan for our lives whether or not we are facing our own Red Sea with no way of escape. God knew these historical accounts are important to building our faith, and He directed the Israelites to set aside special days each year to remember, discuss with their children, and celebrate what He had done.

Why does God tell us to remember, to explain, and even to celebrate what He has done? Because remembering what God has done in the past for us can remove the worry and concern from today’s issues. It brings assurance, builds thankfulness, and honors God. Remembering increases our faith and trust and helps us to say with the Israelites, “Who else among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is glorious in holiness like you—so awesome in splendor, performing such wonders?” (Exod. 15:11).

Who else, indeed! It is good to remember.

© 2010 Arlina Yates

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