Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” NIV
I love this story. This is just before Moses parts the Red Sea with God’s help. The Israelites are about to walk through on dry ground. It is a miracle of epic proportions.
Because I know the whole story — I’ve read it countless times, and it was very popular in Sunday School when I was a little kid — it is very easy for me to become frustrated with the Israelites. In the verses just before this one, they actually tell Moses that they would have been better off to have stayed in Egypt as slaves than to be out here in the desert where they are certain that they will die.
When I’ve read these verses in the past, I’ve had very little patience for their attitude of disbelief in the miracle that was about to occur.
But, here’s the thing. They didn’t know the miracle was coming.
They became frustrated and worried and frightened over their view of their present circumstances. They did not have God’s perspective, nor did they have mine, where I’m reading the story, but, I already know how things are going to turn out.
For the Israelites, their situation was unfolding moment by moment, and the only thing they had to compare their current circumstances with was their past. The people had been slaves in Egypt for something like 400 years, I think. They had no other viewpoint than one of bondage. And, even though they were now free, they were ready to trade that freedom for the safety of the known bondage, instead of considering that a miraculous provision was about to be made for them.
I think that there is a lot here to learn.
On our own, we can only look back. God is not bound by time or by physics or by any of the other things that I am bound here on earth. God can do whatever He pleases to achieve His purposes. God will fight the battles, I need only to be still, and to trust, and to know that He is God.