What happens when you're on the right side of Egypt and the wrong side of the Red Sea with the enemy in hot pursuit?
Yep, you guessed it. I'm reading in Exodus now. Before you judge me, you should know that my "Reading through the Bible" plan has me skipping around, so no, it didn't take me an entire month to read Genesis. 😜
To set the scene for today's post, picture Moses. He's just led the children of Israel out of Egypt after 400 years of slavery. God had miraculously performed 10 plagues to bring Egypt to its knees and the Israelites to their freedom. He had heard their cries and come to deliver. The Israelites plundered the Egyptians on their way out the door, so they were a newly freed people with a whole ton of LOOT on their way to a land of their own.
That had to feel pretty good.
It was a short journey to the Promised Land, but God chose to direct His people on a slightly longer course, through the desert towards the Red Sea, to avoid Philistine territory lest the former slaves face too much opposition and return to Egypt in a fearful frenzy. They weren't ready for war.
Pharaoh regretted his decision to release his workforce and set out for them just as the community of Israel had reached the Red Sea. Trapped between the waters and the enclosing, recently plundered, newly firstborn-less Egyptian army, I imagine that Israel must have been terrified. God had seemingly delivered them in such a deliberate way only to let them be massacred in the wilderness not far from the land He had promised them. I speculate that they were disheartened, disillusioned and downright destroyed in their hearts. They began to cry out.
"Moses said to 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.'" Exodus 14:13-14
Sometimes deliverance from hardship and pain doesn't always equal immediate Promise Land placement. Sometimes God uses the testing of the tightness between the raging sea and the enclosing enemy to show Himself strong on our behalf. Sometimes He delivers us from our bondage and then lovingly leads us through the desert before we can reach our Promised Land... Whether the trip takes us 11 days or 40 years depends on our willingness to trust His process.
Moses told the people:
DO NOT BE AFRAID.
Basically, he told them to TRUST that the God who had led them out of Egypt was the same God who would protect them from the hands of their enemies and deliver on His promise to them, no matter how bleak and impossible the circumstances may seem.
Maybe single life was your Egypt, and now you're MARRIED and that means you're automatically in the Promised Land, right??!?! But, you look at your marriage with disappointment and wonder why no one told you how HARD it would be. Did you pick the wrong guy/girl? Was it the wrong timing?
Maybe you've been delivered from infertility, and you have that promised baby, but motherhood isn't as happy or easy as you thought and you're wondering, "God, where is my mommy glow?!"
Maybe you have just left an abusive relationship and the initial feelings of relief have subsided and now you're looking at a Red Sea of unknown as you navigate single motherhood, or extra bills, or loneliness or the crushing responsibility of being on your own and you say, "GOD! How could you deliver me from that and then leave me to die here on my own?"
Maybe you finished that degree and got that dream job and then you hit a bump in the road and you wonder if you're cut out for this line of work. Am I capable? Do I have what it takes?
Maybe you're still in school and the Lord has given dreams about this education, but the pressures of life and family are crushing down on you and you don't think you can balance it all.
God would say to you, Do not be afraid. Stand firm where I've placed you. Be still and know that I've got this.
In case you don't know the story, God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites walked across, unharmed, on dry land while the Egyptians were swept into the sea.
If God has delivered you from your "Egypt", He will see you through your desert to the Promise Land that He has for you. Trust Him. Trust the process. Take heart, friends. He's got this (and so do you).