When I was reading through Exodus, I was so struck by the story of God’s people “stranded” at the edge of the Red Sea. These are the same people that had just witnessed God’s power on display in the form of the plagues. They had been miraculously rescued from a 400-year slavery in Egypt. They were being led by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day!
But suddenly, their faith is put to the test: they were squeezed between an impassable sea and a fast- approaching army of Egyptians. And they couldn't see any way out.
As a songwriter, I am always trying to put myself in the shoes of the people I'm writing about. How would I respond? How would I feel in that moment? The ground was probably shaking beneath them as the chariots thundered toward them. The sea before them was menacing and deep, and perhaps they felt the spray upon their faces as the waves pounded against the shore.
So, how would I respond? If I'm honest, I think I would respond in the same way that they did: with fear, wondering why we had ever left Egypt in the first place. In that moment of panic, God's people wanted to return to the “safety” of their captivity, sarcastically asking Moses, “were there no graves in Egypt?”
But Moses speaks a powerful promise over them: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord… the Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Then, despite their terrible lack of faith, the sea split wide open! God had made a way where there was no way, and they walked through on dry land. Their enemies were swallowed up by the sea, but they reached the other side safe and sound. And when they got there, they responded fittingly: with awe, with belief, with joyful songs of worship.
This crossing of the Red Sea is such a clear picture of what Jesus has done for us. Jesus has become our “living way” where there was no way (Heb 10:20). Like the Red Sea was split in two, His own body was torn, and the way into God's holy presence was opened wide! Our enemies - death, sin, Satan - are swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54) and one day they will be banished forever! We are still living in the wilderness, or the space between the "already" and the "not yet." But we live life with heaven, our Promised Land, in view. And like the Israelites, we respond to His way-making the only fitting way: with awe and worship and joy.
1. Do you live your life in response to Jesus's way-making on your behalf? Do you live in light of the certain death He has saved you from and the Promised Land He has saved you to?
2. Do you find yourself in a place today where you don't see the way through? How have you said in your heart, "Can't I go back to Egypt?" How can you trust God with this?