I would like to share some thoughts from a verse that was brought to my remembrance recently and has been on my heart for a while now. It is related to the children of Israel and there journey out of Egypt and toward the promised land. When they headed out of Egypt – and led by the Lord we should note – they were led to camp out by the Red Sea. Exodus 14:3 sheds some light on why Pharaoh went out after them to bring them back even after he had let them go in the first place …
“Pharaoh will think, The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.” [NIV]
“For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.” [NASB]
Pharaoh concluded that they were wandering aimlessly and in confusion and hemmed in. And to the natural eye it sure looked that way. It was his time to pounce and attack because for all practical purposes they were trapped with no way out. Now the issue with the Israelites was that when the Egyptian army came they perceived the situation through the same lens that pharaoh had seen it. They felt like they were trapped … hemmed in with no viable options. In their hearts they had trusted and followed the Lord and what good had it done, they were going to meet their demise out in the desert at the hand of this army. They said, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?”
Aren’t you glad that is just a story about some other people way back when and not us? But you know, many of us have felt that way at some time or another. Maybe it’s not a literal sea and a literal army, but we have felt like we are trusting the Lord, following His leading and we come to a place we wonder how are we going to get through. What’s going on? What’s next? This shouldn’t be what our journey of grace in the Spirit through the finished work of Jesus is supposed to look like … is it?
We can fall into that trap of beginning to question ourselves … Did we make the right decisions? … Did we make a wrong turn somewhere? … Did we upset or disappoint the Lord somehow? … Has He left us? These is fact are all the wrong questions! You see, these questions focus on us – and the journey of grace is to be focused on Jesus! Remember, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith” (Hebrew 12:2). Grace provides ways and means that we can not even imagine. That is what the Lord did with Israel, He showed a way they did not even consider as an option. Grace is not limited by the narrow view of the carnal mind – thank God! I would hate to think He was limited to only my great ideas and ingenious plans (which are really never great or ingenious).
The word came to Israel, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today.” He didn’t ask them to turn and fight the enemy, He didn’t ask them to get busy and build a boat and He didn’t ask them how long they thought they could hold their breath underwater. No, He said, “stand still and see! Trust Me!” Moses stretched out his staff over the sea and the Lord swept back the sea by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry ground. They would walk across on dry ground! I wouldn’t even be upset if I got my feet muddy heading through, but God goes above and beyond. Wow, I bet they didn’t think passing through the sea was even an option to be considered. They could have just rested all night while God opened a new way and awakened them at dawn unto His answer for them. I’m not really sure if they rested or not, but we see that the Lord took the perceived obstacle before them and used it to swallow up the pursuing problem behind them. It was not anything they did to create, make or sustain their salvation – it was all God, that’s grace!
Even in our walk of faith in grace we can hit those moments when we don’t see the “how” – but it’s not about how … but “who!” It’s a person that is our salvation and deliverance – Jesus! We need to remember we are not hemmed in or wandering aimlessly! We are totally secure in Christ! We have the life and power of the Spirit within that is far greater than the restrictions and limitations we may think we perceive around us. May we allow our hearts to rest … to stand still … and see the salvation of our God. He has ways and means we have not even come to imagine yet! The walking out of grace is not about developing our own great ability, but learning to trust the Lord’s ability and His great love for us.
So if we are facing some challenge or perceived obstacle, may we remember – we are not hemmed in, we are just passing through on this journey of faith and grace. God has got something up His sleeve He wants to show off – it’s His strong right arm! (Psalm 118:16)
Love in Jesus,