Have you ever wondered how the women Israelites felt when they heard the thunder of their captors pursuing them and the roar of water before them? I can hear them scream in fear over the miracle of dry land to walk on ahead of them and tremble as they gazed at a wall of water and fish beside them.
It’s so much easier to look behind us and beside us then ahead of us some days, and maybe that’s how you’ve felt this 2020. The constant barrage of opinion beside you, and the fears of the past behind you can almost obliterate the glory of God in front of you.
I woke up last night and felt the Spirit saying to me, “Rise and see the salvation of your God.” I have been mulling the needs around me and the desires within me, and lost some of my sight of the God ahead of me. This morning I found the account in Exodus 14, when Moses had just led the people out of slavery and they were overtaken with fear.
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
God came to Moses in an unusual way and told Him He has not forgotten the suffering of His people, and that He was appointing him to lead them to freedom. Moses’s response is laughably familiar to us today.
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
“But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice!”
“Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
When all of those excuses didn’t work, Moses has a last resort.
“Oh my Lord, please send someone else!”
It’s not easy to go back to Egypt. It’s much easier to enjoy our personal freedom and keep fearing our past too much to go back to free others. We grapple with the call of God, and find every excuse possible to refrain from being truth-bearers and freedom warriors. It’s so much more comfortable to mull over our past and be distracted over our present distress than to look ahead and follow a God of miracles into the unknown.
What if we’re all called to be a little Moses in our lands of Egypt? We’ve all come from the captivity of our own sin and the sins of others, and we’ve all been placed by a divine hand into this year 2020 to lead fearful captives to freedom.
Are you still in an argumentative dialogue with God? Imagine if Moses would have stood there longer and questioned the goodness of God and the sovereign will of God instead of obeying the voice of God for 40 years. God is here with us this 2020, calling us this 2020, and I am afraid that many of us have turned to our cowering questions, insurmountable feelings and disappointments because the wall of water beside us and the yell of captors behind us is drowning out the presence of God before us.
I can almost hear the women Israelites as they cried out to each other over the rushing water. The sea signified something dark and terrifying to them, and Moses was asking them to walk through it in the night?
“They are closing in on us! Why did we ever leave? Did you see those fish? What if the water closes in before we cross! Watch your step, there are rocks everywhere! My children will die of this cold. Moses is a terrible leader.”
Our “Egyptians,” the captors of minds, ride behind; a taunting reminder of the captivity we are trying to break free from. Sometimes it feels easier just to just go back and serve the Egyptians. We stay locked in the pain and trauma of our past because its uncomfortable and difficult to walk away. The wall of water beside us and the yell of captors behind us is much easier to fix our gaze on than the cloud of fire before us. God has appointed us as women of faith this 2020, not to do the miracles but to obey the God of miracles. The sea ahead of us is impassable, deep and dark. The captives surround us with voices of fear and doubt.
“Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Moses guided thousands of captives to freedom that night because He was willing to stop looking at himself and start believing in God. The cloud of the presence of God lit their way all night. In the morning, they saw the dead bodies of their pursuers on the shores.
Sisters, we don’t need to do the miracles, just hold out our hand to our miracle working God. Maybe today you are a captive making choices for freedom but the taunting yells of the captors are behind you, begging you to return to the safety of what you knew instead of face a future you don’t know. Maybe you are endeavoring to lead others to freedom, memorizing their steps and focusing on the temporal map to freedom instead of the God of all freedom.
Moses didn’t part the waters or cook the mana. He just followed and obeyed a miracle working God.
God is the same this 2020. He sees the ones enslaved and calls us to lead a triumphant procession to freedom. We can stay groveling in our own insufficiency or step forward in His sufficiency. We can stay distracted by politics and the sins of others or fix our gaze on the Kingdom of heaven. We can chose to obey in small steps like lifting a staff, and see big steps like parting seas.
We can turn our eyes from vain distraction and focus on the God of freedom this 2020.
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and the rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation.”
After thousands of captives had crossed the sea that night it was a glorious morning of victory. Miriam the prophetess took a tambourine and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing while Miriam sang, “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and the rider He has thrown into the sea.”
Can we join Miriam in praise and dance this 2020? There will always be another excuse or hurt to keep us captive to self and leading others to captivity. There is always another red sea in front of us. Our obedience to the call to worship leads in a triumphal procession to victory. The ones in captivity still follow voices of praise and freedom today. His kingdom is coming to earth through the voices of women of faith defying the horse and rider behind them and the distractions around them to worship the God ahead of them.
Grab your tambourine and join in this triumphal procession!
“Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” Exodus 15:21