Exodus 13:17-14:31. The reader might think that the culmination of the tenth plague would settle all issues for Moses. Our epic hero, God, has shown himself more powerful than all the gods of Egypt and the people have finally started the journey to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Sounds like a good start but the plot thickens. This fledgling “nation” reaches their first challenge, the Red Sea. It really doesn’t matter how deep the water was as some like to quibble. There is a block on the road to happiness. The wedding is over and it is not uncommon for there to be a major fight that first week of honeymoon as reality sets in. The operation is over and cancer removed by physical therapy begins and it hurts.
As the people reach the Red Sea, Pharaoh again reverses his decision and sends his army after the Israelites. There is an army bearing down on the people from one side and a “sea” to cross on the other. Sweaty palms. What will Moses do as this is a new type of challenge to his leadership and in-front of the “nation” God has entrusted him to lead? Leadership decisions need to be made and the people are close to mutiny. Families go through this often. Sunday morning and the kids aren’t so happy about going to church. Or perhaps it is a decision to move for a parent’s job but the kids are not so convinced leaving their friends and the familiar is the way to go. It is at these crisis moments that leaders have to reach within themselves and grow. Dictatorial mandates may calm the storm momentarily but it is probably fomenting under the surface.
All the formation that God has been investing in Moses now shows as Moses declares, “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. (Ex. 14:13.14)” Moses reaches within himself and realizes that the God who did the miracles of the plagues, probably has another miracle up his sleeve. We call that faith. Based on our past experience with God, we trust that what is to unfold is within his ability to handle. It is one thing to know about the Bible but it is another thing to put the principles into action – to refuse to cheat, to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to leave a job that requires unethical actions from you. Stepping out in faith, defines Moses as the leader. Standing in faith is a defining moment.
So where is the challenge facing you today? We might call it our “growing edge.” If we have no challenges then perhaps we need to rethink our priorities. I note Moses does not look to his abilities but he is encouraging people to look at how God is going to solve the problem. The answer is not what he might plan as we would never have imagined parting of the sea! Often the answer comes in unexpected ways but we know God is watching and is able. He is there with us in our challenge today and he has a better way forward than we can imagine. Are we looking to him?