Are We So Different From the Children of Israel?

In Exodus, God has shown the children of Israel that not only He’s there with them, but that He is a Mighty God. Because of Pharaoh’s rebellion, He has steadily pummeled Egypt with unbelievably supernatural plagues. Here are a few: all water is turned into blood, their homes and land are obscenely overrun with frogs, locusts devour their crops, boils afflict them, and finally the death of their first born sons.
Throughout the ten supernatural plagues that ravage Egypt, the children of Israel go untouched. And though some of Pharaoh’s magicians duplicate the first few plagues, they cannot remove them or duplicate the rest.
If all of their water is turned to blood and the place is overrun by frogs, why on earth would the magicians cause more grief upon themselves by adding to the problem?  Hmmm. Just curious.
God steadily, plague by plague, wanted to show Pharaoh that he was a mere mortal, not the god that he believed he was. I can just imagine Pharaoh’s face as he watches the Red Sea, the very sea that allowed the Israelites to escape, swallow up his entire army, chariots, horses and all.
These supernatural occurrences happened right before the eyes of the Israelites. Because of God’s Mighty Hand they were freed from generations of slavery.
God promises to go before them and make them a great nation and He keeps His Word.
Now free, God leads them by day as a cloud that shades them from the scorching sun, and by night with a pillar of fire providing light and warmth.
But their faith immediately wavers at the first sign of distress when they realize Pharaoh’s army is after them.
“Where there not enough graves in Egypt that you had to bring us to the desert to die.” They sneer at Moses.
What on earth was wrong with those people? We ask. How could they still lack faith after all they witnessed?
The Israelites had been in Egypt 430 years and known nothing other than slavery. Their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents had all been slaves. Though the prior stories of the God of their founding fathers, the Mighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, had been passed down through generations, they knew nothing more than the oppressive hand of the pharaohs. The God of their fathers had remained silent all that time.
So, when the Israelites find themselves against the Red Sea with no way to escape the inevitable wrath of Pharaoh, they do what most of us do in the throes of danger. They panic thinking, ‘What are we going to do? We are no match for Pharaoh’s army.’
I think Moses had the toughest job on earth at that time. He had to play father and leader to 600,000 Israelites, and that only included the men. But Moses remains calm, he tells them,
“God will fight the Egyptians for you,” and the epic story of God parting the Red Sea is born.
We read these Bible stories and it’s easy for us to criticize the Israelites for their lack of faith amidst God’s presence and the fantastic miracles he performed before their eyes.
But the thing is, we know the end of the story; they were in the midst of it.
If we had been part of the Israelite crowd, would we have really been any different?  Would we have naturally assumed God would part the Red Sea and we would walk across on dry land, and then God would drown Pharaoh’s army? Probably not.
There is something about being in the heart of a crisis. The impending doom. The heartache-danger- hardships-illness-drama-chaos-trauma before us can seem as overwhelming as the Red Sea at our backs. How many times have we gone ahead with our strategies to fight what seems like the invincible enemy only to later in hindsight wish we waited on the Lord?
After an excruciatingly painful marriage, the chariots of unknown overwhelming debts roared towards me, a single mom, while I stood neck deep in the Red Sea of providing for my children with low-wage jobs and no child support. Like the Israelites, I panicked. All sanity, wisdom, faith and inner strength quickly parted for the storms of alarm and distress.
In the midst of a crisis’s we rarely foresee a victory. We only see the trees of chaos in the forest of doom before us.
We feel we cannot just sit around and wait for the hand of God to appear. That takes a great deal of bravery, strength, and faith most of us don’t possess. All we see is the giant of despair before us as we are backed up against a wall.
All truth about God wavers in the midst of the unknown because God does not always step in to take away our impending heartache-danger- hardships-illness-drama-chaos-trauma.
Sometimes we bob aimlessly in the Red Sea while the dust of Pharaoh’s army clouds around us. Sometimes, He has something He wants us to learn, and his battle plans are not anything like the outcome we expect.
We get mercilessly drenched and choke on dust, and we don’t like it one bit.
So when life comes full speed ahead at us we panic and worry. We don’t just sit around doing nothing. That would be irresponsible, unthinkable. We urgently plan our strategies because we want to keep our heads above water.
We rarely sit still and know He is God. We don’t want to wait for God to work because He has been known to take His sweet time.

Though we trust God, when the battles come we feel we are alone and that it’s up to us to save our hide.
Just as the Israelites, we fear the trials and their outcome more than we place our trust in God.
In my life experiences I have found that the times I strategize and leave God out of the meeting, are the times I end up deeply remorseful for the outcome.

During the tragic times in my life I cling to this verse, Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Dear Lord, Please help us to stay calm in the midst of the storm.  Help us to quietly wait upon your Mighty Hand.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2014 ©

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Filed under Awed by His Love and Grace, Inner Sruggles and Heartache, Life Lessons, Loss, Marriage and Relationships, Single Parent Struggles

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