When they started their exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Israelites had no idea what they were going to encounter on their journey. In fact Moses didn’t know initially what he was going to encounter either when God said to Him at Horeb, “. . . I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7-10 NIV). They must just have assumed, “God called us; it is going to be smooth sailing.” Wrong! God called them, yes, but smooth sailing, No! He never promised them that. It is so easy for us to assume that, being called equals to smooth sailing. They soon discovered it was going to be one challenge after another.
The first challenge was that Pharaoh refused to let them go by saying, “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2 NIV). Eight chapters later, the Israelites left Egypt, but more trouble was awaiting them in the desert. One of such challenges was their experience at the Red Sea. They found themselves sandwiched between the Red Sea, in front of them, and the Egyptian army behind them. The dilemma was obvious; the Red Sea had stopped their progress, and the army behind them would attack if they couldn’t get out of their reach. The Egyptians were pressing in on them; they were nervous, they were terrified! They cried out to the Lord, and then they yelled at Moses! They said to him, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt . . . .It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert” (Exodus 14:11-12 NIV)!
Moses, their leader did what came to him naturally, he called on God. When we are in the will of God as Moses was, it is easy to know what to do when things go wrong in the process, pray. God answered Moses’ prayer! “Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground" (Exodus 14:15 NIV). Moses did exactly as God commanded and asked no questions. When we ask God for directions, we need to be ready to do exactly as He commands whether or not we understand it; whether or not we agree with Him. When God directs, He does not need our input or suggestions. He expects us to obey.
To the Israelites’ surprise, the sea parted and they were able to walk on dry ground to the other side. (What a blessing to have God fearing, prayerful, obedient leaders, both in the Church and elsewhere). We need to support our leaders with our prayers, so that they will be prayerful and obedient to God. If Moses had doubted God, and not followed His directions, the outcome could have been very different.
Are you at a Red Sea in your life? Are you unsure of what the next step should be? Then do what Moses did, pray, trust, and obey; do as God directs. God always (not sometimes) has a plan of good intentions to deliver us and to bring Him glory.
Also, let us remember that because God called or promised, does not mean the path will be easy. It will be more realistic to assume the road will be rough any time we are called to a task, than to think the other way around. Mary the mother of Jesus was called to carry and bear the Savior; what a blessing, and yet what a heartache. Abram (Abraham) was called to leave home, relocate, start a family, and be the father of many nations. What an honor, but also what trouble. As we embrace the honor of being called, let us also prayerfully embrace the uncertainties that go along with the call.