“And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”
With any imagination at all, we can appreciate the mounting tension of this historical moment. The Israelites had been delivered from their Egyptian bondage through the power of God. Having exited Egypt, they followed God’s leading to the Red Sea. By this time, Pharaoh’s army, including all the chariots of Egypt, was in pursuit. When the children of Israel saw the Egyptians marching after them, they were afraid and cried out to the Lord. It seemed hopeless. The powerful army of Egypt was closing in on them and they were facing the Red Sea. God’s message to Moses for Israel was simple and direct: “go forward.” Moses was to lift up his rod and stretch out his hand over the sea, and the children of Israel would go through the midst of the sea. What a great moment! What a test of their faith! What a demonstration of God’s might!
For us, what is the temptation when we are hemmed in by adverse circumstances? Is it not our inclination to quit, to run, or to question? Going forward is easier when there is no opposition. Going forward is reasonable when the pathway is clear. But going forward is a bit more challenging when there is no path to follow and the waters of the Red Sea are at our feet. The Israelites were contemplating the very opposite of advancing; they were considering how much better it might have been to be back in Egypt. God’s simple command was clear, “go forward.”
Can you glean anything from this great challenge? We all are going to face setbacks and disappointments. There will be times when things do not seem to be going our way. There may even be moments when going back seems more inviting than going forward. But God has never led us to retreat from our assignment or to run from difficulties. For Moses and the Israelites, going forward was a decision, as it is for us. We must choose to keep moving in the right direction.
Also, going forward for the people of God seemed like an impossibility at the moment. Humanly speaking, how could this work? For them, as well as for us, going forward is a step of faith. It was an exercise in trust and dependence on God. There will be times when our steps in the path of God’s will are taken because we are trusting Him alone to guide. But, going forward is truly the pathway to victory.