“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left” (Exodus 14:21).
I’m a visual person. If you really want me to understand something, I’ve got to see it. For that reason, the action-based, dramatic parts of the Bible have always been ones that stick with me, one of them being Israel’s escape from Egypt.
I can only imagine what it would have been like to walk through a sea while an enemy pursued. If I saw that, I’d take about two seconds to respond, “You’re kidding, right? We’re about to walk through that?”
Moses just would reply, “That’s what God says.”
Israel had just witnessed the utter devastation God rained in Egypt, and when they saw Pharaoh chasing them, they were besides themselves with fear. Isn’t that so like us? When God leads us out of a time of tribulation, as soon as things get heated again, we panic. Sometimes what we’re afraid of gets close and makes us sweat. God didn’t stop the Egyptians in their tracks; He let them get close enough to Israel that the Israelites legitimately thought they were going to die in the wilderness. When Moses went to the Lord, He practically responded, “Didn’t I just tell you what the plan was? Why are you freaking out?”
This was Israel’s first real test of faith since the plagues of Egypt. Their enemy was behind them, and they could think of no way out before them, but God made a way, and He was glorified in the process.
Like I said, I’m a visual person, and the lesson that this passage of Scripture paints is a remarkable one. We like being comfortable, the lazy kind of comfort that keeps us from upsetting the status quo. That kind of comfortable isn’t always what’s best for us, though. God pushes us out of our comfort zone so that we can serve Him and grow. It’s in those times of discomfort that God brings us His comfort, the kind we need to get through. Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes we have to walk through the midst of the sea, with the waters at our sides and the enemy at our backs. Sometimes we get so distracted by our fears that we forget that the Lord has parted the water and made the path in front of us dry.