15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea
Hebrews 11:29 tells us that by faith the people passed through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. Exodus 14 paints the details, they had left Egypt free at last only to march for a few days and then suddenly stop in their journey. The Bible records their camp, before them is the great Red Sea, on either side of them is a mountain and behind them comes Pharaoh’s army pursuing and pinning them in. On the surface it seems they are hopelessly trapped and for all practical purposes there was no way out. So in the midst of chaos and confusion the people come to Moses and begin to cry out to him, and he goes and cries to God. I love God’s response to them; Stop crying and start moving. I wonder if the words of verse 15 are the heartbeat of what God needs to tell us today Stop CRYING Start GOING forward! To move forward means to advance and make progress. What God was saying is that they had been camped there long enough, it was time to pull up the tent pegs and continue on in the journey. God’s commandment to stop crying may seem a little harsh but this isn’t the first time they have been down this whinny road together. They cried out in Egypt and God brought them out as He brought Pharaoh to his knees. God does care when we cry out but when he has made a way out we must move not stop and resume our crying. Today we seem to be more interested in moaning than moving, we want to cry and carry on instead of follow His call. Why it is fundamental that we go forward:
When we are afraid it’s easy to stop and cry, the problem is it doesn’t get us anywhere, we become stationary in our walk. We stop walking by faith and start living in fear. Fear is a formula for failure, it makes us skeptical, selfish, stubborn and shortsighted. They had just seen God’s handiwork in a mighty way, they had witnessed the ten plagues, they had experienced the first Passover and they had just been released by Pharaoh after 400 years of bondage! One would think that they would have been filled with faith, however, they were crippled instead by fear.
When we fail to go forward we stop being moved by faith and start being motivated by feelings, we start murmuring and complaining. Fear replaced faith and then it was all about their feelings, they started complaining to Moses, blaming all of their problems on him. It is interesting how they don’t want to assume any of the responsibility themselves. The problem wasn’t with the Fathers plan it was with his followers’ progress.
Third, you are possessed with a backsliding spirit, they said to Moses, why don’t you just take us back to Egypt. They had just been brought out from under the whips of Pharaoh and within a few days they are standing there saying, we would be better off in Egypt. How quickly we as people forget, they were willing to trade their present difficulty for a permanent one. Why would we want to go back to Egypt, the world, sin, bondage, and slavery? Because, we have stopped going forward and our focus is no longer ahead, but behind. Stopping in the journey means starting to look back over your shoulder and if we stop going forward eventually we will start going backward. When the Israelites stopped moving forward they began to camp out. Some of us have been camped out in the place of hurt feelings for too long and it’s time to pull up stakes & GO FORWARD! Some have been camped out in the place of anger, depression, bitterness, laziness, indifference, comfort, complacency, self-satisfaction and it is time to pull up the stakes and GO FORWARD! Today God is ready to take you on a journey, out of that place of depression and into a place of joy, to move you from laziness and indifference to a place of service and power, from comfort and complacency to stretching you in your faith, from satisfaction with self to fill you with a hunger and thirst for Him. God didn’t bring them out to take them back, He didn’t bring them out to abandon them. God didn’t bring them out to camp there, this was not the land He had promised to them, there was so much more. Today God calls us out on a journey of Faith with Him in which we will encounter great obstacles all around us. Our tendency will be to cry and whine, to even want to go back but we must remember to move forward, there is nothing to go back to but slavery. Where are you camped out at today, is it time to stop crying and start moving forward in Faith?