"By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned." (Heb. 11:29 NIV)
The story again takes us back to the book of Exodus. Israel has fled Egypt, but now, just a short distance into their journey, they find themselves in a really tight spot. The sea lies before them and Egypt's entire army lies behind them. In desperation the people cry out to Moses: "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" (Ex 14:11-12 NIV)
As is his habit, Moses turns to God, and following God's directions, he: ". . . Stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left." (Ex 14:21-22 NIV)
The Egyptian army saw the entire thing. They probably thought, "If Israel can walk across on dry ground, then we can to!" And they set off after God's people. But what happened to them? ". . . All Pharaoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, 'Let's get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.' Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.' Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea." (Ex 14:23-28 NIV)
In short, Israel was following the will of God. They had His favor. He was fighting for them, and they succeeded in miraculously crossing the Red Sea. Egypt was going against God's will. They did not have His favor. God fought against them, and they drowned.
So where does faith come in?
Faith says that when we follow God's will 100%, no matter how ridiculous that may seem, we are under the protection of the Master of the Universe and our steps are guided by His hand. Faith also says that when someone else is following God's will, we need to support them, not hinder them.
But what if the person claiming to follow God's will is doing something ridiculous? Maybe your daughter says God is calling her as a missionary to Uganda; you know it will be her death sentence. Perhaps your baby boy is ill, and God has told you that it is his time to leave the Earth; but you can't let go. Maybe your husband claims God told him to give all of your life savings to a mission in Israel. It will mean losing your house, it will mean no new car next year, and it will mean that you have to go back to work full-time.
Friends, when things arise that seem contrary to the way God usually guides us, it IS important to verify that its really God's will. But if the answer is "yes", then no matter how personally it will touch our lives, our job is to encourage, not to oppose. Remember, just like the entire army of Egypt drowned in the Red Sea, those who oppose God's will put themselves in dangerous situations. They may just find themselves in the middle of a "Red Sea", with "waves" crashing down on them from all sides!
Enough to ponder, friends. But do ponder this: When God makes known His will in the lives of those around us, it is our place to have faith that God knows best, no matter how ridiculous the request may seem. Faith requires us to support and encourage them, to commit them into God's hands, and to believe that God, in His wisdom, will make "everything beautiful, in His time" (Eccl. 3:11)!
Join us next week for the next lesson in Faith to be learned from the children of Israel!
God bless you!
Lyn Chaffart, Author, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets website, www.scripturalnuggets.org , Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .