In Exodus 14, the vast army of Egypt (the greatest army of the world at that time) with Pharaoh’s 600 chariots is pressing in on Israel from behind. And the Red Sea lies in front of them. The Israelites are and afraid. So they lash out to Moses with cynicism: “I guess there weren’t enough graves in Egypt. That must be why you decided to to bring us out here to the wilderness to die.” (Exodus 14:11) They also have very short memories. Listen to what they said to Moses next. “Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:12)
Did you catch how the Israelites are now describing their time in Egypt? “Serving” the Egyptians? That sounds like waiting tables. They were in slavery – being beaten when they didn’t make enough bricks, even without the straw that they needed to make them. (Exodus 5) Israel’s joy or lack of joy, contentment or lack of contentment, is totally defined by their circumstances. And right now, they are in what look to be very dire circumstances, so they have no joy, no contentment, no faith – and it is all Moses’ fault.
They have no faith despite the amazing deliverance that they have just witnessed. God has delivered them out of Egyptian bondage through a series of 10 amazing miracles – the nile turned to blood, plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness covering the entire land, and even the deaths of all of Egypt’s firstborn (and the salvation of all of Israel’s firstborn). It’s doubtful that they have even stopped shaking from what they experienced the night of the Passover, and here they are facing another apparent roadblock with an incredible lack of faith in the God who just performed all those incredible miracles.
Meanwhile, notice Moses’ response. “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14) In other words, “Would you just hush and watch what God is going to do for you?”
Well, you know how this story ends. (Or if you don’t, I hope that you read the rest of Exodus 14 and found out.)
I have seen the Lord be gracious to me and deliver me from many things, yet often I fail to see His hand through eyes of faith when I am in a jam. Do you see God’s hand in the events of your life?