There is no incident in the life of Moses which I consider more epochal than this one; the encounter with the Red Sea. Here was a man who was faced with a great dilemma. He was on his way from Egypt to Canaan. He had received instructions from God to take the journey and he was following orders. He had been chosen to lead a group of oppressed and downtrodden people to the Promised Land. The journey had been successful to this point. Two great pillars had formed in the sky to lead them: a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was a wilderness journey.
It was a wilderness journey because God led them not by way of the land of the Philistines, which geographically would have been closer to the Promised Land, but rather, God led them through the wilderness of the Red Sea, the longest and most difficult route. This seems to suggest that when God gets ready to build the strength of a people, He uses His own strategy. He does not do what we think He might have done or should have done, He does what is best. No man can tell God what to do or how to do. He led them through the way of the wilderness and the Red Sea and crossing it gave Israel a history as long as the ages. This one incident stamped eternity upon the people of God.
Well, it has been said, and I believe, that the easy way out in life is never ultimately profitable - even though it may appear to be. The short and easy way only leads to a fools' haven; a place where we feel we have arrived only to discover we have missed the mark in life. We cannot understand or face life until we have walked the rough and rugged paths; when we have tasted the bitter cup of oppression and persecution. We cannot understand life until we have been confronted by trials and tribulations, heartbreaks and desperation. We can never grasp what life is really about until we have walked through the wilderness and crossed the high waters of troubles. Great nations and great individuals have been burned out of struggle and bloodshed.
God led His people through the wilderness - not to punish them, not to get even with them for their disobedience, but to equip them to handle the difficulties that were ahead of them. God is like that. Sometimes He will lead us through the wilderness to prepare us for some obstacle that lies ahead. He prepares us for victory over major trials. And I kind of like the way God does business because every now and then in my personal history, major events come my way and when these especially difficult challenges come, I want to be able to stand.
God never leads an individual around opposition but through it - straight through. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we find God leading His children through and not around opposition. When these Hebrew children looked to the east, they saw the Red Sea; when they looked to the west and south, they saw huge mountains, and to the north of them was Pharaoh's army in host pursuit. You remember the story. God told Moses to tell the Israelites to "Go Forward" and He provided a way for them through the Red Sea. God never leads us into a wilderness and leaves us. If He takes us in, He will bring us out if we trust Him.
God never tells an individual to quit. He has one command, Go Forward. It is the only means of getting ahead. Canaan is always out in front of us. It is more that a place, it is God's destiny for men.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available in July.
You are welcome to visit AMEN Ministries: Your Soul's Service Station for spiritual refreshing, soul edification or to browse our newly expanded mini shopping mall.
Blessings to all!
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