Monday in the Second Week of Lent

Exodus 14:10-15:21

Egyptians Will Not Go Away Without a Fight

This is it.  This is the event in Israelite history that made the Israelites the Israelites: The crossing of the Red Sea.  This was the final act in the long drama with Pharaoh and Egypt.  With this divine act of deliverance, the Israelites were finally rid of the oppressive Egyptians, for “the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.”

But, boy, were they scared.  The Egyptians, whom the Israelites thought they had left forever, were marching towards them.  In front of them lay the sea, around them treacherous terrain.  They were hemmed in on every side.  Pharaoh said to himself, “They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.”  In the epic movie, The Ten Commandments, I remember Pharaoh saying something to the effect about the Israelites’ God being a poor general.  But Scripture tells us that God led him to just this conclusion, so that, as we read yesterday, the LORD would “get glory over Pharaoh and all his host.”  But when the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army, they turned on Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness … For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

And in this cry of desperation, we see our own cowardice staring us right in the face.  As in this case, the enemy isn’t what we see ahead of us; it’s what is lying behind us.  Whenever you begin that turn away from Satan, you can bet Satan and his demonic hosts will be coming in full force.  His anger will be palpable, for he knows he is losing a soul, and his wrath will be great.  Temptation will become seemingly irresistible, old habits will come rushing to the forefront, whispers of inevitable defeat will ring in the ear.  Egypt will look good, not because we like it there, but because it is so much easier to comply than to resist.  The old taskmasters weren’t so bad; after all, sinning is easier than growing in holiness.  Sin is our natural slave-driver.

But if we will stay the course, then we shall see the victory of our God.  He shall drive away the slavers and deliver us into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For, “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Wait upon the Lord, and He will renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31).

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