November 18th 2017 – Exodus 14:10-12

When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 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 14:10-12

The children of Israel did not, however, appreciate the divine strategy, or see that they were the 'bait' in God's hands by which He was to lure Pharaoh to his final destruction. All they were conscious of was the apparent danger that confronted them. And they panicked. They cried out in bitter complaint against Moses and against the Lord, all faith gone, and hearts well-nigh paralysed by fear and craven cowardice. From the human point of view, it could be said that they had good cause to panic, for were they not hemmed in on all sides with no hope of escape from their former overlords? Yes, but - crisis reveals character, and they were shown up as having been little impressed after all by the previous demonstrations of power by the hand of God. Should they have been so devastated by terror after the miracles of the plagues and the Passover? Paul says, 'Experience worketh hope' (Romans 5:4). Should it not have done so for them? There is an interesting and significant commentary on this kind of issue in Psalm 3 where, in the contrast between the opening verses and those that follow, the emotional pressures that threaten to engulf the Psalmist are displaced by the rational appraisal of the facts of the situation from the divine point of view - that is, he sought rationally to recognise the spiritual position in which he stood and to allow these spiritual facts to lay hold of him and control him and his thinking, and lead him into the victory of God. If Israel had done this, and argued from the reality of God's mighty power manifested on their behalf in the Passover, they would have concluded that it was irrational for them to doubt Him now, in a situation which after all was no more impossible than their previous oppression and captivity had been. In times of stress and emergency, what we need supremely to do is to think rationally, and apply spiritual logic to our circumstances. That is the way to confidence and peace.