Obstacles come in many shapes and sizes, and always seem to appear at the most inopportune times. It may be a traffic jam that delays you, an unexpected circumstance that causes frustration, or an interruption that keeps you from getting an important project finished. One thing, however, is certain: to accomplish your goals and fulfill your responsibilities, you must get past the obstacle!
Moses and the children of Israel faced just such an obstacle in Exodus 14. The Lord had delivered them from the tyranny of Egypt and they had begun their journey toward freedom. Pharaoh, however, had second thoughts about letting them go and was in angry pursuit. Israel found themselves trapped between two mountains. Pharaoh’s army was behind them and they were facing an insurmountable obstacle: the Red Sea loomed before them.
Moses’ instructions to the children of Israel in dealing with this obstacle are quite familiar. In verse 13 he admonishes them to exercise faith, saying “Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” His encouragement continues in verse 14 when he boldly promises that “the Lord shall fight for you.” Moses had great confidence in the Lord’s ability and desire to deliver them, and we usually commend the wisdom of Moses in advising the people to “stand still.” God’s instructions, however, were very different. Verse 15 says “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” God tells them to “go forward.” Sometimes the best approach is simply to confront the obstacle head on, trusting by faith that God will bring you through.
This is not an unusual concept. It seems absurd to think that Abraham would leave his home to begin a mysterious journey without any plan or expectation regarding his destination. It surely seemed strange to think that David, a small shepherd boy, could somehow conquer the insurmountable obstacle represented by the Philistine warrior, Goliath. How could Gideon, with only 300 men, ever hope to defeat the Midianites using only lamps, pitchers, and horns for weapons? Yet God demonstrated His sovereign wisdom and power in each of their lives as they were willing to trust Him. In each case, they made a choice to ignore the size of the obstacle, and focus instead on the presence, promise, and power of their God.
Sometimes it just makes sense to, by faith… go forward!