The Greater the Obstacle, The Greater His Glory
A life that glorifies God has God–sized challenges.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea...
– Exodus 14:21–23
...Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea...
– Exodus 14:26–27
...And when Israel [the Hebrew people] saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses. Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said, “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him. The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name...
– Exodus 14:31–15:3
Finally, the Pharaoh released the Hebrew nation. And the people went out of Egypt. But the Pharaoh had a change of heart. With his army, he pursued the Hebrew people to the edge of the sea. So God divided the sea for the Hebrew people to cross on dry land. And when the Egyptians pursued them, God caused the sea to return, drowning the whole army.
– The HOPE, Chapter 6
Observe & Consider
As if peering through the lens of a camera, let’s look at today’s lesson from two perspectives. First we’ll look at the close–up view, and then we’ll zoom out for a wide-angle view.
From the close–up view you can almost feel the salt mist as the sea lies in front of you while the Egyptian army is closing in behind. You lived your whole life as a slave in Egypt. Then in an incredibly dramatic turn of events, the ruler of Egypt not only decides to let you go, but he sends you out with many valuable possessions. You’ve hardly left Egypt and thousands of people are crowding in on you and your family. Fear is on every face. Then, just when you think that all hope for freedom is gone, Moses lifts his staff and the sea in front of you parts! God has made a way where there was no way ...not only a way of escape for your people, but also a way to destroy the threat of the mighty Egyptian army.
Now let’s zoom out and re–examine this same event in a wider context. Recall that in the first lesson of this chapter, we considered a dream in which God gave Abraham an amazing preview of what was to come:
- Abraham’s descendants would be strangers in a land that is not their own.
- They would be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.
- Ultimately God would judge the nation in which they are enslaved.
- After God’s judgment, Abraham’s descendants would leave that nation with wealth.
- Abraham’s own life would end in peace at an old age.
With today’s story, everything God told Abraham had come to pass. Those who had listened to (and believed) the story of Abraham that had been handed down from generation to generation must have been looking forward to this day. They were no less surprised when God parted the sea, but they may have been a little less anxious, knowing that God had promised to deliver them and that everything else God had promised up to that point had come to pass.
Ask & Reflect
- Why do you think that God would allow the Hebrew people to be released from Egypt and then be pursued by the Egyptian army? (Hint – Read the Exodus 14:31–15:3 passage quoted at the beginning of this lesson.)
- God prepared a way for the Hebrew people when there did not appear to be a way. Has God ever prepared a way for you when you did not see a way? If so, explain. What was your response? Was it similar to that of the Hebrew people as cited in Exodus 14:31–15:3?
- If indeed there were Hebrew people who took heed of God’s very specific promise to Abraham, can you see how they might have been confident that God would save them from the Egyptians? Can you see how studying God’s promises for you in the Bible could give you more confidence in Him?
Decide & Do
The Bible chapters that detail this story (Exodus 14 and Exodus 15) are full of lessons for us. Set aside some time to read these chapters and to ponder what you’ve read.
In Exodus 14:14 we read, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Certainly there are times to fight or speak out, but for the Hebrew people this was not one of those times. God had designed this situation to make a statement. If the Hebrew people could have done something to save themselves (which they couldn’t), then people through the ages would say, those Hebrew people were really remarkable. But God designed a dilemma that only He could resolve and for which He alone could be praised.
If you want God to receive glory from your life, then be prepared for trials. He may very well allow an obstacle in your life that only He can overcome. In fact, the greater the obstacle, the more He is glorified when He overcomes the obstacle. And if He is calling you to be silent, then let Him fight for you. Like the Hebrew people you will discover that “The Lord is a warrior” (Exodus 15:3) who can make a way when there appears to be no way!
For Further Study
- Adrian Rogers, Promises of God. (Love Worth Finding Ministries, 2006). (http://www.lwf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=dis_PromisesOfGod). Retrieved October 17, 2006.