Does Your Faith Match Your Circumstances or Your God?
One question that constantly falls out of my mouth as a mom is, "What were you thinking? What made you think that was a good idea?" Ok, it's two questions! It's two questions I have for my 3 and 5 year old boys in response to the consequences of them swinging on the curtains and all the hardware being ripped from the walls. It's my response when they decide to slap each other upside the head with sticks and discover that it causes pain. I feel that living in a house full of boys (me being the only girl), that this a question that will not calm in frequency as they get older.
Even while reading my Bible, I still can't help but ask that question, "What made you think that was a good idea?" I mean, who else would even look at a giant and their own inexperienced and small selves and think, "Hey, I could take 'em!" Who else, when facing a mature, battle-experienced giant would think to slay the giant using only a few stones in hand? Who else would think to slay an army using only the jawbone of a donkey? Who else would think walking on water was a possibility? Who else would think a couple loaves of bread and some fish could multiply and feed THOUSANDS of people? Who else would think of parting the sea using only a stick?
These are not typical ideas! These are not usual solutions to BIG problems! It's not usual for people to look at an impossible situation with impossible ideas and get a POSSIBLE solution.
Moses baffles me. He starts his journey with a timidly famous, "Send someone else!" He saw himself as unworthy and unable to accomplish God's big calling on his life. God's calling alone was an impossibility in Moses' eyes. God equips Moses, partners him with his brother Aaron, and together Moses and Aaron face Pharaoh and ask the seemingly absurd. They asked Pharaoh to simply let his slaves go. They asked the impossible!
Through a series of "no" answers from Pharaoh and a bunch of plagues, Pharaoh eventually relents and allows the entire nation of Israel go. Pharaoh wises up (by worldly standards), considers his millions of people at his disposal (millions of people that served as free labor) and makes the decision to pursue this nation and bring them back.
What you end up with is a really intense moment. The nation of Israel sees the Egyptians pursuing them and they fear they will be killed. Their fearful words reach their leader and here is Moses' response:
Wait... what? Are you as flabbergasted as I am?! Our fearful leader suddenly becomes fearless! This same man who was too afraid to walk in God's calling suddenly speaks up in great faith. He sees the impossibility of their situation and SEES the POSSIBLE! He knew God could turn the impossible into the possible! He also trusted that God would be their salvation. He looked to the source of all possibilities!
I'd be willing to bet that the same plagues that were used to persuade Pharaoh to let God's people go, were also used to expand the faith of the Israelites (and Moses). When God is big enough to do exactly as He says when He's big enough to do the impossible, then how can one be afraid of what they see around them?
I love these verses... "Fear not, stand firm, and SEE the salvation of the Lord....." Faith allowed Moses to see the impossible made possible. He saw the situation, but he SAW that God was working for their salvation. He saw that God was completely trustworthy and had not abandoned them.
He followed God's instructions without argument and used his staff to split the sea so that the whole nation of Israel could walk through on dry land. Without argument, with complete faith. Another amazing and challenging change, don't you think?
Unexpected Faith: What We Learn
In the midst of chaos, what voice are we listening to? Moses could have been completely overwhelmed by the cries and fears of the Israelites, but instead, He focused on God. He kept His eyes and ears on God. As a result, he was able to hear and apply the instruction that God had given him.
If God is for us, who can be against us? One easily overlooked part of this whole intense story (found in Exodus 13:17-14:31) is how when things became really frightening, God worked for the good of His people. He fought for them. Did you notice Exodus 14:19-20? The pillar of cloud moved between the Israelites and the Egyptians. If you remember, they were to follow that pillar wherever it went. Here it moves between the nations where the Israelites would be able to watch God fight for them. I also think it moved and served as protection. Nothing was going to get to the vulnerable nation! God fought for them. He won the war. The Israelites were officially free!
God is trustworthy. When God speaks, do we believe Him immediately or do we waste time by arguing with him (or doubting)? Moses had moved from doubting God, doubting His calling on Moses' life, and doubting His ability to be bigger than Pharaoh. He moved from doubt to complete faith. When God told Moses to use those tools in his hands, Moses didn't argue, He just OBEYED. He obeyed in faith. He trusted in God's leading. He trusted in God's timing. He trusted in God's character. He trusted in God's ability. And you know what? God proved to be entirely trustworthy in this situation, just as He had been in the last one, and just as He will be in all future situations.
He's entirely trustworthy in every situation we come up against, the possible and the impossible ones!