Saturday, February 4, 2012
Exodus 14:15-18 Keep Going
"Then the LORD said to Moses,
'Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea
to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them.
And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
through his chariots and his horsemen.
The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD
when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.' "
Exodus 14:15-18 (NIV)
Moses must have been continuing to pray or cry out to God. God finally tells him to get moving and to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea in order to divide the water so that the Israelites will be able to go through the sea. [The LORD mentions that they will cross over on dry ground. Parting the sea would be amazing enough, but now the Israelites will not have to slog through wet sand or mud.]
If it seems that God's reaction to Moses' continuing to cry out to Him is rather blunt, it is probably because God knows that Moses knows that the Israelites are on their way to the land which God had promised to their ancestors. It is time to move, not to stand gaping at the obstacles before them. It also seems that God is prodding Moses to have a bit of faith in God's ability to make a way for them. Looking at the physical situation before them, it is not surprising that Moses would have hesitated a bit. Apparently they were in a place which hemmed them in with mountains on one side and the sea on the other. The land may have ended in front of them and the Egyptians were rapidly approaching them from behind. Where should they go? Forward.
God will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will follow after the Israelites, pursuing them into the sea. God will be glorified, and the Egyptians will know that the LORD is the only true God. If you think that it is unfair that God would harden the hearts of the Egyptian forces, remember that they have been given all kinds of miraculous proofs of God's power in the past, through Moses and Aaron. There was the incident with Aaron's staff consuming all the staffs of the Egyptian counselors/wise men, and the ten plagues which had seemed to discredit most of Egypt's 'gods', and which culminated in the deaths of all the firstborn sons of Egypt, including the son of the Pharaoh. If they refused to repent after all that, would further attempts have been likely to be successful? So God is not making them rebel, He is just allowing them to be what they already are in their hearts.