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On The Upper Room Discourse Re-Release For Lent 2024


“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.’”
Exodus 14:15

Are you sensing God telling you to do something but have hesitated to do it? Perhaps you have felt God’s nudge to volunteer at your church or your child’s school. Maybe God has been pressing you to start a Bible study group, begin a new business, or forgive an old hurt. And now the time has come, when, like the Nike slogan, God is saying “Just do it!” Time to stop just praying about it and time to get it done.  

Picture this! The Israelites are fleeing Egypt, but Pharaoh’s armies are hot on their heels and the Red Sea is ahead of them blocking any way forward. What do they do? They have no history of ever seeing God, or anyone, divide an ocean. Yet God commands them through Moses: “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.” In other words, “Moses, tell them to get going!”

If you read the entire 14th chapter of Exodus, you might find it strange that God commands them to go forward, when in the previous verse God told them to keep still: “The LORD will fight for you, as you only have to keep still” (Exodus 14:14). Well, which is it? Keep still or go forward? It is both! Keep still and be calm; know that the Lord will fight this battle. Now go forward!

The Bible suggests that the Israelites did not suddenly see the Red Sea opening before them like it did in Cecil B. DeMille’s movie, “The Ten Commandments.” They had to take that first step of obedient faith, described in the New Testament: By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land” (Hebrews 11:29).

“It is evident that the sea was not divided throughout at once. Had it been so it would have been ‘sight’ and not ‘faith.’ It does not require faith to begin a journey when I can see all the way through; but to begin when I can merely see the first step, this is faith. The sea opened as Israel moved forward, so that for every first step they needed to be cast upon God. Such was the faith along which the redeemed of the Lord moved under His own conducting hand.” (C. H. Mackintosh, Mackintosh’s Notes on the Pentateuch)

Martin Luther King knew of what he spoke: “Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.” The Scriptures remind us that “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

What you face might not be as dramatic as Pharoah’s armies closing in, but what step of faith might God be urging you to take today? Might God be saying to you what He said to His people gazing out at the Red Sea: “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.’”

Why not, just do it – take the first step!

A fellow traveler,

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