“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.'” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Have you ever been afraid? The gospel accounts of Jesus death and resurrection show how fearful His disciples were for they went into hiding. We also see this fear in the Israelites on the shore of the Red Sea in our reading from Exodus. This account reminds us that we can trust the Lord in times of adversity if we remember what He has done for us and pray.
As the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord could have led them on a more northerly route, over land and a few days to Canaan. He did not because He knew that they were not yet prepared to fight which they would have to do to enter the Promised Land. They were a formidable host but undisciplined. They had no formal organization as a nation, no formal training, no formal religion either. It is a good guess that many were idolaters. They had much to learn in order to become the people of God.
Their lack of faith is characterized by their response to the onslaught of the Egyptian army. They felt doomed. They were sure that Moses had failed them and led them astray. It would have been better to remain in slavery than to die in the desert. Despite the fact that they had witnessed the power of the Lord in the 10 plagues, they still had no idea of who He was and what He could do.
It is sad to say but the response of the Israelites is sometimes our normal response when we are faced with overwhelming difficulties, obstacles or persecutions that test our faith. Rather than trusting God, we want to go back to the safety and security of the world or of our sinful ways although that means going back into bondage to Satan. The trust God demands of us is absolute. Even though we are weak and afraid, such trust will be rewarded for the Lord will never fail to act even if it is at the last minute.