But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
- Exodus 13:8
Our scripture tells us a few interesting things of the Lord God and ourselves.
First, that He led His people.
Leadership was so crucial for these Israelites who had been in a type of prison for most of the previous 430 years. It is also critical to our journey. Imagine if we had to find our own way out of sin, depravity and death? Imagine, if we prayed and no direction or answer was forthcoming? That is why Jesus went to the Cross. In a similar way to how they followed God out of Egypt, so we follow Christ through this walk to freedom.
God took them through “the way of the wilderness of the Red sea:” — a path unrecognisable to anything they had previously experienced, where their EE's ‘Egyptian Extras’ were to be dropped off, buried in the sands of the past. Likewise, in our life today, these wordly extras we carry cannot pass into the Kingdom of God and must be dropped off before we die.
“the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." The word Harnessed in the Hebrew means armed. They went up armed. Similarly, when we come to Christ, we become armed in a spiritual sense, yet, like them, we are not warriors either. We have armour for defence and a sword for offence, but how do we use them adeptly so early in our desert walk?
These Israelites made mud bricks for a living and would have been like council workers doing the odd cleanup and repair jobs around the cities. They had little idea of wielding arms.
In the early steps of their walk, they rejoiced. It would have been difficult for them to believe that they were actually free of that tyranny. Just like us, they would have believed it when they saw it. However, when difficulties presented themselves, such as coming to the Red sea, they likened their future to their past. They saw the Red sea as the path to a certain death instead of the gateway to freedom. When you come to the more significant barriers in your life, do you see them as impassable and begin to panic? Or do you have faith that God has prepared a way in which you must walk, regardless of the perceived barriers?
This quote from Pilgrim’s Progress is worthy of remembrance through times of hardship. It may have been a noble tenet that perhaps the Israelites should have held to on their journey.
“To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is the fear of death and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward.”
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your leadership through my spiritual walk so far, and for being there through my trials. Please help me to always remember from whence I came, and that you will lead me through regardless of what I think is impossible.