Red Sea | Devotion 3: Responding to God’s Call
Pastor Gareth Volz
Have you ever felt God calling you to do something for Him? Maybe it was to work with high school or junior high school students or work for Him in the nursery. Maybe it was to lead a Growth Community or visit shut-ins. You know what God wants you to do, and you begin to serve Him, but then the unexpected occurs, and you run into a roadblock. You did not plan for it and see no way around the roadblock; you cry out to God in prayer.
Moses found himself in this situation in Exodus 14:15-20. God had sent him to Pharaoh to deliver this message: “Let My people go.” The nation of Israel was in bondage in Egypt and had cried out to God. God heard their prayer, and His answer was to send Moses to lead His people to the Promised Land. Pharaoh did not believe in the God of Israel and refused to free them. God then sent plague after plague upon the land and people of Egypt, but each time Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to follow God’s command.
After the tenth plague, the slaying of the first-born male in each household that did not have the blood of a sacrificial lamb smeared on the doorposts, Pharaoh relented, grieving over the death of his son, and ordered Moses to take the Israelites and leave Egypt.
God led the people with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to the edge of the wilderness. Then God did something Moses did not expect. He told him to tell the people to turn back and to camp between Migdol and the Red Sea, facing the sea. God told Moses He would harden Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh’s army would pursue them, but God would defeat Pharaoh’s army and show the Egyptians that He was the true God.
When the Israelites saw Pharaoh’s army coming after them and the Red Sea before them, they cried out to God and complained to Moses. Moses cried out to God in prayer and got an answer I am sure he never expected. Exodus 14:15-18 says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.’” Basically, He said, why are you praying? Do what I told you to do! I have got this.
When Christians serve God, Satan will always put obstacles in their way to keep them from following God’s commands. How many times have you and I known God has told us to do something for Him, but when we run into obstacles, we stop and cry to God about the obstacle rather than continuing doing what He said to do? There is an old saying I love: “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.”
In verses 19 and 20, God tells Moses how He will equip him to lead the people, “Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.” The angel of God and the cloud and pillar of fire that led them moved and went between the Israelites and the Egyptian army. In doing so, it provided light for the Israelites to see and darkness for the Egyptians, so that neither could see the other. Then as Moses followed God’s instructions, God used Moses’ simple wooden staff to part the Red Sea and allowed His people to cross it on dry ground.
The lesson we learn from this is that when God calls us to do something, we need to move in faith, believing God will remove any obstacle that is in our way, and that He will give us the tools to get the job done. After all, the Lord is the One who does it all; we simply get the privilege of being the instrument He uses to accomplish His purposes.