When It’s Time to Stop Crying Out and Start Moving On

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June 29, 2018

Exodus 14:10-16

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 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.

CONSIDER THIS

Today’s text shows us the messy truth about deliverance in the real world. Finally, the Israelites are outside the city limits.  They carry with them the ancient equivalent of Ft. Knox in Egyptian wealth. In the end, after all the pleadings and all the plagues, the Egyptians paid them to leave. As Pharaoh is want to do, though, he changed his mind. Look how quickly the patient changes their tune.

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Moses puts on his Braveheart and dials up his best William Wallace. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

That must have gone over like a lead balloon. Then the Lord intervenes with this word to Moses. “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” 

I have a feeling this is how the Lord feels most of the time when it comes to his people (a.k.a. us). “Why are you crying out to me?” 

It’s one of my favorite analogies and I overuse it, but it is as if we keep asking God to write the check. All the while God is saying, “Cash it!” The check was written at Easter. Further, at Pentecost, he put more wealth in our proverbial bank than we could spend in ten thousand lifetimes. We are loaded and all the while we parade around like paupers. Divine deliverance is at our fingertips yet we believe God wants to see a demonstration of desperation from us?

Meanwhile, on so many occasions, might the word of the Lord for us be, “Why are you crying out to me?” The operative word comes in the next sentence.

“Move on.” 

You know we talk a lot in our work about awakening and sowing for a great awakening. I am increasingly of a mind that this word from today’s text is for us:

“Why are you crying out to me? Tell [MY PEOPLE] to move on.”

In this country, and in many others around the world, we live in a time where we face an impassable Red Sea on one side and the raging chariots of Pharaoh’s army on the other. Many of us find ourselves grumbling over all that has been lost and wanting to return to a bygone era. Many others are still betting the farm on presidential politics and Supreme Court justices. Many more are neck-deep in denominational reorganization and ecclesial hand-wringing. In the midst of this, many call us to our knees, rightly pointing us to God, urging us to be still and wait for the Lord; cautioning that human effort might supplant supernatural deliverance. Meanwhile, I wonder if the word for our time just might be,

“Why are you crying out to me? Tell [MY PEOPLE] to move on.”

After all, Jesus Christ IS risen from the dead. The Holy Spirit IS being poured out on the whole Creation. Sin has lost its power. Death has lost its sting. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We have the extraordinarily incredible gifts of the Word, the Spirit, the Church and the Kingdom, literally, “at hand.”

What if a great awakening and all the divine deliverance it would entail waits on us to wake up to this word:

“Why are you crying out to me? Tell [MY PEOPLE] to move on.”

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. You have done so much—everything really. The first great awakening was your resurrection from the dead. The second great awakening was the sending of your Spirit. Forgive me for somehow expecting you to do those things again—to give what you have already given and keep giving. Awaken me to the full reality of it all.  Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What do you make of this analogy of asking God to write the check while God asks us to “cash it.” ?
  2. Creation. Exodus. Resurrection. Pentecost. Are we crying out for God to do something else? Are we waiting on God? Or is God waiting on us?
  3. What would it look like in our Red Sea moment to stop crying out and start moving on?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Touché! :0)

    For way too long my Christian identity has been tied up in the Methodist/United Methodist Church. But lately I have found myself tired of being tied to those whose beliefs are contradictory to mine; especially when their beliefs lead them to public action that result in me feeling embarrassed that I am a United Methodist.

    • You should read The Character of a Methodist (if you haven’t already)….very inspiring. You can change churches, but doubt you will land in a place where everyone shares the same belief on everything. Peace be with you.

      • Thanks. Yes, we have republished The Character of a METHODIST as part of our seedling collection (short tracts), available in our store.

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