The word to the Christian is always “forward.” There are times to pray, times to reflect, and even times in which we are called to wait. But our praying, reflecting, and waiting are always with an eye on the road ahead.
Israel, just delivered from her 430-year sentence of servitude in Egypt, finds herself standing at the edge of the Red Sea, with water in front and an angry Egyptian army close behind. What will she do? Israel did what you and I would be tempted to do: she panicked. The people cried out to the Lord in fear, complained that Moses should never have led them out of Egypt, and regretted ever stepping out in faith that they could be free. In their fear, the people said they would rather return to slavery than be squeezed between the two insurmountable forces of an army and a sea. (Exodus 14:10-12)
Then the Lord spoke. Through Moses, the Lord told Israel not to fear, to stand firm (in faith), to watch God save them, and to keep quiet as he did. He told them that he would fight this battle against the Egyptians for them. Then he said, “go forward.” (Exodus 14:13-15)
The problem causing fear in Israel was that moving forward was into the sea, and they couldn’t swim. The Lord parted the sea, and the people walked forward on dry ground to the other side. The Exodus and the Crossing of the Red Sea show us how God delivered, protected, guided, and provided for his people. The Exodus and the Crossing are also pictures of our deliverance in Christ and our discipleship with him. By grace, God brings us out of slavery to sin and into freedom with him; and by faith, we follow on the path of obedience that sometimes takes us right through a sea of circumstances which seem to be the end of hope.
But God is always moving us forward; forward in deeper fellowship and conformity to Christ, broader service to others, and another step closer to our promised home with him. Our forward following after Christ glorifies God, who keeps us by his power.
Are you praying about something today? Do so, keeping in mind that the answer to your prayer will keep you moving forward with Christ. Are you in an end-of-year season of reflection? Reflect for the purpose of strengthening your faith for next year. Are you being called upon to wait on the Lord, or on someone else, before you can make the next move? Don’t be discouraged; don’t look back; do not fear. Even this holding pattern can be a proactive season of soul searching and internal movement forward with Christ.
Jesus said, “Come, follow me.” Life with Christ is always forward, always by faith.
This weekend, read Exodus 14. Let it show you great things about your salvation in Christ and your life of discipleship with him. Share this chapter of the Bible with someone. And, pray for Grace Community Church as we gather for worship on Sunday.