“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My council shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46:9-10)
From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians
The issue that is contrasted here in this story of the Exodus, is the difference between play-it-safe security versus step-out-in-faith significance (Matthew 14:29). It is the difference between a risk-free life that accomplishes little of eternal value, and a bold life that purchases faith and trust in the living God that is worth more than gold. Either the God of the Bible is real or He isn’t. Either God can be counted upon in a crisis, or He cannot. Either the Bible is true or it is a collection of fables. Unlike walking out of a theater after watching a fictional motion picture for two hours, every Christian can choose to follow Jesus through a real, actual life of faith, and discover and prove for ourselves whether or not our God is the same God we read about in the Bible. A true journey of faith with the God of the Bible is a testable proposition, with the real possibility of success or failure through situations large and small.
The Israelites could have continued living in Egypt, scratching out an existence with no purpose or meaning, or they could step out in faith and follow God. But in this defining moment in the separation of belief from unbelief, in the dividing of trust in the living God from self-sufficient existence in Egypt, there was a real cost to following God. God led them to the edge of the Red Sea.
It was God Himself who set up this life-and- death situation for the Israelites. In this make-or-break test, there was not enough time for any self-generated options for the Israelites. They could not set up an adequate defense, purchase weapons of warfare from surrounding nations, or send emissaries to hire foreign armies to come and help fight the Egyptians. At any moment, either they would be killed by the Egyptians, or God would somehow deliver them. Faith, trust, and reliance upon God were at the heart of this crisis.
We see from this example that it was the intention of God to initiate this final confrontation with the Egyptian army, so that God could demonstrate once again to Moses and to the Israelites His deliverance power and unfailing love. God knew that He could and would open up the Red Sea, and it appears that Moses also knew this from God sometime before it actually happened. It was the Israelites who needed to discover the depth of God’s love for them, and He did this through a spectacular display of His power over nature, in the midst of this seemingly unsolvable dilemma. This was intended to provide the Israelites with hope and assurance to see them through the difficult days ahead and to provide us with a powerful example of hope we can apply today as well.
If we as Christians today believe the Bible is true, and that these events actually occurred, then we should not be surprised when God maneuvers us into similar situations and circumstances, albeit on a less dramatic scale, that enable God to reveal to us His deliverance power and caring love as well. This is how we grow. This is how we get spiritually strong. This is how we each individually get to know God better. This is how we become able to stand up spiritually on our own two feet and proclaim boldly what God has done for us.
God has not changed. He has an infinite variation of scenarios and life-scripts at His fingertips. We don’t all have to play lead roles like Robin Hood, Sidney Carton, or Luke Skywalker, but God has a carefully chosen and well-intentioned role for each of us to play as mature and savvy Christians to make an impact for good in our world.
Some great novels are so captivating, that the reader dreads the book coming to an end. But as the pages turn one after another on a quiet Saturday afternoon, the last page is finally reached, the story ends, and the back cover of the book is closed. Some movies are so entertaining we wish they would go on and on. But these movies also end, the lights in the theatre come on, and people head for the exit doors.
After Jesus and the two thieves were taken down from their crosses, these blood-stained crosses presumably stood empty for awhile on Calvary Hill. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father had accomplished their plan for Jesus to be the Lamb of God sacrifice for mankind’s sin, slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The time of the actual crucifixion came and went, with Jesus then going on to rise the third day (Luke 22:37). Like an empty stadium after a championship game, or like an empty theater after an award-winning play or a virtuosic music recital is over, the time for the grand event comes and goes.
All of the upcoming end-times events are scheduled to occur in the near future. Jesus Himself talks about them in the gospels. They must happen. They are part of mankind’s destiny. They were set in motion when Adam and Eve each took a bite of the forbidden fruit long ago. The story of good versus evil has been playing out ever since. Each of us has a part to play in that story.
We worship a real God who is both all-powerful and all-good, and who happens to also be a master screenwriter and director. We can surrender the course of our lives (Romans 12:1) into His hands with confidence, discovering first-hand His goodness and trustworthiness through our own individual experience of a walk of faith.
An old proverb aptly applies here: “a ship in a harbor is safe, but ships were not made for harbors.” We were created for an adventure of faith, out upon the wide-open seas of life, following the life-script that the true and living God of the Bible has written for us.