Yahweh says this to you, “Do not be afraid, do not be daunted by this vast horde; this battle is not yours but God’s. You will not need to fight there.” (2 Chronicles20:15-17)
Scriptures tell us that the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years to the day when they were released from slavery by the terrified Egyptians ((Ex.12: 40-41). And you’ll remember they came out with great wealth because the Egyptians gave to them whatever they asked just to hasten their departure. “Yahweh gave the people such prestige in the eyes of the Egyptians that they gave them what they asked. So they plundered the Egyptians.”
Listen to what the Lord had predicted to Abram. “Know this for certain that your descendants will be in exiles in a land not their own, where they will be slaves and oppressed for four hundred years. But I will pass judgment also on the nation (Egypt) that enslaves them and after that they will leave with many possessions. In the fourth generation THEY WILL COME BACK HERE (Canaan)” (Gen. 15: 13-14, 16)
The first thirty years the Israelites were welcome guests because of Joseph’s great services to Pharaoh. Afterwards, they were made slaves. This prophecy was exactly fulfilled. Note that in this prophecy the Lord again promised to bring them back to the land of Canaan and give it to them as an everlasting possession. Every Israelite was aware of this promise to Abraham.
Prophecy was fulfilled
Joseph’s unburied coffin had been a witness that the Lord would rescue the Hebrews and return them to the Land of Canaan. Scripture says: “Moses took with him the bones of Joseph who had put the sons of Israel on solemn oath. ‘It is sure that God will visit you, he had said and when that day comes you must take my bones from here with you” (Ex..13:19). All of this adds up to one imperative lesson: God keeps His promises! This is the foundation for cracking the faith barrier and entering the realm of combat faith.
As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt, the Lord gathered them together in Rameses, which was in the northeast sector of Egypt in the province of Goshen. Just as they were about to move out, an awesome phenomenon took place. “Yahweh went before them by day in the form of a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and by night in the form of a pillar of fire to give them light. Thus they could continue their march by day and by night. The pillar of cloud never failed to go before the people during the day, nor the pillar of fire during the night.” (Ex. 13:21-22)
No people have ever had more definite guidance concerning where God wanted them to be, wouldn’t you agree? The Lord led the people southeast from Rameses to Succoth, which was on the main caravan route to Canaan. Then he turned them eastward on that route to a place on the edge of a desert called Etham, where they camped (Ex. 12:37, 13:20). So far so good! The Israelites expected to be in the promised land within a couple of weeks.
The Lord in his own strange plan turned the pillar of cloud to the north instead of to the east. He began to lead them back in the general direction from which they, with considerable effort had just come. There were no routes to Canaan up north. In fact there is only the sea. So why in the world did God do such a “crazy” thing?
Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and pitch camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, facing Baal-zephon. You are to pitch your camp opposite this place, beside the sea (Ex. 14; 1-20).
If we look at the map of the Exodus, the Lord told them to camp at a place where they had the sea to their north and east. To make it even more confusing, there were no possible passageways from that location to their destination of Canaan. But there is a very important principle to be seen here. Sometimes God’s leading for our life doesn’t make sense at all from our human point of view. “Yes, the heavens are as high above the earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts” (Isa.55:9). But if we just keep trusting Him, He will ultimately bless us, and teach us how to crack the faith barrier in the process.
Pharaoh tells to Yahweh’s plan
Yahweh explained some of the reasoning behind His strange plan. “Pharaoh will think, “Look how these sons of Israel wander, to and fro in the countryside; the wilderness has closed in on them.” Then I shall make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn and he will set out in pursuit of them. But I shall win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will learn that I am Yahweh. And the Israelites did this” (Ex. 14; 3-4)
The Lord did not tell Moses how he would get glory over Pharaoh and his army. But the Lord did say that the Egyptian people would be brought to know He is superior to all man-made gods. Pharaoh did exactly what the Lord said he would do.
Thinking that the Israelites were confused and moving around in circles, he quickly mobilized his army. He selected six hundred of his best charioteers to lead the other chariots. Pharaoh and the Egyptians believed there would be an easy revenge for all the death and destruction the Hebrews had brought upon them.
“So the Egyptians gave chase and came up with them where they lay encamped beside the sea, all the horses, the chariots of Pharaoh, his horse-men, his army, near Pi-hahiroth, facing Baal-Zephon. And as Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel looked round and there were the Egyptians in pursuit of them! “The sons of Israel were terrified and cried out to Yahweh. “To Moses they said, Were there no graves in Egypt that you must lead us out to die the wilderness? What good have you done us, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Ex. 14:10-12).
In all this, one thing was clear – the Lord had deliberately led them into this hopeless predicament. But why was the Lord making things so difficult for them? The answer to that is the very essence we can learn to crack the faith barrier. It is to believe God in the amidst of unexplained, impossible situations, when circumstances seem to be going against all that God has promised, and the only hope we have is to cling tenaciously to those very promises. It is remembering that in every circumstance, no matter how grim, God’s ultimate purpose is to bless us, if we only keep trusting Him. God does not allow trials into our lives to make us miserable. When we boldly claim His promises, he delivers us!
Moses refused to go by his emotions. He refused to be led by what his five senses were telling him that God had sworn to do. In the midst of this chaos, Moses shouted to the Israelites. “have no fear! Stand firm and you will see what Yahweh will do to save you today: the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. Yahweh will do the fighting for you: you have only to keep still” (Ex.14:13).
This is one of the greatest single acts of faith recorded in the Scriptures. Moses did not have any more to go on than any of the other Israelites who were by now in total hysteria. Moses added up all the facts, and his faith concluded that God Himself had to destroy the Egyptian army for His name was at stake.
Moses still did not know how God was going to deliver Israel. We are told, “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground” (Ex. 14: 15-16).
Moses’ faith saved a nation
As far as we know, no one but Moses had combat faith that day. The first thing the Lord did was to put a screen of protection between Pharaoh’s hard-charging army and the Israelites. ‘Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel changed stations and moved to the rear. The pillar of cloud charged station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It come between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long” (Ex. 14: 19-20). “If you really believed him you would believe me (Jesus) too” (Jn. 5: 46)
Though the Lord may allow us to be led into a similar impossible situation, His will is that we boldly stand against the odds and claim His promise. When we do, He delivers us. In most cases, as soon as we react to a trial with faith in the Lord’s promise, He removes it. If He doesn’t, then we know that there is some greater lesson he desires to teach us concerning perseverance in faith.
Always remember that though God’s leading may be unexplainable for the moment, His ultimate purpose is to teach us to believe Him so that we may have peace, joy and effective service for Him now and great rewards in eternity.
– – – written by Capt. Mervin John Lobo