A familiar scene
The Israelites, after hundreds of years of slavery and oppression, were finally set free. As they made their way across the desert, I imagine their heads were still full of images of God’s display of power over the Egyptians as He sent one plague after another.
However, after getting to camp, they turned to see a sight that terrified them-The entire Egyptian Army in pursuit. Immediately thoughts of a powerful God flew. Fear and helplessness was the all-consuming thought and those thoughts quickly found escape as they complained to Moses.
“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? 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!” Exodus 14:11-12
They had forgotten their God. Forgotten His power and providence.
It happens with us, too, doesn’t it? We feel pursued by our enemies-our “enemies” being whatever terrifies us. It could be the thought or reality of family getting sick, losing our jobs, losing our lifestyles, losing our freedom, losing opportunities that cannot be regained, losing friendships, or any number of things that make us feel the way the Israelites must have felt when they looked up to see that army on their heels.
So, what do we do when enemies pursue?
When enemies pursue, we can remember that God is in control.
Nothing that happens in our lives or in this world as a whole is a surprise to God. The Egyptian pursuit was not a surprise to Him. The enemies in your life are not a surprise to Him. Knowing He is in complete control of every situation brings precious peace to us in any circumstance.
When enemies pursue, we can remember that God knows what is best.
If God allows something to push us somewhere, then we can KNOW that the place where we are is better than the place we were and is better than anything we think we are missing.
The Israelites’ fear made them long to return to Egypt and bondage, but God would use the Egyptian army to push them toward witnessing His glorious power and toward complete freedom.
From our perspective, reading about the events thousands of years later, it is clear which is the better option. We need to remember the “big picture” perspective in our situations will be clear to us someday as well AND that God has that clear view now. We can trust that He knows what’s best for us.
When enemies pursue, we can know that we really don’t have any control.
I know, I know, we really don’t need a reminder of this fact. The lack of control is what scares some of us the most if we’re honest. However, look at Moses’ response to the Israelites and gain courage, my friend:
“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. The LORD will fight for you; You need only be still.” Exodus 14:13-14
I feel like there is not much I can even add to that, so I will simply repeat:
“The LORD will fight for you; You need only be still.”
How amazing is that? God, Himself will fight for us. What, my friends, can we possibly add to that? He is much more capable than you or I will ever be and He is ready and willing to fight for us. ALL WE HAVE TO IS LET HIM!
When the enemy pursues, we need to remember that God has a plan, though we may not see God working at first.
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.” Exodus 14:21
It was nighttime as Moses stood with his hand stretched out over the expanse of sea. This parting of the sea wasn’t instantaneous, it happened over several hours. At first, in the dark, there is no way Moses could have known that God was parting the seas the way He was. Still, God had told Moses what He was going to do (Exodus 14:15-18) and Moses trusted God’s Word, kept his staff raised over the sea, and waited for God to finish His work.
Moses knew his inability to see God work did not in any way mean God wasn’t working. Oh no! As we now know, He was working on a miracle that was so big that it is still very much alive in a popular culture thousands of years later!
When enemies pursue, we need to remember that God is at work to gloriously give us the victory.
God’s work that night did not stay hidden for long. Soon it was done and the Israelites were walking on dry land with walls of water on either side.
Can’t you just imagine the awe they must have felt? God had delivered them and He had done it in a miraculous, powerful, totally unforgettable way.
In fact, God’s had more than delivered His people-He had given them complete victory over their enemies.
God in His mercy and power still delivers us from our enemies. We are offered the victory over all that could possibly befall us-strife, sickness, poverty, and more. He even gives us victory over the power of sin and death itself, through knowing Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.*
He can and does give us the victory. If we don’t see it yet, we will. Someday we will see we had the victory all along-no matter what enemy was after us.
When enemies pursue, we can remember that God uses our enemies to send us running into His arms.
“And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant.” Exodus 14:31
God often allows bad things to happen to us personally and to the people of their world, because He knows it is often these things–and only these things–that will send us running to the One we should have been turning to all along.
The hard times in our lives have a way of revealing Who we really need. When enemies pursue, run to the One Who is willing, ready, and more than able to keep you safe and give you the victory only He can.
Pray with me:
All Mighty God and Father, I thank You today that You are all-powerful, all-knowing and ever capable of fighting our battles for us. Let us rest still and peaceful in the knowledge of You and Your power and sovereignty in our lives. You are so good to care for us and to allow us to experience the hard things that drive us to the best place on Earth-into Your loving arms. Amen
*If you do not yet know God personally, through a relationship with His Son Jesus, please click here to see how you do that today.