The strong wind in the dark night
You know when you’re reading the Bible and you see something that you’ve never seen before, except you must have seen it because you’ve read that chapter more times than you can remember?
So … Exodus 14, the Israelites have left Egypt and are camped by the Red Sea when, on the horizon, they see Pharaoh and his army mobilised to get his slaves back.
The panic ensues, the fear explodes, the scapegoating and blame shifting starts.
“Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!”
Can you hear the panic, the desperation, the frustration, the sound of dreams dying, of freedom dying, of hope dying? The Red Sea in front of them, Pharaoh and his army behind them.
Between a rock and a hard place? I think so!
So Moses tells the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Don’t you just love it when someone tells you to ‘stay calm’ when absolutely everything else around you is screaming not to? Stay calm…in the face of imminent death, with no visible means of escape, and nothing to protect yourself with? Yeah, right!
‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.”
God seems to want something different from his people in the face of death and uncertainty. Not a passive standing still, waiting, but movement.
When it feels like your dreams are dying, your hopes are dying, your fears are alive and present…don’t stop…keep moving, one step at a time! Raise your hand over that sea!
Now this is where I noticed the first thing I had never seen before.
‘Then the Angel of God (Could this possibly be Jesus? I’m going to imagine it is!), who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them.’
I’m sure every other time I’ve read this it was ‘just’ a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night leading them. ‘The Angel of God’? Where did he come from?
Lightbulb moment…he’s always there! Right in the midst of every storm brewing, every crisis unfolding, when our dreams die, when our hopes die, when our fears raise their heads, when we feel most trapped…he’s there, and not only is he there, he’s got our back.
It’s now night in the desert, it’s dark and it’s cold.
The pillar of cloud has turned to fire.
Pharaoh and his army are still there.
The Red Sea is still there.
Then I noticed the second thing I had never seen before.
‘Then Moses raised his right hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all night turning the sea bed into dry land.’
I thought it just happened! Moses stuck his staff out, the water parted, ta-da!
A strong east wind blew.
Can you imagine it? In the desert at night, it’s dark, it’s cold, an army is waiting for daylight so it can either kill you or cart you back off to slavery, and then the wind starts to blow. Not just a breeze…oh, no!
A strong east wind.
Seriously? Can this get any worse?
It was the wind that made the way.
What seemed like the culmination of a series of horrible circumstances was actually the means of their deliverance.
What strong east wind is blowing in your life, making a way where there seems to be no way? What wind is, unbeknownst to you, implanting hope and freedom in your soul?
Look for the the strong wind in the dark night…there is hope in it!
Jesus has your back.
by Jodie Ellis