Scripture Reading: Exodus 14:15-31
In our last study, we took a look at “standing firm” when our back is up against the wall. In this study, we’ll look at what to do next, because God doesn’t want us to stand still forever. There comes a time when God calls us to take action.
To paraphrase a preacher in the early days of America, who had been praying about what God wanted him to do in regards to creating this new country: “There’s a time to pray and a time to act. Now’s the time to act!”
Prayer is not a one-way conversation, but is an invitation for God to speak. And when God speaks, we need to do what He says, no matter how trivial a thing He might tell us to do.
God spoke to Moses when Moses’ back was up against the wall of the Red Sea. The people had been crying out to Moses, complaining that he had brought them out into the desert to die at the hands of the Egyptians. As the Egyptian chariots quickly approached, Moses told the people to “stand firm,” and they would see the deliverance of the Lord.
But then God told Moses what to do next:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. …’ 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. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:15-16, 21-22).
Moses may have thought: What? Just raise my staff and stretch out my hand over the sea? How could that help!?! But Moses did what God said to do, and the Lord blew back the waters with His very breath, delivering the Israelites to safety and destroying their captors.
I was farming with my Dad one day when the rain began to fall on our two tractors. I was driving ahead of my Dad, preparing the ground so he could plant the grain behind me. It was critical that we got the crops in the ground that day. We didn’t have time for a storm.
As the rain started hitting my face, I stood up on the open-air tractor, held my hand up above my head, and prayed that the rain would stop. Guess what happened? I got drenched! Totally soaked from head to toe! I said, “Okay, God, I don’t have control over the wind and rain.”
But as I thought about it some more, I said, “Even though I don’t have control, God, I believe that You do. I think this is just Satan trying to discourage me. God, I’m going to put my hand back up and keep on praying. I’m going to keep driving and praying until the rain stops, because we need to get Dad’s crops in today!”
Although the rain kept pelting me in the face, I held my hand up high. I was still getting soaked for a few more minutes, but by the time I got to the other end of the field and turned around to take another pass, the rain had completely stopped. For the rest of the day, we planted that field as the rain came down in sheets all around us. Even the cars that drove on the road bordering our field had their windshield wipers going all day long, but the rain didn’t touch the ground we were planting.
God doesn’t always answer our prayers so dramatically, and even when He doesn’t, we can be assured that He has something better in mind for us, because God is ultimately FOR us.
But when God does tell you to take action, take action! No matter how big or how small that action may be, make sure to get it done. Don’t let Satan get you down. Lift your hands to God and press on.
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.