“Don’t panic!” You’ll no doubt remember the clip from the Dad’s Army series, where Jonesy is informed that an unexploded bomb has been found. Instead of thinking clearly and fetching help, he dances round telling the empty room not to panic.
Reading Exodus 14:13-20, panic is exactly what was going on in the Israelite camp. Moses was holding forth, telling them all to stand still and stop panicking, and trying to remind them that God would save them; help was on the way. God however, was not totally impressed with this, for Moses only had it part right. He was absolutely correct in halting the panic, and encouraging them to trust God’s ability to save them, but standing still was not on God’s agenda. They needed to get going. The problem for Moses, was which way??? With the sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army behind them, no wonder he was encouraging them to stand still!
But just because they couldn’t see a way, did not mean there wasn’t one. So God instructed Moses, “Just hold up your staff and divide the water…” like it was the normal thing to do. It seems to me that God expected Moses to take the initiative on it, that he should have thought to do it himself, rather than cry out to God! That reminds me of Jesus, when the disciples were so afraid in the boat in the storm. First he rebuked the wind and waves to be still, and then he rebuked the disciples for not having more faith to deal with it themselves (Mark 4:35-41)
I find the implications of this quite challenging. If God expected Moses to operate in the supernatural, how much more does he expect of his New Testament children who have the example of Jesus to look back to, and are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit?
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12).
Prayer is great stuff, but are there times we use it as a cop-out, rather than stepping out in faith to operate in God’s power? When we should be going and doing, rather than staying and praying?