Both Faith and the Lord: Exodus 14:21-29, especially vs 27: �So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were trying to flee. But the Lord shook off the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.� It is essential, if one would be saved, to follow the directions of the Lord: to heed Him and to obey Him in heart and mind, even before we take any action on His word. Our minds are far too subject to the whim, desires, and fallacies of that which may �seem� obvious. To grasp the point of this truth, take a moment to review what we might call the prelude to the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex 14:15-17), a portrait of the spiritually mature Moses caught between Pharaoh and the sea.

Who initiated the action? �Then the Lord said to Moses� (Ex 14:15). Life goes aright when we follow the initiative of God no matter how things may appear. The word of the Lord was plain enough: �Tell the children of Israel to go forward� (Ex 14:15); yet to protect Moses and the people against precipitous action, the Lord provided a full map or outline to be followed: �Now lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it; and let the children of Israel go on dry ground in the midst of the sea� (Ex 14:16). Imagine that Moses might have had some questions at this point. But see: God already prepared Moses to use his rod against the Egyptians (eg, Ex 7:15; 8:1; 9:22, et al). Another issue God answered before the crossing was loss of trust while obeying, as in asking �Is this working?!� So God says, �I will be glorified in Pharaoh and over all his army....then the Egyptians will know I am the Lord� (Ex 14:17,18).

Applying these insights into the actual crossing of the sea, we should immediately note that God was the prime actor in what took place: �Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and the Lord carried back the sea by a strong south wind all night and made the sea dry ground� (Ex 14: 21). In His timing, God acts as He wills; His will is trustworthy.

The Lord made the connection between Moses� outstretched hand and the drying of the seabed to strengthen His people�s faith in Him in the face of the insuperable (vs 22). He does so only if we obey Him. Follow His guidelines carefully, for God provides for the needs of His people; often He supplies our needs beyond the limits of our imagination or understanding.

Observe how rationally the Egyptians behaved: they observed the Israelites crossing the dry pathway in the sea without difficulty. It made sense to follow in order to catch them (vs 23). However, it is a major spiritual error to trust the obvious rather than to submit to God and obey His will foremost. Ever remember Who the Prime Actor is in the spiritual life - trust and obey.

�Now...the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire� and cloud� (vs 24). Never entertain any thoughts from the enemy that the Lord does not know what is going on in our lives. Our gracious God is wholly aware, even if it does not seem as if He knows or is present. The pillar of fire was ignored by the Egyptians, just as the cross of Christ once appeared as �foolishness� (1 Cor 1:18). Indeed, Origen knew Satan is ever laboring to deceive us: �But unless we withdraw far from him and cross the sea and say, �As far as east is from west, he has removed our iniquities from us� (Ps 102:11), we cannot be saved.�

We are told that when the waters returned, �they covered the chariots, the horsemen and all of Pharaoh�s army that came into the sea after them� (Ex 14:28). Let us stir up the embers of the fire of trust and fear in the Lord. As Saint Ephraim the Syrian cautions us: the Egyptians �did not fear the Lord who appeared to them, and they were not deterred by their wheels that were clogged. They boldly drove their chariots with full force.� Wait, pray, heed, and obey God.o