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.
Honestly, this story has always made me laugh. Can you imagine being Moses in this situation? In case you are unfamiliar with what’s going on – here’s the synopsis: After a long struggle, Pharoah (the leader of Egypt) has finally released the nation of Israel from captivity and slavery (of 100’s of years). They have begun to march as a nation away from Egypt to the Promised Land, when Pharoah changes his mind and pursues them with his army. Israel is not an army at this point, so they are no match. And they are at the edge of the Red Sea (where God has led them). So they are stuck – sitting ducks. The people begin to complain – “Moses what did you do to us? At least in Egypt we weren’t going to die!”
So Moses prays, and God says this! “Moses – why are you crying out to me – YOU DO SOMETHING?” Really God?
What are we supposed to do with this story?
Here’s one thing I think we can learn from this. God is not asking us, as his followers, to just sit back and ask him to do everything for us. God has always been interested in a partnership with us. In fact, it could be argued that the whole narrative arc from Genesis to Revelation is about God’s work to restore the partnership he originally intended.
So in my view, God is not being a jerk to Moses in this story. No. He is saying “Moses – rise up! Lead these people!”
So how does this apply to overcoming fear?
While I believe in praying at all times, and asking for God’s strength, peace, and help, I also believe God wants us to do our part! God has created us with gifts, abilities, talents, and wisdom that he wants us to use! When we are facing down fear or anxiety, we need to rise up in the power God has already given us, while ALSO praying.
Now you might say, I don’t feel like I have much power in me – I feel unable, defeated, and incapable sometimes. Sure, I get that. BUT – sometimes the times we feel weakest are the very times we need to rise up. Don’t you think Moses was feeling pretty desperate and weak? I think that’s why God was essentially like a coach – “You can do it! C’mon let’s go!”
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are strong. Sometimes we need to SPEAK TO OURSELVES and say – “I can do this. RISE UP!”
There are times when I am backstage before preaching and I’m feeling NOTHING like strong, able, and ready. I feel inept. Afraid. Aware of my weakness. And I pray. BUT I ALSO tell myself TRUTH – “This is what God has called you to do. You can do this. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop being intimidated by the task at hand. Give it your all. No apologies. No insecurity. Rise up and go for it. Leave it all out there. 100% effort.” And then trust God TO DO HIS PART!
OK that was long, BUT, I think it’s important. In what ways do you need to tell yourself RISE UP today?
Jesus I pray that you would strengthen my resolve and my confidence, so I can partner with you and stand up in life!