Several days ago I was reading in Exodus 14 the account of the crossing of the Red Sea by Moses and the Israelites. I saw something which I have--for some reason--entirely missed before. When Pharaoh's chariots came thundering up behind the fugitive Israelites, trapping them between the army and the sea, Moses was not thrown into panic like the rest of his compatriots. Was he just a clear-headed, courageous sort of man? No--here's what I noticed: God had told him ahead of time what would happen. In fact, he had instructed him to lead the people in an seemingly random path to give Pharaoh the idea that they were confused and would be easy prey for his troops. So, when the Israelites spotted the Egyptian army, and the people accosted Moses with their terrified accusations, he had a ready answer:
Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still (Ex. 14:13-14).
Actually, his answer had more information in it than what is recorded in the Lord's message in verses 1-4. I'm curious--did verses 1-4 just leave out some of what the Lord said in his initial message? or was Moses hearing more on the inside as he spoke to the people?
Either way, this narrative portrays a God who is gracious to prepare us for whatever lies ahead. The key to being ready instead of being blindsided is to follow him, consult him , and listen to him. Those who were panic-stricken were following Moses (but with no real conviction); they were following their countrymen (because they dare not stay behind in Egypt); they were following whatever seemed the least threatening at the moment (which changed constantly). They never entered into the soul rest of those who lifted their eyes a little higher than people and circumstances to find and follow God. The minority who did--like Joshua and Caleb--seemed to hear him too.