What is the man or woman of your dreams like? Go on, be unrealistic. Describe their body, their smooth and easy smile and the laughter that makes your heart skip a beat. Think of how attentively they’d listen to you, how well they’d understand you, and the magic way they’d know exactly what you need on a bad day. Imagine the way they’d interact with your family, the adventures you’d go on together, and the inside jokes you’d share. Alright, fantasy’s over! Time to come back down to earth, where no one is that perfect. But if we can’t find someone like that, why do we want to so badly?
They say tough times really test a relationship, and this chapter describes some tough times. It doesn’t seem like it at first. The Israelites are finally free from that monster Pharaoh and their hundreds of years of slavery. They are on their way to blissful freedom – until the thousands of freed slaves find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side sits a huge sea, with no way to cross. On the other side, Pharaoh and his army are hurtling toward them. Cornered, the Israelites do what any normal person with the will to live would – panic.
They practically jump down Moses’s throat, hurling accusations and insisting that they would have stayed in Egypt rather than die like this (verses 11-12). Moses reminds the Israelites to trust God, who tells His people to keep going, Red Sea or no Red Sea. Behind the scenes, God bends nature to His will, using clouds, winds and darkness to provide His people a miraculous escape route. I imagine the Israelites blinking and rubbing at their eyes, slack-jawed, as they stare at the pathway God has opened up for them right through the middle of the Red Sea.
The Israelites cross. The Egyptians, flustered and discombobulated though they were (verse 24), pursue. God speaks another miracle into existence, and the mountainous pillars of seawater begin to fall, gradually and then all of a sudden, killing every single pursuing Egyptian. The once frightened, once panicking people are filled with awe. They look upon the fate of their enemies. They look at their God. And then, they rejoice.
The Treasures Within:
Worst Boyfriend/Girlfriend Ever
A lot of us put a lot of hope in our relationships, romantic and otherwise. We promise ourselves to do our best, to put the work in, to make our connections with others lasting. We have grand ideas about our success, all neatly tucked into our castles in the sky. But to be perfectly honest, humans are simply awful at relationships, and the people in the Bible are a great example of that.
We are like Pharaoh, who after promising to give Moses and his people their freedom, did a complete 180. He violently broke his promise, shattering the Israelites’ peace of mind in the process. How many promises have you broken in your lifetime? We are like the Israelites, who had literally just eloped with their Lover. They ran away from their oppressor and to the wilderness to start a new life with God. But 1.5 seconds after exiting Egypt, the Israelites are hyperventilating. Forgetting all the reasons why they fell in love and all the wonderful things God had done for them, the Israelites point fingers at Him, blaming and threatening. How many times have you ignored the better parts of a person in order to focus on their flaws? How many times have you given up on someone, leaving them at the first sign of trouble? We act these ways all the time in our relationships – with others, with ourselves, and, worst of all, with God. We are literally the worst kind of people to be with.
The Kind Of Love People Only Dream Of
Yet Someone still wants to be with us. No, not your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, or even your best friend. This relationship is different. True, it provides us with all the romantic and wonderful things we hope for: God protects us. He protects us fiercely, confidently. Just look at how He spared no expense to get His children out of Egypt, across the Red Sea. Listen to Him confidently urge the Israelites forward (verse 15), already knowing how He would make a way for them. Count the blessings, love, kisses and affection God showers on His people by saving and shielding them, even when they didn’t deserve it. Yes, God treats His lovers like kings and queens. But this is not all He does.
Your boyfriend or girlfriend promises to love you just as you are, but God takes it a step further. He loves us so much, He wants us to be better than we are – happier, stronger, more peaceful. He wants this for us so badly that He is willing to allow us pain, struggles, and tough times in order to get us there. It is this that causes so many of us to tap out on this relationship. Nothing truly good should make us feel bad. No One truly good would put us through these things. We mustn’t believe this. God wants to take us, the lowest of the low, to the immeasurable heights of the plans He has for us. This takes painful sacrifice – and also indescribable love.
God’s Message To Us:
“I’m all in for you.” Eric on Bachelor In Paradise said this over and over to the girl he had chosen on the show. Substitute this phrase with any other of the millions of phrases men and women have said to their partners: “I love you.” “You’re my person.” “Till death do us part.” Yet with the divorce being so common, and abuse and toxicity around every corner, it’s easy to be skeptical. But what if I told you there was a love you never have to be skeptical of? A love that supports you and challenges you? A love filled with all the joy, intimacy, and trust that you have ever dreamed of, and then some? You’d shake your head, roll your eyes, or squint suspiciously. But it’s real and possible. Jesus, the greatest Lover in the universe, wants you. He’s already asked you out.
What do you think? What stood out to you about this chapter of the Bible? Why do you think God wrote these words to you?