Lord I Believe; Help My Unbelief - Part II
“And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians?” — Exodus 14:11-12
God had miraculously delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. It had taken several months because Pharaoh had made things harder, offered some compromises, and repeatedly refused to let them go. Now the Israelites were free and headed for the promised land where they could live for the Lord.
But it wasn’t long before Pharaoh changed his mind and went after them with his army. The Israelites could look back and see his army chasing them. They were scared to death and complained to God. They also asked Moses why he had ever brought them out of Egypt believing they would have been better off had they never left Egypt than to die in the wilderness. They had told Moses then to leave them alone in their slavery. There is no biblical record they actually said that, but it was easier to minimize how bad it had been back in Egypt than to deal with their immediate danger.
In essence the Israelites were saying, “Stop trying to help us because every time you do things get worse, not better. They were implying that God—not Pharaoh or Satan—was their problem. It is true that every time a person takes a step of faith toward God, Satan is going to attack to distract from the initial problem, which had been oppressive slavery, to focus instead on the immediate situation. That is not caused by God, but rather by Satan. This is to try to convince the believer to stop believing God and ignore all that God has done in the process.
God had already performed 15 outstanding miracles to get the Israelites to where they were, and Satan was trying to get them to give all of that up by deceiving them into believing that they had been better off in slavery in Egypt.
They had not yet learned to trust God, even though He had told them ahead of time what He was going to do. They responded in unbelieving fear and blamed God and Moses for the attack of Pharaoh.
This was especially true when God had told them ahead of time that Pharaoh was going to change his mind and come after them, but that He would be “honored”—glorified and exalted— for prevailing over the Egyptians. In fact He told them not to fear, but to stand still—stop depending on what they thought they could do, and stop complaining—and then they would see the Lord fighting for them, and in that day they would see the Egyptian army destroyed.
It was similar to when the Psalmist said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). He told Moses to hold up his rod and divide the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross on dry ground. The angel of the Lord came between Israel and the Egyptian army and stopped them from attacking, so the Israelites could walk through the Red Sea on dry ground with the water walled up on both sides. After the Israelites got across, God caused the Red Sea to close up and destroyed the entire Egyptian army who had come after them.
In every situation, believers must choose to simply believe and obey God instead of falling back and depending on who they are and what they can do. God told the Corinthians to “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). That means Christians should not allow themselves to be controlled by what they see or feel, but rather by God and His Word. That does not mean they should ignore reality, but rather follow God, who is bigger than all of their circumstances.