Moses shaded his eyes as he peered over his shoulder at the swarm growing larger on the horizon.
The ground shook and the waters rippled as angry Pharaoh and his army moved closer and closer. Moses gazed at the huge sea in front of him. The Israelites were packed like sardines around him, their terrified eyes full of questions. Where do we go now? Why would God bring us out here to die? Does He love us? Though Moses, too, felt the fear crawling in his belly, he knew the answer to all their questions. “Everyone! Listen to me! Your God does love you. He isn’t surprised that we are stuck here. God is planning to rescue us. Do you know what He wants us to do? Nothing! Just zip your lips and open your eyes. Watch and see your God save you.”
Hoofbeats pounded behind them as the Egyptians closed in. The Israelites were trapped. Moses took a step forward, lifted up his old wooden staff, and stretched out a shaky wrinkled hand over the sea. Gasps rose from the mouths of the Israelites as the waters of the Red Sea split in two and dry earth appeared before them. “Go!” yelled Moses. And the Israelites went. Some stared at the walls of water and tiptoed through, worried that at any moment they might come crashing down and drown them all. Others ran through, skipping and hopping with happiness, confident that God would hold the water back until they were across. Whether they cautiously crept or rapidly ran, every single Israelite made it to safety. The Egyptians saw the Israelites exit the floor of the sea, so they tried to follow them. Instead of holding back the curtains of water, God let go and Pharaoh and his army disappeared beneath the waves. Their enemies were gone. God’s people were saved.
“Watch and see,” God had said to the Israelites when they were trapped in an impossible spot, unable to save themselves. We also were trapped in our impossible sin that ruled our hearts. We couldn’t save ourselves, but Jesus came into our world and said, “Watch and see.” At the cross, Jesus took all the punishment that we should have had for our sins. He held back the curtain of God’s anger so that we could safely cross into God’s arms. Some of us look at Jesus with small faith, wondering, Is He too good to be true? Others of us look at Jesus with big faith, trusting that He is even better than what our brains can understand. Whether we hope in Jesus with small faith or with big faith, every single one of us who trusts in Him will be saved.
Why do you think God trapped the Israelites between the Red Sea and the Egyptians? Why didn’t He take them a different way or somehow stop the Egyptians from coming after them?
When we look at all that God had to do to save us—that His own Son had to die on the cross—what does that say about our sin?
This Advent devotional resource was produced by The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. The original resource can be found here.