In Exodus 14, the Israelites had left Egypt and were near the Red Sea. When they looked up, they saw Pharaoh and his army quickly approaching. When they realized they were trapped, they panicked. They yelled at Moses and cried out to God for help. I love God’s response to them. He said in verse 13, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (NLT) Moses then raised his staff and parted the waters for them to go through.
How many times have we been panicked and have cried out to God for help? I don’t know if I can count that high! I’ve spent many nights begging God for help in desperate situations. I’ve felt hopeless as I’ve cried out needing Him to act on my behalf. I can imagine what they were feeling in that moment. But God’s response to them was not what I expected. “Why are you crying out to me?” God had already told them what to do and where to go.
I wonder how many times God is saying that to us. How many times has He tried to tell us, “Get moving”? How much time have we used on panicked prayers when God is looking for us to have some action? They were at a seemingly dead end, but God still said, “Get moving!” You and I have not come to a greater dead end than they were at. If God told them they could move forward, I believe He’s telling us to move forward.
There’s a time to pray and a time to act. If God has called you to do something and you’re at a dead end, move forward in the direction He told you to go. Take that step of faith and watch the waters part. God honors big faith. Hold your hands up over the waters that stand before you and your destination, trust God to part them, and move forward. He didn’t call you to a dead end. He called you to see with faith what your eyes cannot see. Trust in His calling and get moving.
In II Chronicles 20, several armies joined together to attack Judah (lower Israel in the divided kingdom). King Jehoshaphat was terrified and not sure what to do when he heard the news. He immediately sent out word to all the towns to send people to Jerusalem to fast and pray. While they were assembled, he prayed aloud for everyone to hear. In verse 12, he prayed something that is key for all of us to pray in such situations. He said, “We do not know what to do, but we look to you for help” (GNT).
Then, the Spirit of the Lord came on a Levite named Jahaziel. He spoke several things to them, but the part I want to focus on comes from verse 15. He said, “The Lord says you must not be discouraged or be afraid… The battle depends on God, not on you.” That should offer relief to you and I. The battles we are facing don’t depend on our ability, but God’s. We don’t have to be afraid of what we are facing because our God is bigger and more powerful.
The Israelites had to show up to the battle in order to win it according to the prophesy. The same is true for us. To calm his men down, King Jehoshaphat told them, “Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will stand your ground. Believe what His prophets tell you, and you will succeed.” Faith is more than just showing up for the battle. It’s trusting what God says despite what you see. If we want success, we have to trust His report more than what our eyes and others tell us.
What happened next is incredible and also a great lesson for us. The king ordered that they praise the Lord for the victory before the battle! When they began to praise, it threw the enemy into a panic, and they defeated themselves. They renamed the valley “Baracah” which means the valley of praise. Praise is one of our most powerful weapons. We need to use it before our battles because God dwells in the praises of His people. God can turn your valley of fear and desperation to a valley of praise if you will look to Him, depend on His ability, show up for the battle, and praise Him.