Exodus 15:13 “In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed; you guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14 The peoples heard, they trembled; pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; trembling seized the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away. 16 Terror and dread fell upon them; by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone until your people, O Lord, passed by, until the people whom you acquired passed by.”
This passage is part of the “song of Moses” the people sang after God parted the Red Sea and killed the pursuing Egyptian army.
“The peoples heard, they trembled…”
At this point God’s people were former slaves. They had been trained from birth to be submissive, docile, non-confrontational. There was not a warrior among them. Had they been required to do battle so soon after their liberation, they would surely have been destroyed. So God performed incredible acts of power on their behalf. Surrounding nations heard the stories and generally left the Israelites alone – at least for a while.
As you may know, the people wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years before beginning their occupation of the land of Canaan, the land promised them by God. The trip should have taken them a small fraction of that time. Why so long? Well, there are multiple reasons for this, but perhaps one reason was the need for the entire generation of adults (former slaves) to die so that a new generation, not raised in the context of slavery, could occupy the land – and keep it.
Sometimes… we’re just not ready. We’re not ready to do what God wants us to do. We need more time. We need more maturity. God will send us when we’re ready, but until then… we wait. Some of us are in that place now. Waiting. Watching. Wondering when God will open the door to our future. Wondering if it will happen at all! How long, O Lord?
Heavenly Father, some of us feel like we’re in a holding pattern. We think we’re ready. We want to move NOW into the future we believe you have for us, but instead we wait. Give us grace to trust your timing, dear Lord. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.