26 January 2012
Reading: Exodus 14-16; Acts 2
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. (Exodus 14:10 MSG)
The Israelites were totally afraid! They had left their homes on foot in the middle of the night, loaded down with all they could carry. Now they were up against the Red Sea with the most powerful army in the world coming down on them – clouds of dust, clattering chariots, clanking armor. They were Totally Afraid!
I usually read through this and think how wimpy these Israelites were – didn’t they know God was going to protect them? This morning I stopped at this point and thought about it. They were totally afraid and they had good reason to be. They hadn’t the benefit of a Bible full of stories and history of provision and protection. They had just been blasted out of a lifetime of slavery and had seen a couple of weeks of incredibly destructive “Acts of God” and now they believed they were about to die!
In our highly ordered world with all its comforts, provisions, and protections, there aren’t many times when we experience sheer terror! We watch movies to see other people acting out the experience of being Totally Afraid, then when it’s over we change the channel, get a soda from the refrigerator, and pop some popcorn in the microwave.
I’m thinking about believers around the world who are facing famine or floods or drought or civil war or oppression and who are as much at risk as the Israelites were when pushed up against the Red Sea. I’m thinking about people who have just received a diagnosis of incurable cancer or other disease. I’m thinking about people who have lived with the sense of being in control of their finances who have lost businesses, investments, savings, and homes. I am thinking about my fellow Christ followers in parts of the world where being found to be a Christian means persecution or even death.
Father, I pray for protection and provision, comfort and mercy, courage and confidence, for people who are Totally Afraid today. Guide me as I take some moments for serious contemplation of the plight of suffering people. Let my prayer make a difference in me and for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.