Summary: God’s command was clear and unmistakable. Although obedience allowed for only one response from Israel, other options were open to them. These same options are available to us today…and with the same consequences.
GOD’S COMMAND: MAN’S FOUR OPTIONS
"And the Lord said to Moses: ’Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward." Exodus 14:15.
God’s command was clear and unmistakable. Although obedience allowed for only one response from Israel, other options were open to them. These same options are available to us today…and with the same consequences. Let’s review the four options that were available.
I. The children of Israel could have defied God and turned back.
To have done so would have meant a return to an even more grievous bondage. "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." John 6:66.
"But Jesus said to him, ’No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62.
II. The children of Israel could have defied God and turned aside.
To have done so would have assured their utter destruction at the hand of Pharaoh’s approaching army.
"So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess." Deuteronomy 5:32-33.
III. The children of Israel could have defied God and stood still.
The great faith of Moses is clearly shown in Exodus 14:13. "Moses said to the people, ’Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord."
Moses firmly believed that God would deliver Israel by His power and that Israel should stand in place before the waters of the Red Sea. But in Exodus 14:15, God rebukes Moses quite sternly, saying, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward."
But to have stood still at that time would have meant certain death for the children of Israel. Now there are times when Christians should stand still. Consider: "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. The time to stand still is when we are awaiting the command of God but once that command is given to us, we are simply to obey. The child of God dare not stand still when God has given the command to "Go forward!"
IV. The children of Israel could have obeyed and gone forward.
This is what they wisely chose to do. For when we obey Him, He assures us that He will go before us. "And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8.
The church has already been given our marching orders: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20.
Having thus received the command of our Lord, let us go forward proclaiming the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!