It is well documented how much the Israelites complained on their way to the promise land. They had good reason to complain – many hardships happened to them along the way. Some would even say God was testing them on this 40 year journey.
Perhaps that is what is also happening here in our story about Parting of the Red Sea. It seems whenever Christians talk about Exodus 14 they discuss it as a miracle and not a test of faith for the Israelites. The actual passages contain a lot of discussion about the temptation of going back to Egypt and giving into Pharaoh even while they are being chased through the desert. Moses is then told by God to keep moving and reach out the staff over the sea.
It is interesting to think that one of the most remembered moments in the Bible is another test of faith for a group of people who were just delivered out of slavery. God even asks Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on!” Moses is saying God will come to help them. It is important to remember that even though God did part the Red Sea he did it through the actions of Moses. It could be argued that God was using this event to tell the Israelites that during the journey they NEED to follow and listen to Moses.
In my Old Testament studies at Lutheran High School in Rockford I was also astounded that the Israelites would always go astray – from building a golden calf to getting Moses so angry he disobeyed God and didn’t get to enter the promise land. At least that is how I read it. Those Israelites could never pull their act together!
So, what can we learn from their stories? Maybe the next time we feel lost, ask yourself: WWTID (what would the Israelites do) and do the opposite. At least that is how I see it.