When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. And you, lift up your staff and with hand outstretched over the sea, split the sea in two….” This quote from today’s first reading speaks to me about the Lord empowering us to do the work of the Kingdom. It seems to me that God is showing us that he does not wish to intervene on his own. God also realizes we cannot do his work on our own. For me I hear the invitation to work with God, to be a co-worker in the world. God is empowering us to go out and be prophets, to be disciples, to become who God made us to be—co-creators. Take a moment today to pray and reflect on how God is calling us, empowering us, individually and as community, to co-create. Are you free to lift up your staff, stretch your hand out, and create a path for others?
—Amy Hoover, spiritual director and a frequent spiritual writer, is Director of the Creighton University Retreat Center, located in Griswold, IA.
Good and Gracious God, open my heart this day to ways in which you are calling me to be aware of your presence and how you empower me. Help me to understand how you are inviting me to lift up my staff, stretch out my hand, and create a path for others. I ask this in the name of your son Jesus, with the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Amen.