Why Do You Cry to Me?
God does not withhold any good thing from His children but our moving forward in faith is an act of appreciating His love, our dependence on Him and what we seek to receive.

Why Do You Cry to Me?

        Moses performed various miracles by unleashing ten plagues on the Egyptian people in the power of God. However most of this was carried out with no involvement of the Israelites, except on the last day when they were asked to get ready to move for the messenger of death would pass over their houses and inflict the Egyptian firstborn of man and animal alike. Years of slavery had adversely affected their thinking to such an extent that at the first glimpse of danger many wanted to surrender to Pharaoh’s army and return back to slavery. God’s plan always is to get His people free from their slavery to a human or the spiritual master completely and to strengthen them adequately to be able to resist such control in future.    

         Miracles and spiritual formation – Power of God worked in redemption of the Israelites in three phases; first phase was about move out of Egypt where it was all a display of God’s power; the second was about claiming ownership of the Promised Land through walking in faith where God would back up such steps. The third and the last one was and is about consolidation by resisting the temptations of the surrounding fallen world.  Moses performed all those miracles of bringing the ten plagues under God’s power but hereafter the people had to take the first step. Lord Jesus’ sacrifice is display of God’s power and submitting to the Lord as Savior is individual’s step to receive power and authority through the indwelling Holy Spirit to ‘resist the devil’ to make him flee. The process of sanctification is the third step where God’s power helps us get transformed into His Son’s image. 

       All phases had their respective different targets that were required to change. Moses was tasked by God, ‘And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before the Pharaoh which I have put in your hand”. The message to be conveyed to Pharaoh was in the next two verses – “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn’ (Exodus 4:21-23). Moses was empowered to lead his people out and for this power was vested in him to perform various signs and wonders and the Egyptian magicians were able to replicate first few miracles but were unable to stop the same from happening. Thus in the first phase Moses forced Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave and they left with gold, silver and clothing which the Egyptians willingly gave them (Exodus 12:35-36).

         As man is made in the image and likeness of God, in his sinful nature he wants to be independent both in physical and spiritual sense. Spiritual independence is received through independent knowledge and service of God, not with blind acceptance but conclusions drawn through own efforts in meditation and prayer with independent nature of proof of allegiance to God and not through others. This is the long drawn out process of spiritual strengthening and maturity. As slaves to the Egyptians and at Exodus, Israelites were childlike in spiritual maturity. They had no participation in the ten plagues except waiting and finally moving out and all miracles were performed by Moses and Aaron in fulfillment of covenant of God with Abraham. God’s plan of redemption is always to set free and then empower His people with power to resist and overcome such powers in future.                

         The Israelites had to be spiritually and physically mature to be one with God and face the opposition on their own independent state and this was the purpose of the route to and splitting of the Red Sea. For this, God directed them to move towards mount Baal Tzafon symbolic mountain of the only remaining Egyptian idol for others were destroyed in the ten plagues. With this maneuver, Pharaoh was confused that the idol is still in control and he can capture the Israelites again while forgetting the plagues and their effect to chase after the Israelites. At this stage the Israelites were made active partners in their freedom and to willingly follow God’s commands given through Moses. But at the first sight of the problem they forget everything and start complaining, revealing their individual spiritual maturity levels.

         Why do you cry to Me? – Once they were out of Egypt after redemption the power of God was to work only in pursuit of faith of the individuals and not directly as it happened in Egypt. Thus instead of two, God and Moses, the Israelites also became party in the battle to reach, capture and receive the Promised Land. But when they saw the Egyptian horsemen and their chariots panic set in, ‘they were afraid and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD’. One partner reacted in fear and lost faith resulting in unanswered prayers.At this Moses the second partner’s reaction and advice to them was, ‘Do not be afraid, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians that you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you and you shall hold your peace (be silent)’ (Exodus 14:13-14). This message was addressed to all the four groups that were formed among the Israelites. One group felt there was no chance to win and to therefore walk into the sea and die, to them the message was ‘stand still’. The second group desired to surrender and return to Egypt and to them the message was ‘the Egyptians that you see today, you shall see again no more forever’. The third group desired to go to battle and fight, to them the message was, ‘The LORD will fight for you’ and the fourth group wanted to pray to God and were told ‘you shall hold your peace (be silent)’. During Exodus from Egypt the Jews were passive but here God wanted them to be actively involved and reach the right decision on their own.

            The third and most important partner, God’s response was, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the children of Israel to move forward!’ (Exodus 14:15). When we are faced with a difficult situation, the best connection to God is through prayer, but why did God not desire prayers from His people in this case? Their faith was momentarily weakened and prayer was not effective, for God does not answer prayers of one who does not believe. God’s command to Moses was, when they move forward in faith then ‘lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea’. The Israelites were commanded to move first and then could the sea be parted.

          Lord Jesus declared, ‘Truly I say to you, he that believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father’ (John 14:12). It is presumed that Greek word ‘energeo’ is used here meaning the works we perform are filled with power but actually the word used is ‘ergon’, meaning to carry out a task. In Aramaic the word used is ‘evada’ which means to take action thus implying that the works we do are works of action and it is God who will supply the power. Power of God is released only in performance of the task when we step out in faith. Moses and the people had to perform a task, which was to move forward. Talmud says that initially Moses used his rod to no avail and that is why God said ‘why do you cry out to Me?’ At this command from God Moses urged the people to move forward but no one dared. It was then that Nachson filled with faith moved forward without any fear while people called out to him to stop but he continued and the water finally reached the level of his mouth. And then the sea parted revealing dry ground to move on.

        Moses or his rod had no power and it was only God’s power that was released in response to an act of faith by him to obey God’s command. We want power before we move for we waver in our faith. Lord Jesus’ teaching is that you move forward to perform the task and then the miraculous will happen in His power and authority. We reach out to many more people worldwide but His power in saving souls is only released as a result of our ergon; evada or action of moving forward. The young man who walked forward into the sea, Nachson is translated as ‘the Prince of Judah’. With one man’s faith God responded and the faith of all the Israelites is restored, strengthened and unified.

        Importance of Red Sea parting – The Israelites had been slaves for a long time, suffering indignities and making compromises and to claim the Promised Land they had to be raised to a different level of spiritual maturity. Firstly God protected them by blinding the Egyptians by placing the Pillar of Cloud in between the two while providing light to the Israelites; secondly, God honors Moses’ act of stretching his hand on the sea by parting the waters; thirdly, the Israelites walk on dry land while the Egyptians’ chariot wheels were stuck; finally causing realization of the Egyptians that the LORD ‘fights for the Israelites’ and returning of the sea to its full depth at Moses stretched hand command. The Israelites were supposed to realize that in the future battles God will not only protect and lead them but also fight for them to defeat their enemies.

      King Jehoshaphat learnt about the ‘great multitude’ of enemy forces of Moab, Ammon and of Mount Seir coming to attack and he led all of Judah to fast and seek the LORD. On assurance from God the Judean army marched out with singers in front praising God and the enemy fought with each other and died. The Israelites took 3 days to collect the bounty of valuables on the dead bodies ‘more than they could carry’ (2 Chronicles 20:1-26). God will perform miracles once we step out in faith for ‘faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead’ (James 2:17).  

      The act of redemption of mankind by the sacrifice of the Son of God, is in like manner taking out the chosen ones from the clutches of slavery to sin and Satan. Thereafter though God is always with His people but the power to fulfill the task is only available once we step out in faith. The Holy Spirit teaches us everything and empowers us to fight the devil’s daily attacks. God plans a detour for us by delaying answers to our prayers at certain times to ensure our spiritual maturity and to teach us our continued dependence on Him. We are required to ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you’. Power over demons and to heal the sick was given by the Lord Jesus to the disciples ‘And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs’ (Mark 16:17-20). He is willing and ready but are we?

         Even when we were dead spiritually in our sins, God raised us up with His Son and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms. God has provided the best of everything for us for He wants us to ‘overcome’ and claim the bounties of His riches in Lord Jesus. But to ensure our spiritual growth He may lead us on a longer path and we are to follow the ‘Shepherd of our souls’ in faith through storms or flood. He is ‘able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we may think or imagine’ and this power is released once we step forward to act in faith.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.