So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 13:18)
As we were sharing yesterday, though the children of Israel left Egypt fully equipped for war, they were not fully prepared for it. Outwardly they were an army but inwardly they were still slaves. The sword may have been in their hands but it was not in their heart. They weren’t prepared to do battle because they did not have the strength of heart to do so. A modern Jewish commentator, Rabbi Hirsch, wrote:
“It was not the sword at their side that was lacking, but the heart underneath that failed…they lacked the spirit of trustfully putting themselves in God’s hands under any and all circumstances.”
When it comes to God’s people, the outward appearance is not the most important issue -– what lies within the heart of God’s people matters most. Still, many put a premium on what the outside looks like and, sometimes, emphasize looking the part at the expense of behaving in a biblical fashion. In Israel’s case, God knew this and consequently did not lead them directly into war. He knew that the war for the land would reveal the warrior and the slave! You see, a crisis doesn’t make the man, it reveals the man. What is on the outside should be a true reflection of what is on the inside.
When Samuel was sent to anoint the king of Israel, he looked upon one of the older sons of Jesse and considered that he must be the chosen one. To that the LORD said:
“Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
So if we are going to go to war against our adversary, it is important that we no longer consider ourselves slaves to sin but free and liberated people. We must be a people who carry the Word of God in our hearts and proclaim it with our mouths. May it be that, in days ahead, every crisis we encounter reveals us to be the man and woman that God has called us to be.
Blessings and Shalom,