And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?” (Exodus 14:10-11)
If Pharaoh followed them down the gorge (which he would have to), then to the Israelites it would seem as if he appeared “out of nowhere.” Apparently it didn’t take very long for panic to set in and then the blame game began. Though they directed their ire toward Moses, by extension, they were angry with the One Moses represented. He was the One who led them into a “death trap” to die in the wilderness. Keep in mind there were 600,000 armed men yet, conditioned by decades of servitude, they were very quick to give in to fear, doubt and a willingness to return to Egypt as slaves. The Jewish commentator Ibn Ezra said of them, “Thus had their minds become depressed and servile.”
The irony of the situation is, though they willing to serve Pharaoh, they were resistant to trust God and believe Him for their deliverance. Their attitude was, “It is better to serve Pharaoh than to die in the wilderness.” Before we think too disparagingly of them, thinking we would not have been so stubborn, the reality is we often do the same thing. How often have we been quick to give into temptation and behave as if we’re powerless to resist the flesh? Unfortunately, our past conditioned us to believe that we are destined to live a certain way; but Scripture tells us that, in Messiah, we have been given the power to become the children of God, and as such, are empowered to live as a new creature.
To accentuate this point, just when Israel was ready to surrender to whatever fate Pharaoh wished to bestow upon them, Moses told the people: “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord … For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever” (Exodus 14:13). It is important that you know the word translated as “salvation” is yeshua which is, as some of you know, the Hebrew name of the Messiah. The point is that, in Yeshua, we can overcome our past and the inclinations we were so often enslaved to. In Him we can resist the flesh and can overcome our adversary. He is the One who fights for us and it is our responsibility to trust Him for our deliverance. One day the enemy that has plagued so often will be seen no more if we trust Him.
Blessings and Shalom,