Why Worry?

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But 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. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. (Exodus 14:13-20)

What are you so worried about? When God asked Moses “why do you cry to me?” God is not wondering why Moses is asking for help. Instead, he’s asking, in essence, “why are you yelling at me?” God questioned where the panic was coming from, much as Jesus thought it odd that the disciples were so afraid of the storm as they crossed the Sea of Galilee. Moses had just spent months if not years standing before Pharaoh, the ruler of the most powerful nation on Earth, and he’d seen God destroy the country with a series of ten plagues. And now he was going to let a little thing like a deep sea in the way make him think that now they were doomed? God’s wondering, “What? Did I go somewhere? You think I brought you this far just to let you fail? Get your hopes up and then dash them? Do you think that’s what I’m all about?” But of course that’s exactly what Moses and the Israelites were thinking: they were human beings after all. Human beings all too commonly fear that God is going to let them down.

We secretly believe that for us will be unpleasant and probably involve being hungry and barefoot in a bug infested jungle where we’ll die a miserable death. God’s response to Moses and the Israelites was not much more than an eye roll, followed by reassurance that he had the problem well under control. God is neither capricious nor cruel. He loves us. He wants us to believe that so we’ll stop worrying and just enjoy today.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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