Exodus 14 is one of my favorite chapters in the Old Testament. Besides containing the amazing miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, I also appreciate the commentary on human nature contained in these verses. It’s easy to look at the children of Israel and roll our eyes, but to me, they represent the human nature in all of us that can tend toward complaint, fear, pain avoidance, and false narratives (which, ironically, cause us more pain). Life isn’t easy, and barriers come along the way that can leave us feeling a lot like they did.
There are also some amazing life mantras from Moses in this chapter, such as “fear ye not, stand still” and “hold your peace.”
But God had something to add to Moses’ words to the people. It was, “Go forward.”
I sometimes imagine the children of Israel looking at the sea of water in front of them and thinking, “Um, Moses, we are being chased and there’s this thing called the Red Sea in our way. We are trapped! We have plenty of things to be afraid of here! Could you get real and take us back to where things were predictable?” [Sometimes even misery can be preferred to the unknown, simply because it’s known.]
Moses knew that things would be okay. How? Because he was listening to the Lord, and he was ready to follow the instructions he had received.
What’s fascinating to me is that the instructions he received were relatively simple. He was told to speak and to hold up his staff.
In The Church of Jesus Christ, we have additional books of scripture that shed more light on the story of Moses and the children of Israel. One such scripture is found in Doctrine and Covenants 8:-2-3.
Here Jesus Christ (the same God — known as Jehovah in the Old Testament — who guided and helped Moses in the deliverance of the children of Israel) is talking through the prophet Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery. Oliver was helping as a scribe when Joseph was translating the plates on which the ancient scripture found in The Book of Mormon were written.
In this chapter, the Lord teaches about how divine guidance from Him works.
2 [B]ehold, I will atell you in your mind and in your bheart, by the cHoly Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation…
These verses describe how any of us can receive answers and guidance from the Lord, through the Holy Ghost.
But the second part of verse 3 is stunning to me:
…behold, this is the spirit by which Moses abrought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
How did Moses part the Red Sea? He simply received and followed revelation. He acted in faith on the relatively simple instructions he received. He responded and trusted.
And then the Lord parted the sea.
And Moses stretched out his hand over the asea; and the Lord bcaused the csea to dgo back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea edry land, and the fwaters were gdivided. (Exodus 14:21)
Sometimes it can feel like we are facing an impossible Red Sea in our lives. The Lord’s teaching through Joseph Smith about the parting of the Red Sea gives me hope for such times. All we have to do is get guidance for our relatively simple part (our “next right thing(s)”) and then watch to see how the Lord will help clear the way forward.
Other miracles in the Bible share a similar message. Just go wash in the Jordan. Just make this cake first. Just look at the serpent on the pole (see how this and other stories abotu Moses and the children of Israel get some wonderful attention in the Book of Mormon). Just let those carrying the ark of the covenant put their toes into the water. Take a step into (or onto) the water. Just wash this spittle off your eyes. Just draw some water from that well.
Just “Follow me.”
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our prophet today points us to Jesus. He says, “Hear Him.” We can hear Him through a living prophet (like a Moses in our day) . And if we seek the Lord’s guidance in our lives, He’ll keep giving us personal guidance as well that can allow even more of His power and peace to flow.
What’s your next right step that the Lord is inviting you to do? Don’t focus on the sea in front of you, focus on Him, and let Him part the sea in His time and way.
Just Hear Him...”in your mind and in your heart…by the Holy Ghost…which…is the spirit of revelation.”
This post is edited from the original.