In Exodus 14: 9-31 we read about the Israelites, their lack of faith in God and Moses, the parting of the Red Sea and their escape from the armies of the Egyptian King. The Angel of the Lord is out front of the Israelites in a great cloud. The people look back and see on the horizon a huge cloud of dust. They know the King’s armies are coming to get them. Soon the ground is shaking beneath their feet as the chariots come closer and they fuss at Moses for bringing them out of Egypt and into this mess. He tells them, “Don’t be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the LORD will do to save you today….” Like those Israelites we in times of stress cry out to God, more often in desperation and not in faith. You know the story. The Angel of the Lord and the great cloud move to the rear of the mass of people fleeing the Kings armies, blocking their way and delaying their charging in among the people; the wind begins to blow, it blows all night and the waters part exposing the sea bed. The Israelites cross over to the other side, the cloud lifts and the Kings army in its anger charges forward into the seabed…… and die.

I use the Upper Room for my morning devotional and an article submitted by Bob G. Wood from Tennessee has stayed with me for a long time. It seems there is an old joke which tells about two Israelites who were following Moses across the Red Sea just after God parted the waters. One comments to the other, “Can you imagine what this mud is doing to our sandals? They’re probably ruined.” We are a lot like those two in the story; we are so focused on the negatives and worries of our lives that we completely miss the miracles and blessings all around us. These two guys took their eyes off the horizon of hope and salvation God was providing and began to despair over the problems of this life. Those two Israelites were worried about the mud on their sandals and couldn’t see the Glory of God’s salvation waiting for them. What about the mud on our shoes, how much and from where does it come?

There is a debate going on today in the Methodist church, and believe it or not for at least the last forty years. Like the Greeks of Paul’s day we to love to debate but unlike the Greeks our debates soon lose reason and purpose; the voices are many and the words become self-serving and meaningless. We are mired in the social agendas of the day. What was once unthinkable has now become plausible? In our homes, workplace and even in the church, the place many of us go seeking refuge from the problems of everyday life and the mud clinging to our shoes, making our steps heavier and there only to discover that the Church is under attack and even within its walls we sometimes hear the rumble of the Kings chariots coming closer. For some of us it like being in a desert of despair, uncertainty, sin and a world that is increasingly attacking our Christian values? We will do well to remember Moses’ words.

“Don’t be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the LORD will do to save you today….”

The distractions and evils of this world can sometimes overwhelm us as they come between us and God’s will in our lives. I am struck by the politics of our church, the lack of civility, the language and total disregard for the truth; “Pogo once said we have found the enemy and they is us.” I am growing weary of leadership that seeks to amend scripture through endless dialog, committees that spend hours of time and resources trying to rationalize the sins of this world that are now considered the new norm. A Christian has to find the dry ground, rise above the mud of this world. We must walk a different path. Shake the mud off your shoes and keep your eyes on the horizon that you might see the love, grace, and salvation that is yours through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Don’t be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the LORD will do to save you today….”