Doing the Impossible
Crossing the Red Sea
Then the Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall camp opposite it, by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.’ I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”
“The patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him, and rescued him from all his afflictions, and enabled him to win favor and to show wisdom when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. Now there came a famine throughout Egypt and Canaan, and great suffering, and our ancestors could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there on their first visit. On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five in all; so Jacob went down to Egypt. He himself died there as well as our ancestors, and their bodies were brought back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Carroll, a man with a bit of a questionable past, is what I would call a philosopher of the absurd. Not that he was absurd himself, rather that he spent his time studying and speculating on the absurdities of life, language, and culture. In a time of extreme rationalism, he was a voice noting that there are some things in life that cannot be explained. They just are.
Pharaoh, in his rightful place as leader of the institution found this whole ordeal with the Hebrews and their God, horribly absurd. The frogs and fleas were one thing, but the death of the firstborn had cut them to the core. Now the news reached his ears that they were simply wandering around in circles out in the wilderness. It was a mockery he could not stomach.
It was horribly absurd for the Hebrew people as well. After inciting the wrath of Egypt, finally making a desperate escape, they had wandered around just outside Egypt instead of high-tailing it out of Dodge. Now, as Pharaoh gathered his army to come after them, Moses began leading them to the Red Sea. With no boat, the only thing they could rationally expect would be that Egypt would slaughter them and feed their corpses to the fish.
Then the Impossible happened.
God really did know what He was doing. While we can look back in retrospect and find some sense to it… some purpose in their footprints in the sand, we still cannot explain exactly how God did it. He just did.
Where have you witnessed God do the impossible?
Where are you waiting for God to do the impossible?