Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.
—Exodus 14:15

For Moses and the Israelites, the sign that they were about to experience a new beginning was a change in Pharaoh’s attitude. After refusing Moses’ appeals to “Let my people go,” Pharaoh finally relented. The Israelites took advantage of Pharaoh’s sudden policy shift and headed out in the middle of the night on their march toward the Promised Land.

Moses and the Israelites knew where they wanted to go. Their 400-year intermission in Egypt had given them plenty of time to work out their “second-act script” for when their circumstances changed. When Pharaoh said, “Go!” they were ready to move. However, a giant obstacle stood between their painful past in Egypt and their promised future in Canaan: the Red Sea. With an Egyptian army pursuing them from behind and a massive body of water in front of them, the Israelites could either be slaughtered or drowned. Not much of a choice. But then God commanded them to do something that seemed absolutely absurd: “Tell the sons of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15).

Was God directionally challenged? Going forward meant drowning in the sea God had created. Of course, you know what happened next: God miraculously parted the Red Sea, creating a path of dry land on which the Israelites could travel safely to the other side.

I have often reflected on the person in this story who demonstrated the greatest amount of faith. No, it wasn’t Moses, who stood with his arms outstretched. To me, the most courageous character was the first Israelite who stepped onto the land that moments earlier had been the bottom of the Red Sea. Think of the faith it took to lead that group between those walls of water that could have come crashing down at any moment. But God had said, “Go forward” and that unnamed Israelite believed that the same God who had miraculously released Israel from Pharaoh’s stranglehold could be trusted to deliver them safely to the other side. When God said, “Go,” this unsung hero knew it was time for his and Israel’s new beginning.

What about you? Are you ready to admit that your failure was primarily your fault and no one else’s? Have you acknowledged your mistake to God and received His unconditional forgiveness? Have you taken time to reflect on the cause of your failure as well as the future you would like to experience? If so, don’t be surprised if you begin experiencing some major changes in your life that are God’s way of telling you, “Go forward.” The same God who has brought you to this point will lead you safely to the other side.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know How to Start Over When I’ve Blown It?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.