Speaking the Truth in Love

Questions God Asks – Why Do You Cry to Me?


The last of the ten plagues on Egypt is deadly and decisive. Every firstborn child dies at midnight. No family escapes. The firstborn of the lowliest prisoner in the dungeon – dead. The firstborn of Pharaoh himself – dead. The plague throws the nation into a paroxysm of panic and grief. The Egyptians urge their Hebrew slaves to leave the country immediately.

Image result for pharohs pursuit The freed people of Israel are more than happy to oblige. They march off into the night triumphantly, defiantly. But the euphoria is short-lived. Foolish Pharaoh decides to pursue the released slaves and return them to bondage.

Now the Hebrews feel panicky. The Red Sea is in front of them. The formidable Egyptian army is behind them. Trapped. They bitterly complain to Moses. Why has he gotten them into this terrible mess? Is there a shortage of graves in Egypt? Is that why he has led them into the desert, so that they can die here instead of at home?

Moses reassures his troubled people. He tells them to calm down and trust the Lord. God hasn’t delivered them from slavery only to slay them with the Egyptian sword. God himself will fight for you, he says.

But Moses feels troubled himself. Maybe the approaching Egyptian army worries him too, or maybe the responsibility of leading such faithless people is overwhelming. Anyway, he calls out to God in desperate prayer.

Image result for exodus 14;15The Lord says, “Why do you cry to me?” (Exod. 14:15). It isn’t time to pray, Moses. It’s time to act, time for the people of Israel to move forward. It’s time for Moses to lift his rod, stretch it over the Red Sea, and divide its waters so that the Hebrews can cross over on dry ground.

Why do you cry to me? Fascinating question. Prayer isn’t an acceptable substitute for needed action. Have my spouse and I been struggling with the same issue for 10 years? Have I prayed and prayed that God would heal our marriage? Good. But maybe it’s time to stop praying and make an appointment with a marriage therapist. Am I sick of the stress created by my mounting debts? Have I prayed and prayed for God to give me the self-control to spend money within my means? Good. But maybe it’s time to stop praying and tear up my credit cards. Am I grieved by a broken friendship? Have I prayed and prayed for God to bring about a reconciliation? Good. But maybe it’s time to stop praying and just forgive.

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