Enter In to a New Beginning

Caught between a rock and a hard place.  We all know that experience of no way forward and no way back.  The Israelites knew that terrifying experience very well.  They escaped slavery in Egypt and camped on the shores of the Red Sea.  However, the Egyptians didn’t want to lose their slave labor, and so their mighty army pursued the Israelites and trapped them at the edge of the sea.  The Israelites were caught between death by drowning and death by swords and spears.

However, the Israelites were also caught between God’s guidance and protection.  The glorious cloud of God’s guiding and protecting presence surrounded them and lit up their darkness.  An angel was there too, for good measure.  The waters that had been the Israelites roadblock to freedom divided to create a pathway forward.  What had been a watery dead end became the means to their new lives as free people. 

This is a profound story of God’s guidance, protection, and deliverance.  It’s also a story of saying YES to God.  The Israelites had to jump onto that pathway between walls of water to journey forward.  They had to trust that the watery death they feared had transformed into the new life they longed for.


Exodus 14

 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.  The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.  He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”             — Exodus 14


Reflect on this week’s scripture.  Are there any words or ideas that especially resonate with you or challenge you?

  • It’s easy to see God’s guidance and protection in a dramatic story like this one, but harder in our own lives, especially when we are going through challenging times.  But God guides and protects us, just as much as the Israelites.  Look back over your life, when and where have you been stuck with no apparent way out?  How did God guide and protect you?  How did unexpected ways open up for you?

  • Where does God’s guiding and protecting presence show up in your daily life?  We each have people, places, practices, etc. that are our pillars of cloud and angels of God.  What are yours?

  • What pathways between the walls of water might God be encouraging you to jump onto?  What new beginnings do you long to jump into?


Guiding and Protecting God, There are so many ways I long to say yes to you. Open my eyes to your presence with me.

Comfort me when my fears surround me.

Grow my trust as I jump into my new beginnings.