Text: Exodus 14:8-15
Our text on this Father’s Day Sunday is the well-known story of Moses parting the Red Sea to enable the Israelites to leave Egypt once and for all. What is fascinating about this story is that as the Israelites become increasingly trapped between the Red Sea and the approaching Egyptian army, they start to long for their time in slavery and cry out to Moses, “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
Surely Moses is feeling like he is in a no-win situation, trapped between the orders of God and the fears of his people. This sermon really has little to do with what great guys we fathers are, but it will reflect some of the frustration of one father who said, “When I was a boy, my father was always right. Now that I am a man, my son is always right. When’s it my turn?”
Two important points stood out for me as I reread this story for the umpteenth time. First, when we find ourselves in a difficult time, it really is tempting to glorify the past, to remember all that was good about, say, our childhood and forget much that was bad. Secondly, when Moses orders the people to march forward toward the Red Sea, the waters are not yet parted. Take a wild guess how many of these desert nomads can swim. But they know instinctively that God is not behind them, but rather up ahead of them.
In these crazy days of social distancing and online worship services, let us remember the insights of this great story. God is out in front of us, calling us into his future. And we should move forward joyfully, even if we can’t swim.