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Immerse: Beginnings, Week 6


Have you ever been helpless?  Have you ever been in a circumstance in which you were completely dependent upon someone else helping you or providing aid, advice or physical assistance? It may have been as simple as dropping your keys while carrying two arms full of grocery bags and a two-year-old (did I say simple?!?!) or maybe more complex like the time you tried to move the couch by yourself down the stairs, and you somehow managed to pin yourself to the wall with the couch. I’ve even seen videos from YouTube with examples of adults trying to slide through the tunnels and other elements from a children’s playground set only to get stuck in them with no way to get out.  Whatever the circumstance may be, it is an awful feeling to be so helpless with no way of escape on your own part.  It’s a humbling experience needing to be rescued by someone else when you are unable to help yourself.

Israel was helpless. In fact, they were helpless many times, but one of the most significant times in which they were helpless is from our reading this week.  On day 26 we return to our story with Israel finally leaving the land of Egypt. The plagues have all come. All the firstborn of Egypt are dead. The Pharaoh is in mourning, and he has finally relented and ordered all of the Hebrews to leave Egypt.

What should seem like a huge celebratory moment for the newly emancipated slave labor force quickly turns into panic and helplessness as Moses led the people into the wilderness. When Pharaoh came to his senses and realized what he had done by letting all of the Hebrews go (600,000 men plus women & children!), he quickly moved with his forces to recapture his workforce and return them to Egypt.  Israel was camped out by the Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s armies of chariots, horses and soldiers quickly moved in on them.  It was a helpless situation. The broad and expansive Red Sea on one side and the swift and powerful army of Pharaoh on the other. There was nothing they could do.

That’s when the fear kicked in.  The grumbling. The complaining. The panic. All the Hebrews began to lament the fact they ever left Egypt. They were helpless then, and they are even more helpless now.  At least in Egypt, they would have been helpless with a full belly and a place to lay their head, but out here it was all helpless and no hope.
Then Moses spoke up and planted a seed of hope. Hope of survival. Hope of deliverance. Hope of rescue. “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.”  Isn’t that the perfect synopsis of helpless?  Just stand still.  Don’t move. Be quiet.  Stop moving.  And let God help you. Let God rescue you. Let God be God and do what only God can do.

If you know the story, then you know what happened next. The wind blew, the water parted and the ground dried out. Rescue was provided. Help to the helpless and hope to the hopeless.

When’s the last time you panicked? When’s the last time you got yourself into even more trouble by trying to get out of a helpless circumstance on your own? When’s the last time you grumbled or complained about something you couldn’t do anything about? When was the last time you needed rescue? If you’re like me, then it probably wasn’t that long ago.

Stop. Listen. Don’t move. Don’t talk. Just let God be God and do what only God can do.  Let Him rescue you from the little things as He reminds you He has already rescued you from the big things.

Colossians 1:13 – “For He has RESCUED us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
If He can rescue you from the big things which make you feel helpless, I’m confident He’ll rescue you from all those little things we entangle ourselves with each and every day. Just remember to let God be God and do what only God can do.

- Pete Ramsey