Put yourself in the sandals of an Egyptian television reporter around 1446 B.C. (I know—just play along.) All of Egypt has been a-buzz in recent days about the unheard of plagues afflicting the inhabitants of the land—all the inhabitants except the Hebrew slaves. The slaves’ leader, Moses, who was raised from an infant in the royal household, has demanded that Pharaoh let the Hebrews go free and journey to the land given by God to their forefathers—the Promised Land of Canaan.
When the last plague took Pharaoh’s first-born son, the great ruler gave in and told Moses to take his people and leave Egypt. But no sooner had the Hebrew slaves left the city of Ramses, headed for the Sinai wilderness, than Pharaoh set out after them in hot pursuit. He cornered them at the edge of the Red Sea—their backs were to the wall (of water). The Hebrews’ only options were to surrender to Pharaoh and return to Egypt as slaves (unacceptable), fight (and lose), or take their chances in the water (and drown). Things weren’t looking good for God’s chosen people.
You, as the television reporter, have rushed with your live-broadcast crew to the edge of the wilderness to film this standoff between one of the world’s most powerful armies and a rag-tag crowd of nearly two million slaves. Making your way along the back edge of the multitude you begin interviewing various Hebrews. Their answers are predictable: “We’re doomed!” “We’re going to die!” “We never should have left Egypt!”
Suddenly, a murmur, then shouts of amazement, sweep through the crowd as a giant wind divides the Red Sea waters, creating a dry pathway through the sea to the opposite shore . . . . God rescued the fledgling Hebrew nation by a mighty miracle!
Wrapping up your live coverage, you tell your audience, “I have to say, folks, I never saw that coming. And I don’t think the Hebrews did either. This was a one-of-a-kind miracle of deliverance!”
Our One-of-a-Kind God
The Bible is filled with stories of God doing one-of-a-kind acts on behalf of His people. And in every case, because every act is unique, the objects of God’s actions never saw Him coming in the way He did.
If you are a parent with children, think about how you respond to their needs: You rarely ever do the same thing twice. Each child is unique and every situation is different. As a parent, cookie cutters are fine for making batches of identical treats, but not for solving the problems of life. Though your children might not express it in so many words, there are probably many times when they could say, “Wow, Mom, you really came through; I never saw that coming!”
When we read in Scripture of the unique, personalized ways God dealt with each of His children—or even with a nation-sized group like the Hebrew slaves at the Red Sea—we are reminded of how God is able to meet our needs as well. At least we should be. But there is an irony involved: At the very moment we need our greatest faith, we find our faith wavering. Why? Because we cannot imagine how God will intervene on our behalf or make His will known. Why? Because our imagination is limited to only those situations we know about from our experience, the experience of others, or the record of Scripture.
But that’s the whole point! What God has done in the past is not the measure of what He will do in our life. God is a one-of-a-kind God who does unique things to meet the needs of His unique children. Our faith should not be based only on what we know God has done for others but on Who we know He is—the God without limits. There is no limit to His power and creativity when it comes to meeting the needs of His children.
I believe God allows us to get into such unique situations in life so He can demonstrate His unique ability to show up in ways we never anticipated, in ways we never saw coming. In the unique events in our life where God is our only hope, He is free to demonstrate His power, His unique plan for our lives, His providence (what we like to call “coincidences”), and His passion as a father for rescuing His children.
This is a good reminder of how God has shown up in the most unlikely situations in the most unique ways—in Moses’ life and the lives of others. That’s not to say He will do exactly the same in your life. But it is to say that He will do something—and most likely, something you never saw coming!
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information on Turning Point, go towww.DavidJeremiah.org.