(1) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
(2) Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
Tactically speaking, sending the people of Israel to Pihahiroth as they escaped from Egypt was a tactical mistake. The only advantage that Pihahiroth had was that it was a large swath of land big enough to hold the escaping Israelites, but it left them vulnerable. The path to this place was hedged in by trees and terrain on either side and the land itself dead ended at the Red Sea. So, there was no place to escape.
Pharaoh knew this. God was counting on it.
Obedience to God can leave us vulnerable. Sometimes following His way makes no sense, not to your enemies and not to God’s own people.
Moses was trained by the Egyptians. So, like Pharaoh, he understood military tactics. As a military man leading a bunch of untrained former slaves, he had to know that leading the Israelites to Pihahiroth was a huge mistake. But he also knew he had God with him.
(10) And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
(11) And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
Moses obeyed God and things were just not working out. There are many servants of God who know that feeling. God has called them to a mission field or to some other ministry. They know going in that this is what God wants for them and then everything falls apart.
Moses’ response to the people and their current dilemma?
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (Exodus 14:14)
The people were in a panic. Moses ordered calm and trusted the Lord. Then God did the impossible. He parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-31). The children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. When the Egyptians sought to pursue them, God pulled the wheels off their chariots and had the sea swallow them up. Then, the same people who had criticized Moses and questioned his faith started singing God’s praises (Exodus 15).
Why does God give us a calling and then seem to pull the rug out from under us? Well, it only seems that way because all we can see is what is right in front of us. It takes faith to know that God has the big picture in clear view the whole time. As He instructed Moses on what to do next, He told him why He allowed this apparent tactical blunder in the first place:
And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. (Exodus 14:17)
God said something similar to His prophet Ezekiel to encourage him in his difficult ministry:
Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 38:23)
Maybe right now you are following God’s call and your circumstances are telling you you’re wrong. Remember the God Who brought you here and the clear guidance He gave you up to this point and just trust Him to part the Red Sea. The same God Who helped Moses will help you.