To some this is an unusual passage of scripture. It begins unmistakably with Moses speaking directly to the people; encouraging them not in themselves, but in the Lord. That is a good thing, right? So why (some might ask) does God then say to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me?” if it is evident that he was speaking to the people?
The Big Cover-up
Moses is guilty of something all Christians do at one time or another—he is talking boldly to cover-up the fact that he does not believe what he is saying. For all intents and purposes Moses said to Israel, “Be strong in the Lord, ” but to himself he muttered, “God, where are you?” What makes the scenario even more peculiar is that Moses probably did not realize his own doubt and faithlessness. Whether it was consciously or unconsciously, his authoritative proclamation to Israel merely served to cloak the reservation harbored in his own heart.
…For You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men. 1 Kings 8:39b
The Exodus account serves to remind us that we (like Moses) are incapable of identifying our own heart defects and that in order to see them God’s eyes are required. Those who think they know their own heart are only deceiving themselves and are placing barriers in the path of their own spiritual development. It should be our habit to persistently and continually ask the Lord to search our hearts.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24
Moses could have fussed and debated with God at this point, “Father, you know I trust you and have no doubt. Didn’t you just hear what I said to Your people?” But rather Moses chose to accept God’s rebuke without quarrel and simply chose to obey the Father’s directive. His obedience served as his confession.
But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. Exodus 14:16
We know what occurred next (the Red Sea is parted and Israel safely crosses over), but in this verse we see a specific application for today’s church as it pertains to our heart issues. The rod in the passage speaks to the measure of authority each believer has received from God, a ‘stretched-out hand’ to our obedience, and ‘the water’ (throughout the Bible) speaks to the Word of God. We can discern our hearts and God’s plan when in His authority and in our obedience, we accurately divide His Word. In so doing the Father will faithfully and powerfully reveal Him self.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15