Our past seems to keep following us. We don’t know how to get rid of it, especially those who have a dark one. Why can’t those bad and tormenting memories go away? How can we forget them? We just wish we lose our memory in a way or another just to stop having those nightmares.
In the Old Testament we read a powerful story. That story is about a people being hunted by their past.
After 430 years, the people of Israel finally got the chance to break loose, to be free from the Egyptian slavery and bondage. Imagine being tormented for so long that you don’t remember what freedom is like. Those people could not keep their male babies. Only the girls are to be kept with their families. The boys? Must be thrown in the river – the Nile River.
The people cried for the One who is in the sky. “Save us from this misery. Send us a savior who would set us free. We are being tormented day and night. We are building towns and cities that are not our own. They are whipping us. Can’t you see the pit we’re in? Look toward us and help us.” For years the people cried out to God wishing He would listen. Finally God listened.
He sent them Moses, a Hebrew man who was thrown in the river as a baby but Pharaoh’s daughter took him out of the water and raised him to be her child, that’s why she called him Moses anyways. Moses was raised in the palace yet he knew he was a Hebrew. He wanted to deliver his people from the slavery and at 40 years old he tried to do so but failed. Forty years later, Moses was sent by “I am who I am” to do wonders and miracles in the sight of the Egyptians. After 10 plagues, which the last of them was to kill the firstborn of all of them including pharaoh’s son, they asked them to leave the land. And so they left!
God who delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians, have led them to the Red Sea. Their future now is the sea. Their present, the seashore. Their past, the Egyptian army hunting them. They thought it would be a peaceful journey. They thought of taking the shortcut but God didn’t accept that. “Let’s take the long road”, He said. They followed him until they watched the Egyptian army running after them. “We are trapped”, they screamed. “The sea in the front and the army from behind. We’re definitely doomed. Is this why you took us out of Egypt? To die here in the wilderness?” Who can envy them? Well I don’t. I don’t want to be in such a place where a whole army is following me to kill me and there is no place to go except a sea that is impossible to pass through with all my luggage. Yet I, and pretty sure you as well, find myself in such a place every now and then.
Old sins reappearing in my life, bondages I thought I broke loose of seems to never have been broken. Memories of people hurting me, or any other bad memory, hunt me like a lion hunts a gazelle. Torment! Add to that, an invisible future! What to do next? “Lord, is this the place where you want me to be at? The future seems to be scarier than the past. It’s the Red Sea up there. Are you with me? What shall I do?”… That was the cry of Moses as well.
God said “Why are you crying to me? Lift the rod and the sea will be divided in two. You will pass on dry ground.” Moses forgot that his rod became the rod of God. He forgot when he used it to bring all the 10 plagues. But in such a time, who would remember what? It’s death surrounding him from all sides. Same with us. It might not be a physical death, but of course it’s a psychological one and maybe spiritual one. Death, death, death…
Moses lift the rod. The Leader moved. And so should we. Every one of us has some leadership skills hidden somewhere in our personality. The leader part in us is able to hear God in such situations. When we are all freaked out, we can still hear God saying “Move forward for I am with you”.
Once Moses lift the rod, the presence of God stood between the Egyptians and the people of Israel. His presence was a cloud to the Egyptians not allowing them to see, but for the Israelites, it was fire showing them where to go. When you move on God’s word, you will be protected from your past, and His presence will light the way for you to pass in the middle of the sea – the unknown – and reach the other side.
The Egyptians didn’t give up. They pursued the Israelites into their future. On their way, God asks Moses to lift the rod again and the sea will return to its place. The sea returned and the Egyptians were killed by it. Your past will keep hunting you, but as you move forward, having God on your side, the future who frightened you, will devour your past and all that will remain from it is a memory with no effect at all.
Move forward and believe God. Use what God has given you and never turn back to Egypt. Never go back to your past. We forget what is behind and we move to what lies ahead by the grace of God.
PS: You can find the Story in Exodus 14.