As the Egyptians quickly approached the Israelites, there was no place for them to run. The mountains on both sides were bare, with no trees or caves to hide among. And the sea hemmed them in on the other side. It was an impossible situation! Scripture says that at this point, "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" (Exodus 14:10).
Try placing yourself in their situation. Your family is gathered around you: children, grandparents, other relatives. Suddenly you hear the rumbling of chariot wheels, the rattling of sabers, and the fierce war cry of a murderous, bloodthirsty army. Wouldn't you be afraid?
The truth is, God is patient with us when the awful flush of human fear overcomes us in a sudden crisis. Our Lord is not a hard taskmaster and He knew this would be a frightening experience for Israel. In fact, He would have been pleased with a prayer such as, "Lord, we're afraid! Yet we know You always have been faithful to deliver us. When we were in Egypt, You delivered us from the death angel and from all the plagues. We know You have the power to deliver us out of this crisis as well. Father, we commit our lives into Your hands!"
But was this Israel's cry? No! Scripture says, "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? . . . It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness" (verses 11-12).
They were being sarcastic, almost to the point of blasphemy. This certainly was not the cry of faith!
Are you facing your own crisis right now? You may ask, "What am I supposed to do in such a crisis? What happens when I'm overcome with fear because everything is coming down around me?"
Here is how God answered Israel when they faced their crisis: "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord . . . The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace" (verses 13-14). The Lord was saying to them, "The first matter you must deal with is your fear! I will fight for you and I will save and deliver you. Let that promise be your strength and drive out all your fear!"