Fear will prompt complaining.
We think that perhaps God doesn’t understand my circumstances. Perhaps God has forgotten about me. Perhaps God doesn’t deliver on all his promises — and I need to take care of things myself.
So, we start complaining.
That’s what the Israelites did to Moses.
The mass of Israelite people who had gathered on the banks of the Red Sea looked up to see six hundred of the pharaoh’s best chariots thundering down upon them.
Maybe the Israelites did have a good reason to be terrified. Even though God had just miraculously delivered His people from Egyptian slavery, the sight of a formidable army would certainly get my attention. The key is how are we going to respond.
Confronting the face of adversity can cause short-term memory loss. We quickly forget all the times God has blessed and provided for us in the past when we have faced an uncertain present and a unpredictable future.
It was fear that caused the Israelites to respond by complaining. They were even willing to bargain away their freedom to save their lives. They were willing to be enslaved than fall victim to the sword. They didn’t trust that God would deliver them — again.
Sometimes we do the same thing.
We would rather be enslaved by fear rather than experience the freedom of trusting God.
Fear is a byproduct of a false sense of security. By trusting the world to provide and to protect, we are enslaved by the world. We end up choosing to settle by existing off the crumbs from the table of what God provides rather than feasting at the table of God’s care.
Freedom experiences the presence of the Holy Spirit by placing our dependence upon Him. By exercising trust, we receive opportunities to grow in our knowledge of God. Adversity then becomes one of the greatest gifts God gives us to exercise our trust in Him.
For these reasons, Moses cries out to the people, “Don’t Fear! Trust God will take care of you. He will fight for you. Just quit striving and wait upon Him.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
But there is something more.
True freedom is experienced when we exercise it. Freedom remains a concept unless we use it. Conquering fear means taking off the chains of fear that keeps us imprisoned.
It means to stop complaining and start walking.
Right after Moses encourages his people, God says to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?” Tell the Israelites to move on.” (v. 15)
How can God deliver His people if they remain on the banks of the Red Sea cowering in fear? God is saying, “What are you waiting for? Trust me. I’ve got this. You know what you need to do. So do it!”
Circumstances don’t seem so overwhelming when we trust that the Lord’s got our back. The Lord daily delivers us when the threatening chariots of fear are wiped out in the seas of His grace.
Complaining is absorbed by rejoicing when we turn to trust God’s promises.