“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Every vehicle has the option of reversing, standing stationary or accelerating ahead. So it is with people. Every challenge offers the choice of going backwards, standing still or moving forward. For explorer and missionary pioneer, David Livingstone the choice was clear, “I will go anywhere as long as it’s forward.”
During the Israelite exodus from Egypt the people were confronted with a frightening scenario. Pursued by an enraged army and with the Red Sea before them, they cried out in desperation. The word to Moses was the same as it is to everyone in any situation.
The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15)
Despite the impossibility of the situation, Moses was emboldened to press on because of a number of factors.
In the intensity of an emergency God spoke. The word of the Lord came to the prophet, “Go forward.” It was enough to fill the leader of a nation with courage. The clear voice of God in the heat of a trial was sufficient to propel the people forward. It is the prophetic word that keeps all servants of God moving forward. “I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well.” (1 Timothy 1:18) Go forward on the word.
Having heard the word of the Lord, Moses believed it. Like the patriarchs before him, Moses accepted the word by faith. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Simply put, faith is trusting God. If God said it, his faithful character can be relied on. Faith is the essence of Christian life and service and it is what turns discipleship and pilgrimage into an adventure. “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land.” (Hebrews 11:29) Go forward by faith.
Having been instructed to, “Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea,” (Exodus 14:16) we read that, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea.” (Exodus 14:21) That is obedience. Moses had no prior experience of dividing waters, but he had learned about obedience. Faith and obedience always move people through a crisis and on to the next phase of their journey. As Mary advised, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) Go forward in obedience.
“Go forward with joyful confidence.” (George Eliot) Whatever the situation, keep pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14). Go forward.