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"YOU Do It"

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on."

—Exodus 14:15

Woah, woah, woah, God.

Say WHAT!?

Perhaps I typed that out wrong. Does that really say what I think it says?!

Let's read it a bit slower:

The Book of Exodus. Chapter fourteen. Verse fifteen. Says this:

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on."

Um, HELLO!? Not cry out to God??? Isn't that our job!?!

I will never forget the first time I read this passage of Scripture. I was new and excited about my faith, was glad to have a God to call on when I needed Him, and then I came across this scary verse—where God is asking Moses why he would even dare.

If you could imagine, my first thought was:

What kind of God is He!?!

But, it was when I grew stronger in my faith and learned to study the verses I didn't understand rather than avoid them, was when I realized just how powerful this verse is.

It's a verse that I see fitting as we exit the old and enter the new year, as this verse was recorded in a similar situation for the Israelites. They were just about to exit the old—years of Egyptian slavery, and enter into the new—the land that God had promised them, a land flowing with milk and honey.

But, just like in every moment of transition, there was conflict.

In this case, the Israelites were absolutely closed in. They had their enemies, the Egyptians, coming close behind them, and in front of them? The Red Sea.

It's safe to say the Israelites were in trouble.

And, what do good Christian boys and girls do when they're in trouble?

They cry out to God. Right!?

Right! So, why did God correct Moses for doing exactly that!?

You'll read in Exodus 14:14, the Scripture right before our beginning verse, that Moses instructed this to the Israelites in this tense moment of escape:

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

And, if I had it my way, the story would stop there. Every Israelite would sit down, shut up, and watch God work...

But wait!

There's still verse 15.

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on."

I'll say it again:


It's interesting if you think about it. Moses is telling the Israelites to be still, but God is telling the people to move on.

Mind you—and don't forget—as of right now, the Israelites can't move...anywhere!

They've got a big sea ahead of them and their enemies behind them.

Like, c'mon Lord. Where EXACTLY are they going to go?

Well, this, my friends, is an answer God gives in the very next verse—verse 16:

Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.

Oh...okay, sure! Well, I certainly didn't think of that one, God! Literally.

I mean, are You serious!? Splitting an entire sea in half?

Well...I'd like to see it!

And not only see it, but I want to see YOU do it, Lord.

And yet, in verses 15-16, God said something that completely knocked my theology out the water. He looked at Moses and said:

"You do it."

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground."

So, you mean God—in all of His strength and power, the One who spoke the sea into existence and could very well evaporate the water in an instant—questioned why Moses would rather wait on God than use what was in his hand to move forward?

You bet.

And, though God was completely capable of splitting the sea without the raising of Moses' staff and the stretching of his hand, He wasn't going to split it without him?

That's right.

And, this, readers, demonstrates a lovely picture about the character of God:

He is mighty enough to split a sea, but He refuses to raise your staff.

Perhaps something you need to read as we enter the new decade.

If God nearly laughed at Moses for telling the Israelites to be still, then He's getting a pretty good chuckle out of you thinking He's going to do your job.

That's right. Now I'm talking about you.

Perhaps you've been mistaken this past Christmas season because God is not Santa Clause. He's not a genie. Just because you've prayed over this next decade until you were blue in the face doesn't mean you don't have any work to do.

I'm writing to those of you who think God is just going to "do it" one day—that God will bless a business you've put no effort in starting, that He'll write the book for you just because you've thought about it. For those of you who are waiting on God to move, but haven't even taken any steps yourself.

Exodus 14:15 shows us that this isn't how it works.

God is totally capable of doing incredible things on His own, but He's not interested in doing it without you.

The story behind Moses' staff provides a bit more context.

Way back in Exodus chapter 4, God asks Moses another challenging question. In verse 2, He asked:

"What's in your hand?"

And, Moses replied:

"A staff."

Then, down in verse 17, God gives him this instruction: "...take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."

Do you see it?

Read it again!

"...take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."

No wonder why God corrected Moses in chapter 14, verse 15. Before Moses even knew what he would have to pray for, God put the answer in his hand chapters ago.

And, in the same way Moses was holding the answer to his prayer all along, I want to ask you the same question:

What's in your hand?

Is it a paper and pen?

A keyboard?

Your old sewing machine?

Don't you know that you don't need a big studio to start recording your music? You've got a microphone right there on your phone.

You don't need to start off with a team of people to do your marketing. Don't you have a social media account? Can't you use that to spread the word about what you're doing?

It was never about what Moses didn't have. (God is the I AM; He makes up for all the things we don't have.) Instead, it was about what he had all along. It wasn't anything spectacular or extraordinary. It was just a staff. And, God saw it worthy enough to split an entire sea with it.

In the same way, what if the ordinary thing you already have is what God sees worthy to perform miracles with? What if God has already given you what you need to cross over to the other side? What if you already have your staff, you just haven't raised it yet?

Because just as God refused to raise Moses' staff for him, He's not going to do your job for you.

He's not going to start the business for you.

He's not going to write your book.

He's not going to get up early in the morning to work out for you, nor will He go on your diet.

He won't send out your emails every week.

He won't record early in the morning in the studio for you.

He's not going to create your budget.

He's not going to design your next product.

No sir, and no ma'am!


So, before you blame God for not doing what you think He's going to do in this next year, consider asking yourself what you did with what was already in your hand. Before you blame Him for not moving, ask yourself: What steps have I taken? It's time to raise your staff. Stretch out your hand. Press record. Share the post. Save up your money. Do your part.

It is your job to exercise what's in your hand, not His. Just because God is able to split waters doesn't mean He'd rather you aimlessly wait around by the sea.

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