Ex. 14:21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Moses and the children of Israel had been given a promise from God that He would part the red sea so that they could cross over. As the Egyptian army got closer they waited impatiently for the moment of their deliverance. Finally God commanded Moses to stretch his hand over the water.
Wait…is that it?
Seriously Moses is about to be used by God to do something that would be remembered by the Jewish people to this day, and all he’s asked to do it stretch out his hand?
At first glance this would seem ridiculously easy, but it isn’t
When God chooses to use a person He usually asks them to do something ridiculous (like stretching your hand over a sea so that it will part). The entire Old Testament is filled with stories like this:
- When the Jews are dying from poisonous snake bites, God commands them to look at a golden snake for healing
- Moses provides water for the children of Israel by speaking to a rock
- God tells Joshua to break pots and shout so the wall of Jericho will fall down
- He gives Gideon a victory over 135,000 Midianites with 10,000 men after saying the army of 32,000 was too large 
- He kills Goliath (a man feared by the whole army of Israel) with a rock and sling.
The Lord doesn’t do this because He enjoys seeing us afraid, instead these situations are a test of our faith. God had promised to the Israelites He would give them the victory, and now He wanted to test just how much they believed that promise (Exodus 14:13–14).
I’m sure it would have been a lot easier for Moses if he had been given the power from God to part the Red Sea. But instead the Lord commanded him to just put out a hand believing God would keep His end of the bargain.
Because otherwise it would have been about Moses
If Moses had done this the children of Israel would have carried him around on their shoulders instead of giving Glory to God (Exodus 15:1–18) and the Egyptians would have run in fear of Moses instead of the Lord (Exodus 14:25).
So instead God wanted everyone to see this had nothing to do with Moses.
Though the passage doesn’t say this I imagine Moses may have had his doubts that the Lord would part the Red Sea. There may have been concern, worry, or fear on his face (what if God doesn’t keep His promise). He was probably just as confused as everyone else about God’s ridiculous command.
But the concern, fear, or confusion on the face of Moses as he stretched his hand over the sea brought great glory to God.
You see nobody in their right mind seeing Moses in this moment of weakness would attribute glory to Him. Instead it would be a response of, ”look at how confused and weak that guy is, this has to be God!”
And even today God calls us to obey while hearts are filled with fear and bodies are filled with weakness so the victory has to come from Him.
The hardest part of the Christian life isn’t achieving spectacular things for God that makes everyone look at us…in my experience the hardest part is simply stretching out our hand, and allowing God to do the rest.
- Judges 7 ↩