Red Sea

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

“Those in life, who complain, and blame, are always ready to take a bite out of us,” I told Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan. “With some folks no matter what you have done or failed to do, they will make sure you hear about it,” I added.

Ed said that there might be some valid reason to complain about me, as he never found it too hard to find fault with me when I lived next door to him. Of course, I told him that the feeling was not mutual.

I asked Ed if he had heard of the saying by Will Bowen about complaining? “Not likely,” he said. So, I told him, what Bowen said, “Complaining is like bad breath, you notice it when it comes out of somebody else’s mouth, but not your own.” My old neighbor informed me that it is better to complain about someone to his face than it is to compliment him. Ed claims that if you give a person a word of praise his head will swell, and he will think too highly of himself.

In the Bible, the Israelites seemed to have had good reason to grumble about their situation. They had been given permission to leave Egypt following Moses, and then the Pharaoh changed his mind and came after them with the Egyptian army of horses and chariots. The Israelites could see the Egyptians behind them coming to attack them.  Ahead they were coming to a dead end at the Red Sea. They were indeed between the devil and the deep blue sea with no place to escape.

They were afraid and turned to complaining and grumbling against Moses. They accused their leader of bringing them out into the wilderness to be killed by the Egyptian army. Moses told them that they should not fear but stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord, which God would accomplish before their eyes. He said to them that the army they feared would never be seen after that day. God opened the Red Sea, and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea in safety. When the Pharaoh and his army followed the Israelites, the sea closed upon them, and they were destroyed.

It is not hard to find reasons to complain and grumble when we put our confidence in ourselves and other people. It is not wrong to trust ourselves or others, but circumstances come up, that we cannot control. We may not be facing an advancing army, but other things as deadly, such as disease, accident, addiction, or any number of problems aimed at the death of our body, mind, and soul.

It is wise to trust in God for He goes before us in life and seeks to help, and guide us, and rescue us when we are in danger. Moses told the Israelites when they were complaining, grumbling, and blaming him for the advancing army coming against them; “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to listen.” To listen or be calm means that our complaining accomplishes nothing, but God can accomplish everything needful for us. The squeaky wheel may get oil, but silent or calm trust in God will prove God brings us to his victory.

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Raymond Maher
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