Exodus 14:30-31 Israel’s Spiritual Rollercoaster

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Exodus 14:30–31 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians dead on the seashore

Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so they people feared the Lord, and they believed in God and in his servant Moses

As a teenager I used to spend a lot of time riding something that’s lovingly referred to as the “spiritual rollercoaster.”

Basically this involves lots of spiritual highs, which are soon followed by lows when I didn’t feel like obeying God at all.

The interesting thing is those spiritual mountaintops usually came along with an emotional high, and a period of time when my heart was complete focused on God. It got to the point where when something like a Christian camp, spiritual emphasis week, or retreat came up I would prepare myself for the spiritual high.

Every time I would come home with a heart committed to following the Lord, and every time life was back to normal less than a week later.

It didn’t matter how hard I worked, the spiritual low always came soon (even if I didn’t want it to).

Years later the Lord helped me realize there is only one way for a person to get off the spiritual rollercoaster, and it isn’t about working harder.

See the Jews had no problem fearing the Lord when they were surrounded by dead Egyptian bodies and spent most of Exodus fifteen praising Him (15:1–19). But an interesting thing happens a few days later.

Exodus 15:22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Exodus 15:23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.b Exodus 15:24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?

Three days after saying “the Lord will reign forever and ever” [1] the Jews complained about not having water, and criticised Moses for leading them out there to die.

Now it’s REAL easy to condemn the Jews for this, but we all do the same thing don’t we?

The thing that’s important about Exodus fourteen and fifteen isn’t really their emotional response though, but WHY they feared the Lord.

They feared because they saw, and experienced Him

They couldn’t see the Lord while walking through the wilderness with no water

This doesn’t mean God wasn’t there (He was) but they took their eyes off of Him and focused it on the problem. Just like after a spiritual high, drama or issues of life would take my eyes off of God.

And immediately I would be overwhelmed.

So the search began for something that would bring my next spiritual mountaintop, but sadly I wouldn’t pursue the one thing that actually gave it to me…God’s presence.

Matt Papa in his awesome book “Look and Live” explains the hopelessness of trying to find this happiness outside of God.

The triune God is the only thing large enough and interesting enough to bear the weight of glory, and ultimately worship. Anything else will break your heart. Papa, Matt (2014–10–28). Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ (p. 33). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The way to get off my spiritual rollercoaster was to stop working (which my heart wanted to do) and seek God’s help.

Unfortunately there are still days I find myself pursuing that elusive mountaintop in my own strength, but thankfully when this happens God gives the strength and stop working, and simply listen to His voice.


  1. Exodus 15:18  ↩

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