The Spirit of Revelation (Week 15, Part 1/7) Exodus 14–17 | Apr 4 – Apr 10 – powered by Happy Scribe
Of all the miracles performed prior to Christ’s atonement which is most frequently mentioned in Scripture? Is it David killing Goliath, the walls of Jericho falling down? I haven’t done a mathematical count, but I’m pretty sure that one of the most, if not the most frequently mentioned miracles is Moses parting the Red Sea. Here’s one example of that miracle being mentioned in the modern day. In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1829, the Lord said, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now behold, this is the Spirit of Revelation. Behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. In a powerful BYU devotional called Cast not Away your confidence, Elder Jeffrey Rholland asked.
Why would the Lord use the example of crossing the Red Sea as the classic example of the spirit of revelation? It’s a classic example of a miracle, but he says it’s the spirit of revelation. Why didn’t he use the first vision or the example from the book of Moses we just used, or the vision of the brother of Jared?
Or we might ask any number of other amazing stories. What made the crossing of the Red Sea the key example of revelation? Elder Holland went on to suggest three principles of revelation that are highlighted by the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.
He said, first of all, revelation almost always comes in response to a question, usually an urgent question. Not always, but usually in that sense. It does provide information, but it is urgently needed information, special information. Moses challenge was how to get himself and the children of Israel out of this horrible predicament that they were in. There were chariots behind them, sand dunes on every side, and just a lot of water immediately ahead. He needed information, all right, what to do. But it wasn’t a casual thing he was asking. In this case, it was literally a matter of life and death. You will need information, too, in matters of great consequence, but it is not likely that it will come unless you really want it urgently. Faithfully. Humbly Moroni calls it seeking with real intent. If you can seek that way and stay in that mode, not much the adversary can counter with will dissuade you from a righteous path. You can hang on whatever the assault and the affliction, because you have paid the price to figuratively at least see the face of God and live. Lesson number two is closely related to it. It is that in the process of revelation and making important decisions, fear almost always plays a destructive, sometimes paralyzing role.
That’s the second lesson of the Spirit of revelation. After you’ve gotten the message, after you’ve paid the price to feel his love and hear the word of the Lord, go forward. Don’t fear, don’t vacillate, don’t quibble. Don’t whine. You may like Alma going to amanaiha, have to find a route that leads an unusual way. But that’s exactly what the Lord is doing here for the children of Israel. Nobody’s ever crossed the red sea this way. But so what? There’s always a first time with the spirit of revelation. Dismiss your fears and weighed in with both feet. The third lesson from the Lord’s spirit of revelation in the miracle of crossing the red sea is that along with the illuminating revelation that points us toward a righteous purpose or duty, God will also provide the means and power to achieve that purpose. Trust in that eternal truth, please. If God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you, he will provide the way for you to accomplish it. That is true of joining the Church. It is true of getting an education, of going on a mission, getting married, any of a hundred worthy tasks.
God’s Grace is sufficient.
These principles of revelation are powerful. Before we conclude, I want to highlight one other detail about the Israelites crossing the red sea. It’s fascinating to note that we hear three different voices in this account. The words of the Israelites, the words of Moses, and the words of the Lord. The Israelites were sore afraid and cried out to Moses, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness. Sometimes I’m like those Israelites. I want to pull back in fear. In contrast, Moses was full of confidence in the Lord. He proclaimed, fear Ye not. Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord. The Lord shall fight for you. Moses counsel to stand still reminds us that sometimes we need to do less and trust more. But Interestingly, the Lord’s statement seems to contradict Moses. Rather than telling the Israelites to stand still, the Lord says, Wherefore Christ? That one to me. Go forward. In other words, don’t stand still. Move walk into the water. While there certainly are times in our lives when we need to stand still and let God do his work, Sometimes we need to move forward.
There’s a certain tension between standing still and moving forward. But a key insight is that when we face potentially crippling challenges, we must not give up. We might need to turn a specific matter completely to the Lord for a specific time. But with respect to our lives as a whole, we keep moving forward, trusting that God will give us the revelation we need as we are on the move.