After the ten plagues, Pharaoh had not only let the people go, he expelled them. Later it dawned on him: his entire economy depended on slave labor and he had driven all the slaves out. He had to get them back. They had obeyed the Egyptians for as long as anyone remembered. Surely he could make them return. Thus he forgot that it was God’s supernatural power, not the slaves, that had defeated
Likewise, the entire human race, and each individual in it, starts out subject to Satan. He is the god of this world and the world does his bidding. Jesus came to rescue the world and defeated Satan at every turn. Every time someone turns to Jesus for salvation, Satan loses a slave, a loss he refuses to accept. He cannot undo what Jesus has done, but he can make us forget it or neglect it. When we do, he can make us obey him again.
God was not surprised when Pharaoh sent all those chariots, but the Israelites did not expect to see them. It was a test. Would they remember the Passover and all of the other miracles each of them had personally experienced or observed? They did not. They were armed, but not well enough. They could not flee, both because of the geography and the inability for such a large group of people to move quickly enough. It would have been a good time for prayer, but fear overruled faith. They blamed the leadership and started criticizing Moses. Moses reminded them not of past miracles, but God’s recent promise of deliverance.
So it is with the church. Satan wants his slaves back. He can rage, threaten, intimidate (or soothe and tempt to unwatchfulness), but he cannot win. When we seem the most helpless against him, God is ready to show himself strong. Too many people start to panic, grumble, and speak out against the human leadership, as if trouble were their fault and stronger than God. Thank God he will always see to it that some people will speak a genuine word of faith over the situation.
If God doesn’t assign work for people to do, it means that he intends to win the battle on his own. The promise of God is that if we can’t do anything to help ourselves, then we don’t need to.
This passage rather clearly demonstrates that God can and will help those whose faith has vanished–so long as at least one among them, like Moses, will speak the word of faith. I would rather be that one that be among the clueless multitude that forgets God in a crisis.