Two of the three robin over my door flew the coup this weekend! Or, should I say, they fluttered briefly then flopped on the porch and staggered down the sidewalk. Only one bird remained. I named him Gus.
For several days after his brothers left Gus would perch on the edge of the nest surveying the world. I imagined he was enjoying the extra room and was proudly declaring, "I'm king of the castle now!"
This morning . . . I watched Gus's maiden voyage. He fluttered his wings a few time then launched bravely into the air. Flutter . . . flutter . . . FLOP! Just like his brothers. Mother robbin stood guard from the fence.
Then, I watched her do the strangest thing.
She led little Gus out onto the vast driveway and down to the edge of the road!
"NO!" I cried, holding my breath. But, she kept chirping out instructions and Gus obediently followed. I watched them make it to the white line on the edge of the highway . . . then cross to the yellow line . . . then all the way across to the lawn on the other side of the road. What a journey on his first walk.
Sniff . . . now my nest is empty!
Little Gus didn't know where he was going. He just obediently followed the chirps of his trusted mother.
Believe it or not, as I watched Gus I was reminded of what I've been reading in Exodus about the parting of the Red Sea. God instructed Moses to lead the Israelites to encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, oposite Baal Zephon (Exodus 14:1-2).
It's a good thing Moses listened and did what he was told because war was coming. God had a plan, but He needed Moses to be obedient in order to carry out that plan.
When Pharoah heard the Israelites had moved, he got 600 of his finest chariots, a massive army, plus all the chariots of Egypt and charged toward the Israelite's encampment.
Can you imagine the terrifying sound of those rumbling chariots heading your way? It was enough to blind them with fear.
Then God said, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. the Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:13-14).
God sometimes asks things of us that seem impossible . . . "don't be afraid?" Sure, there's a powerful, angry mob coming my way and You want be to fear not? AND be still?
Then God told Moses to raise his staff and stretch his hand over the sea and all night long, under the protection of a cloud of darkness, the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind until the land was dry (Exodus 14:19-22). God parted the sea.
Did Moses pray over the sea? Did he have to stand there with his hand and staff in the air all night? Scripture doesn't tell us. I wonder if God told you and me to do that would we have that kind of staying power, and tenacious obedience? Just like little Gus Robbin, Moses faithfully followed God's voice in blind-faith and obedience.
Here are three important rules of warfare that we can glean from this story:
1. God told Moses to take the people to Pi-hahiroth means "mouth of the caverns." (1) Caverns are a place of protection. The first rule of warfare is knowing God's word, that which comes from His mouth.
2. Pi-haliroth was between the sea and Migdol. Migdol comes from a noun (migdal) which means tower, and from the verb (gadol) which means great or strong. (2) The scripture tells us that our strong tower is the name of the Lord. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it, and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10). Another rule of warfare is knowing our safety is in the name of Jesus. A tower is also a look-out. It's here we learn God's battle-plans. From a tower we not only see the approaching enemy, we also see His approaching victories.
3. Pi-hahiroth was across from Baal-zephon which most literally means Lord of the Hidden Things. (3) God was leading them (by the word of His mouth) to a strong tower of safety, hidden from the enemy. In warfare, we are hidden within the armor of God. We we are hidden in Christ. If God wants to use us in the battle, He will call us from the "hidden-place" of intimacy where we learn Who it is we are following.
I guess we have to be like little Gus Robbin and faithfully follow the sound of our trusted Leader. He'll get us safely to the other side.