Hernando (Hernan) Cortez was a Spanish Conquistador who launched ships from Spanish held Cuba and conquered Mexico in 1519. In doing so he brought about the demise of the great Aztec empire. As the legend goes, when Cortez first landed on the shores of Mexico he commanded his men to burn the ships. This burning made retreat impossible and has thus become the classic historical example of going “all in” for an endeavor.
Truth be told, many historians doubt the truth of the legend. Some of them contend that Cortez did purposely render his ships unsuitable for sailing but didn’t burn them. According to the theory, he did this because he didn’t want his men to mutiny and return to the safe haven of Cuba. Others say that the idea of Cortez burning the ships stems from a poor translation of the Latin in which the story was written. But, hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a great story!
If you want to run with the idea of going full bore into something by “burning your ships,” there’s a Bible story that you’ll like. It’s even one that you’ve heard. It’s the one about God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites to facilitate their escape from Pharaoh’s army. You’ll find it in Exodus chapter 14.
Exodus 14:21 says that the Lord divided the waters and turned the sea into dry land by means of a strong east wind that blew all night. In Exodus 15:8, Moses describes this wind as the blast of God’s nostrils. Isn’t that great? And so the people of Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry land. But then what happened? The Egyptian army pursued them into the dry land only to be drowned in the depths when the waters came crashing back into place once the Israelites were safely on the opposite shore.
Okay, now here’s where I’m going with this. When those waters thundered back down and closed the pathway through that sea, that was God slamming the door shut on the Israelites possibly returning to Egypt. You see, it wasn’t just His way of slaying Egypt’s army; it was also His way of forcing the Israelites to forge onward into a new day. Going back to Cortez legend, it was God burning Israel’s ships.
As you read this, perhaps God has pushed you out into a new adventure but you are considering returning back to more comfortable ground. All I’ll say is that if you genuinely believe the adventure is of the Lord, don’t try to return to Egypt. There’s nothing for you back there. It doesn’t take much faith to live in Egypt anyway. That life is what it is. But it takes a high degree of faith to let God lead you step by step into a new, uncharted land. So it might just be that a good prayer for you to pray right now would go something like this, “Lord, if you want me to continue on with this adventure, close up the waters behind me so that I’ll have to stay here in this new land. And then help me make it here.”