Friday, August 21, 2015

stand firm, be still


Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians - all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops - pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Moses answered the people, “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.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.

But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. (Exodus 14)

The Israelites had left Egypt. They were on their way to the land God had promised them. They had seen Jehovah work first hand as He plagued Pharaoh for keeping their race captive, and now - they were free.

Until...

It dawned on Pharaoh that by allowing the Jewish slaves to escape, they had threatened Egypt's whole economy. There was only one answer for Pharaoh... he had to recapture the slaves and bring them back to Egypt, irrespective of their God. So, Pharaoh commandeered all his chariots and went into full pursuit after the Jews. Suddenly, the Israelites realized they were in trouble. They began to look away from God and focused their eyes back on the Egyptian army that was closing in on their position. They panicked - for surely they would be killed.

We've all been there. We've been in the position where we thought we were moving forward on the right track with God. Then, in one small glance away from His guidance, we find ourselves in an unbelievably terrible and frightening scenario. This is what happened to Israel. The instant the Jews began to look away from Jehovah and forgot His promise of deliverance, was the same instant they gave into their fear and unbelief. One of my commentaries worded it this way, "Unbelief has a way of erasing from our memory all the demonstrations we've seen of God's great power and all the instances we know of God's faithfulness to His word."

So now what?

As the Israelites found themselves trapped between Pharaoh's approaching army and the large, uncrossable Red Sea in front of them, they started to panic and push blame onto Moses (and ultimately God) for leading them into this unbeatable predicament. In their terror, they complained to Moses that they should never have left Egypt. If they had only stayed, they would have avoided this doom.

But Moses was a great man of faith. He knew that his God was greater than the approaching Egyptian army. He was not sure how - but He trusted that His Lord would deliver his people. So, in his wisdom he gave this advise, "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)

The Lord, of course, was faithful and did demolish the Egyptians in a glorious and miraculous way. In this experience, we learn two very important lessons about trust and handling trials in our lives. (1) Trust: If God brings his people into a difficult circumstance that looks hopeless to our human eyes, He will deliver us from all evil, for He promises to always be with us; and (2) Handling Trials: In times of our greatest difficulties, it is usually best to stand firm in our faith and sit still. When we are calm and sedate... when we can be still and know that He is our God (Psalms 46:10)... we are then able to be rational and allow God to speak to us and work in us effectively.

So, no matter the problem you are facing today, here is God's instruction and promise from Exodus 14:

Stand firm.
Be still.
The Lord will fight for you.

Knowing that the Lord will fight for us gives us the hope that our God is greater than anything this life can dish out. Through any trial, God will win. In fact, He has already won. Keep this in mind. Because in Jesus Name, ultimately the time will come that you will never see the enemy you see today ever again.  WOO HOO!

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exhalt Him. (Exodus 15:2)

Blessing!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

1 comment:

  1. Wow, so glad I took the time to sit still and read this. Why is it our flesh is so weak that we do indeed forget about His faithfulness in the past? Each day I am reminded I need HIM more and more.

    ReplyDelete

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