A word of encouragement 04.27.2020

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Exodus 14:14. It’s short; only a dozen words but it’s awesome.  Here’s what it says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

The context of the verse is important:  The tenth plague has caused Pharaoh to beg the Hebrew slaves to leave and so they pack up and start making their way out of Egypt. Shortly after, Pharaoh, realizes the free labor he is losing and changes his mind. So, Pharaoh sends the world’s most powerful army after this group of women, children, men and animals. At this point, the Hebrews are backed up against the Red Sea. Off in the distance the dust of 600 chariots starts rising into the sky. These former slaves know what this means, and they immediately blame Moses. “Didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? Didn’t we say we’d serve the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be slaves than die in the desert!” Moses answers them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see in the distance you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” What a promise and what a request! 

It is amazing how quickly we forget the power of God is on our side. Just a short time ago, these powerless slaves watched God force the hand of the most powerful nation in the world. Plague after plague set on the Egyptians making clear the focus of God’s favor and provision has been on them. Yet the second things get hard, they forget everything. They forget how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is fighting for them.  They forget the power of the plagues. They forget God passing over their homes and striking the first born of the Egyptians. They can’t translate God’s love and faithfulness toward them in the past into God’s faithfulness and love for them in the present.  

That is the promise though, isn’t it?  What God did in the past we can count on God to do in the present and the future.  We aren’t asked to simply guess or cross our fingers and “hope” God will do what he says.  Instead, God’s backs his promise with evidence: account after account, both Biblically and in the present, witness after witness, of God’s faithfulness and love. 

But. Still.

The promise is one thing. The request is another: stand still and let me fight for you. Do you have as much trouble with that part as I do? Believing the promise is one thing. Standing back and watching chariots bear down on my family and me is another. Trusting God in theory is one thing, trusting God as a threat narrows the gap, that’s the hard part. No wonder the people say, uh, shouldn’t we have a plan Moses? Surrender sounds good.

It is easy to surrender to fear and hopelessness; to give into uncertainty and things being ‘unprecedented’, especially right now. No, we don’t know what’s going to happen as we reopen and begin to expose ourselves to each other again. No, we don’t know what’s coming financially. But we do know this: The Lord is fighting for us. He always has and he always will. For goodness sakes, he sent his Son to die for the sins of the world!  He’s bringing a new kingdom!  He isn’t about to abandon what he started! 

Now is not the time to shrink back and surrender to a spirit of slavery. Now is not the time to surrender. Now is the time to look at what God has done in the past, take heart, stand back and let his plan work itself out.
No one could have predicted God would part the waters of the Red Sea. God didn’t lay the plan out to anyone before he did it. But when those waters parted, they created both a path to freedom for his people and a path of destruction for the Egyptians.

So let’s wait and see. Let’s see how the Lord decides to fight for us. Let’s see what sea God will part for us this time…but we’re going to have to stand still, with our eyes open, our hearts confident of his saving power and let him fight for us. And when he moves, when the ground is dry…let’s be ready to go.