Today, I read the story of how God delivered Israel from the Egyptians at the Red Sea.
After many confrontations with Pharaoh, some stiff resistance from the Israelites and ten deadly plagues; Moses managed to get the Israelites out of Egypt to sacrifice to God. But Pharaoh instantly regretted his decision to ‘let the people go’ and decided to pursue them with his army and catch up with them in the wilderness.
The Israelites were in an unimaginably scary predicament with the advancing Egyptian army drawing close to them on one end and the Red Sea on the other. It was a dead end. Literally. No escape. Only two things could happen logically—one, they drown in the sea or two, they face the sword of the enemy. Either way, death seemed certain.
Exodus 14: 11 & 12 records how they complained 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!” Their fears were warranted and their concerns were justified.
Here’s when I read Moses’ most incredible reply to the Israelites. He didn’t give them a solution. He didn’t give them an exhortation. He didn’t arm them for battle. He didn’t even prepare them to face death. He simply said: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
He asked them to be still. But how??? What an unreasonable thing to ask them to do? If I was one of those Israelites, I would have wanted to push Moses into the Red Sea! The armies are closing in on one side and the tide is rising on the other, and you want me to be still? What I need now is a “how to swim in sea water” lesson. Or a “basics of sword fighting” talk. I need quick rescue, an instant rapture from this moment of certain death. But you are telling me, I “need” to be still and that the Lord will fight for me?
Most of us don’t know a thing about being still. It’s easy to be still when the sun is out, when everything is good and when people are smiling and saying nice things about us. But what is the reward in that? The Lord wants us to be still when everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is falling apart. When you can’t trust your closest friends anymore. When people are talking behind your back. When you’re drowning in debt and are in the middle of a financial crisis. When hopelessness and misery is all you can see around you. When nothing seems to work out in your favour. YOU NEED ONLY TO BE STILL.
The Lord will fight for you. He will heal the disease. He will provide the finance that you so badly need. He will fix your marriage. He will silence the lying tongues. He will bring deliverance. He will FIGHT for you. You don’t need to help Him. You need only to be still. That is what He requires of you. And me.
For the Israelites, ‘being still’ meant waiting by the Red Sea for an entire excruciating night. But as they were still, they witnessed the Lord blow a strong wind on the Red Sea and part the waters for them. They might have expected something else…maybe Pharaoh would change his mind and go back, maybe a desert wind would stop the Egyptian armies, maybe Moses would call on God for an eleventh plague! But God did the unexpected. He parted the waters.
I believe that this word is for me as much as it is for each of you reading this. God will do the “unexpected” for you, if you just be still and wait. We need to shift our focus from the things around us to just waiting on Him. It may be frustrating, painful and stressful to simply be still and do nothing. But, when we least expect it and when we need it the most, His deliverance will come like a wind and make a way where there seems to be absolutely none!
Hey, what is it that you need most today? Is it a job or a raise? Is it marriage? Is it a new house? Is it deliverance from a bad habit? Is it hope for a broken relationship? Whatever our need of the hour is, let’s put it aside and focus on what God needs. He needs us to be still. He will fight for us.
All we have to do is watch the fight.