The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. – Exodus 13:21
Finishing up the thirteenth chapter of Exodus, we find ourselves engaging in the Israelites eagerness as the hundreds of years of Egyptian bondage is coming to an end. We can assume that maybe their exit out of Pharaoh’s grip was less than humble.
“as the sons of Israel were going out boldly” – Exodus 14:8b
We can identify with that confidence on those days that life is promising. Life is going as planned. Our boldness gives way to arrogance and self sufficiency. Egypt is in the rearview and we got this!
If only that were the end of the story.
As we keep reading, the story takes a startling turn.
We can almost visualize the color draining from the faces of the Israelites as their attention is gripped by the sound of thundering hooves. In the distance rising dust gives visual to the sound. Soon the chariots of the Egyptian army come into view and their transient confidence is quickly replaced with terror.
Founder, Refined Family
Kerry Tittle is a mother of 10 children and an 20+-year homeschool veteran. She is the founder of Refined Family. Her desire is to honor Christ while comforting others with the comfort she has received from the Lord.
Before them lies the Red Sea and behind them the Egyptian Army is advancing.
Then comes the most ludicrous words.
But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:13:14
Wait, what? Be silent? In other translations the word “still” is used.
When life presses in on us, we tend to look at the circumstance long and hard and not give a thought to the history of God’s faithfulness. The Israelites had just witnessed insane plagues that crushed the credibility of the Egyptian gods and took down the most powerful man in Egypt. That was the last thing on their mind. They begin looking at their own self sufficiency, finding nothing they immediately turn accusingly to Moses.
And God says be silent.
I have a noisy soul. It in no way reflects my personality. I’ve learned to be calm and gentle on the outside, but it’s the soul that needs to be quieted. I fear and I worry. I try to figure out how to cross my own Red Seas and fight my own battles. Why? Because my heart is lifted up.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 131 (ESV)
When our hearts are lifted up and our eyes are on the circumstance, it’s no wonder anxiety sets in. Our situations feel much like being in between an Egyptian army and a large body of water. There is no path that doesn’t lead to being crushed.
These are the times that truly try our faith. God strips us of all our abilities and there is nothing left but to trust Him. As hard as these times are it is a severe grace that He gives us to embolden our faith and allow Him to work in us.
Be still, lift your eyes and let Him fight for you.