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Exodus 14:14 - Be Still, God is Fighting for You

I'm writing this today because I need it. If you knew my life story you would think I would have this etched into my soul by now but . . . here I am again, needing a refresher on being still and letting God work. Why is it so hard to hold onto this lesson? There were several years when this was my lifeline. But how quickly I forget! I guess human nature is the same now as it was when God spoke these words to Moses.

The Israelites had just been miraculously allowed to leave Egypt and had seen God display His power and His willingness to act on their behalf in multiple ways. But they were facing a big problem. Although they were out of Egypt, they were now confronted with a huge body of water, with no way in sight to get over it, and no time to go around it. And Pharoah had changed his mind and sent the Egyptian army after them. This army was behind them and closing in fast. So now what? They defaulted to panic.

It's understandable. These people had just come out of years and years of traumatic experiences. They were conditioned to expect a hard time. So, when they saw a problem in front of them, they automatically defaulted to that place of trauma, that mindset of expecting the worst. And, in all fairness, it truly did look like an impossible situation. It looked like there was no way this could turn out well. And it was at this point the Israelites did what we all need to do whenever we are faced with trouble. They looked up!

"There was no way open to Israel but upward, and thence their deliverance came." ~ Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

And it was when Moses looked up that God gave him the assurance he needed, and the words to calm the people.

But Moses told the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the Lord's salvation, which He will accomplish for you today; for 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

I'm sure there was an instinctive urge for the Israelites to scatter in a panic, to run and try to hide, to do anything but stand still in the open and wait to see what God would do. Why is this so difficult? Why, when He has shown His power over and over is the urge to panic, run, and hide so strong? Because it's so easy to look at what can be seen in the moment, instead of remembering what God has done in the past or waiting for Him to fight for our future.

It's interesting to me that immediately after God told them to be still because He would fight for them, He told them to move forward. "Then the Lord said to Moses . . .. "Tell the Israelites to go forward." ~ Exodus 14:15 My interpretation of this is that yes, it's important to still my heart before Him and know that He is fighting for me, but also to take the step forward that I know needs to be taken now - to do the next right thing. Sometimes the next right thing is simply to move on with day-to-day life while waiting on God. Sometimes there is a clear, specific action that is challenging, maybe even daunting, that needs to be taken. Either way, the first step is to be still and let God do His work. Then move forward with the confidence that He will act on our behalf.

We know how this story of the Israelites and Egyptians ends. When the people moved forward under God's direction the waters that seemed to be blocking their way and trapping them in a no-win situation miraculously parted and they were given a dry path to walk on to safety. But when their enemies attempted to walk this same path, the waters came back and swallowed them. The impossible situation became a testament to God's power to deliver.

So, as life continues, and hard and scary things happen, as they sometimes will, God makes a way for those who are still before Him and wait for Him to fight for them. Then we can sing as Miriam did as she celebrated deliverance with her people - "Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; the horse and rider He has thrown into the sea." ~Exodus 15:21

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