by Mary Alice McGinnis
Today’s reading begins with a profound exhortation from Moses. In the previous verses, we hear the Israelites say 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!” Exodus 14:11-12
In response, Moses boldly and confidently exhorts the people:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today...The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Stand firm and be still. What does that look like? Maybe it means not letting despair bring us down. Maybe it means not retreating into fear. Maybe it means not jumping ahead into the vast sea in front of us before God parts the water.
Maybe it means patiently waiting, waiting to see how the Lord will bring about His deliverance.
Paul echoes this same confidence while awaiting possible execution in prison.
“For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” Philippians 1:19
Moses did not know yet HOW the Lord would bring about the deliverance of His people. But he confidently proclaims that THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR THEM. Do you believe this for yourself?
Notice next that the Lord addresses Moses saying, “Why are you crying out to me?” Amid his exhortation of assured deliverance, he still is crying out to the Lord. He may have appeared confident on the exterior, but behind the scenes he was crying out to God in anguish. Can you relate?
God now tells Moses HOW He will deliver them. He calls Moses to become an active participant in His plan. Could God have parted the Red Sea without Moses?
God also reveals to Moses the WHY behind this deliverance story.
"The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."
All of God’s wonders, His plans, His working are pointing to this why. No matter what circumstances, what trails, what difficulties, what victories He brings about in our lives, they all focus on this vision. He wants all to know that He is the Lord and there is no other. God’s vision is so much grander than ours! Since the beginning of time, before the foundation of the world, He knew He would send Jesus to be our deliverance. Every part of Israel’s history, every part of human history, every part of YOUR STORY points to this same purpose.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20.
Lord, forgive me when I am restless and grumble. Show me what it means to stand firm and be still. Help me to hear Your voice when You are calling me to action, to participate in Your plans of deliverance. Keep my eyes focused on You, Jesus, the One who has already gained the victory!