Do not be afraid! Stand firm!

Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. 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 (NIV)

Read:  Exodus 14:1-31

Consider: Have you ever thought how difficult it must have been for the people of Israel to stand still when faced with the pursuing Egyptian army?  With the sea in front of them and the Egyptians behind, we are told what their reaction was in Exodus 14:10-12 –  As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said 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!’

Can you see that first of all they cried out to God and secondly, they complained to Moses.  When in a sticky situation the Israelites’ natural instinct was to seek God’s help, but then they started to complain that it was really Moses’ fault they found themselves in this situation.  Here were a people who thought they had no hope of escape; yet God had different ideas!

Notice what Moses says to the Israelites: ‘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’ (Exodus 14:13-14).  Look at God’s reply to the people’s cry for help:  Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground (Exodus 14:15-16).  While the people were to be still, this did not mean that they were to do nothing!  God told the Israelites to ‘move on’ and for Moses to ‘raise his staff’ over the sea to bring about the miracle needed for their deliverance.  This reminded me of what it says in Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God.  There was little Moses and the Israelites could do to bring about their own rescue.  God needed them to play their part, while he was doing something miraculous in the background.

It is hard to ignore the news about the current health crisis, as we are bombarded daily with statistics about the spread of the the COVID-19 virus.  In the UK we have had about six week of lockdown as a result of the pandemic.  There are some people who have been growing weary of being told to stay indoors and only to venture out for essential shopping and exercise.  We have even seen news reports that in the USA some armed groups have been protesting that their liberty is being infringed and insisting that the lockdown there is lifted.  The news is that in some countries lockdown is being tentatively eased, but with varying results.  If you find yourself growing weary of the restrictions, take encouragement from these words of Paul to the believers in Corinth:  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Pray:  Father, take away our worries and fears as we face times of uncertainty.  Help us to see that the one constant certainty is you.  Amen

Every blessing