“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace’ ” (Exodus 14:13-14).
Have there been times in your life when you were so overwhelmed by your fears that you forsook your faith in God to help you? Upon honest examination, many of us can relate to times in our lives when we allowed our fears to get the best of us and we struggled with keeping our faith in God.
God had delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage through a series of plagues which he brought upon the Egyptians. The final plague was the death of all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, except those who had observed the Passover by putting the blood of the lamb on the doorpost and lintel of their houses in which they stayed (Exodus 12:6-13). After this terrible plague, the Egyptians urged the Israelites to leave and even gave them their goods to do so (Exodus 12:32-36). Through these series of plagues, God had given His people numerous reasons to place their faith in Him!
The children of Israel begin marching out of Egypt as God directs them (Exodus 13:18). God was displaying his direction and guidance of Israel by going before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). Israel could see God’s presence among them. However, after they leave Egypt, Pharaoh begins having second thoughts about letting them go. In fact, he and his army pursue the Israelites and overtake them by the Red Sea at Pi Hahiroth (Exodus 15:5-9). Now their worst fears have come upon them, the Egyptian army is threatening their lives.
How do they react to this? “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?” For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness’ ” (Exodus 14:9-12). They were so overwhelmed by their fears they actually preferred to go back to Egyptian slavery than to deal with their fears. The Israelites had abandoned their faith in God!
As the opening verses above indicate, Moses encourages the people to keep their faith in God. He tells the people: “Do not be afraid, Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today” (Exodus 14:13). The Angel of God temporarily blocks the Egyptian pursuit and Moses stretches his hand over the Red Sea and the waters are divided (Exodus 14:19-21). Israel passes through the midst of the sea and as the Egyptians pursue them, the Lord troubles the army of the Egyptians by taking off the wheels of their chariots (Exodus 14:22-25). After the Israelites finish crossing the sea, Moses stretches out his hand over the sea and Pharaoh and his army are drowned as the waters of the sea come upon them (Exodus 14:26-30).
How often do I react like these Israelites? Instead of placing my faith in God, standing still, and remembering His power to deliver me, so often I take my eye off of God and focus on the fears I am facing. When I do so, like the ancient Israelites, I make myself miserable by allowing myself to be overwhelmed by my fears. I rejoice that God encourages me to place my faith in Him. Today, I will strive to stand still and look for God and how He will deliver me from whatever fears I face!
“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).