Get Up and Get Going!
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14
Most of us know the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt led by Moses. And for those who have seen the epic drama “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston as Moses, the scene before the Red Sea was dramatically rendered with a stunning visual effect of the parting of the waters so that the people could cross over on dry ground.
But after they were safely on the other side the Egyptians pursued them with their horses and chariots. But the sea returned to its place and they were all drowned.
Now we’ve often heard the declaration of Moses to the people as they stood before the sea with the Egyptians chasing after them and they began to fear and complain to Moses they he had only brought them out of the bondage of Egypt to face death by the Egyptians as they were trapped before the Red Sea with no way of escape.
So Moses said to them, “…stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
Another translation puts it this way, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:14
So the people were told to stand still and keep silent in the face of certain death before them by drowning in the sea or behind them by the sword of Pharaoh’s army. This was Moses’ plan. Many sermons have been preached with this passage as the foundation for their messages that say, when you find yourself in what appears to be between two helpless places, the thing to do is be still and shut up. God will fight for you.
That sounds good and God is gracious to do just that. We know that He did it for King Jehoshaphat when the armies of Ammon and Moab came against Judah and Jerusalem.
“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 20:15-18
But what Moses said to the people at the Red Sea was not what God intended for them to do. This was not a time for standing still and being silent.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward=…” Exodus 14:15
God chided Moses for crying out to Him in that moment and said just the opposite of what Moses told the people. He said don’t stand still in silence get going. Move! Go forward! Then, He opened a pathway for them to do just that, when Moses did what God told Him to do.
“But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:16
And that is the key to this deliverance of Israel. Two things had to happen and I believe the order of them is critically important. First the people had to obey God’s command to go forward. So they started to move toward the sea. Then Moses had to lift up the rod and stretch out his hand over the sea and when he did the waters divided and the dry ground appeared.
If they had stood still unmoved in silence and Moses not lifted up the rod and stretched out his hands over the waters there would have been no deliverance that day. But the miracle happened when Moses and the people moved according to God’s plan.
Sometimes our most spiritual sounding ideas are not necessarily God’s plan for us. Before telling the people to stand still and be quiet Moses should have sought the will of God in this situation first and perhaps, had he done so, God would have directed him to part the waters even as the Israelites were approaching it so that there would be no loss of time in escaping the approaching army of Pharaoh.
Now I don’t claim that Moses was wrong in what He said, nor that God was offended or grieved by what he said. However, it is clear that God did not intend for the people to be delayed standing around in silent fear helplessly waiting for death.
No. God’s plan was to bring them out of Egypt, up to the mountain to worship and then into the Promised Land. The Red Sea was a momentary obstacle but it was not the intended end of the journey. The fulfillment of the promise was forward and that was God’s plan.
Having begun the journey of faith into the fullness of what Christ has ordained and purchased for us through His blood, even life and that more abundantly, we are not called to sit or stand about helpless and silent while the enemy seeks to devour us.
No! We are to get up and get going deeper into the faith, deeper into the Word, deeper into obedience and expectation of God’s deliverance, healing, provision, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of all that pertains to life and Godliness. We are to fight the good fight of faith [1 Timothy 6:12] and resist the devil, [James 4:7] binding evil and all the works of darkness [Mark 3:27] in the spirit, while we walk by faith and not by sight. [2 Corinthians 5:7]
We have the message and the power of the name, the only name given among men [Act 4:12] to save the world, resident in us through the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, God always being with us and in us.
And that is our rod and our hand to be stretched out over the Red Sea of men’s hearts to part the waters of self-seeking, pride, and every evil work of death sealed in them, that the name of Jesus can enter in with the love of God, that they would confess their sins, be forgiven, be transformed to the image of Christ and receive eternal life.
And all this we can and will do, not by our will and human power alone, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us both to will and to do what pleases God. [Philippians 2:13]