Stand firm and see the salvation of God
Although this is a very very familiar passage about the crossing of the Red Sea, I am sure you have read this umpteenth times, but I feel this is a message that God has placed in my heart for you. Salvation is not just a once off experience but a continual experience of His riches and power of His resurrected life, that every provision has been made for us to live a life of abundance, of victory, of healing, and deliverance, and prosperity in the Lord.
In the Exodus journey, Israel had their moments of anxiety and agony coming out of Egypt. As Exodus 14 tells, it was as if they had come into a dead end situation. The enemy pursuing after them from behind, Red Sea in front, hemmed in all sides. They were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The Red Sea was a dead end situation. The prospect of being wiped out by the Egyptians was for real! Exodus 14:10. The truth is this: Where you cast your eyes is where your focus is. This is what happened to the Israelites. They were so fixated with the Egyptians chasing them, they forgot about God. That is when Moses replied with this much quoted proclamation: Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of God.
This morning I want to share 3 key phrases we can learn from this faith statement:
1. Fear not
(i) Because God is in control of events and situations in our lives. Exodus 14:1-2.
(ii) God’s purpose cannot be thwarted. Exodus 14:3-4
(iii)God will act on His promise / Word. Exodus 14:13-14
God promised He will fight for Israel, He will fight of their behalf. All they had to do is to remain silent, keep still and God did it. Just as the Pharaoh and the Egyptian army found out later.
The Egyptian army realized God was fighting for them. They were about to turn around and the Red Sea went back to its place and they were drowned.
If you walk in God’s divine purposes, you will be protected and provided for. You may be confronted with the most difficult circumstances in life, He will act on your behalf. It may not necessarily be according to your schedule or your preference. Take heart. God is in control. He will act upon His Word.
2. Stand still. Exodus 14:13-14.
What does it mean to stand still in the face of a pending crisis and onslaught of the enemy? Stand still in this context does not mean passive inactivity. The Hebrew word is Yatsab, which means to station yourself, brace yourself, to take up position. It means to take a firm position of faith. A posture of engaging in faith. It is resting and trusting in God first and not wavering in the matter. Be still and hear and know that He is the sovereign God.
The Psalmist said this beautifully, be still, be in an unhurried mode. Quieten down, calm down, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
The literal Hebrew translation is to cease and forsake all your striving and acknowledge that God is God. In other words stop all efforts to deliver yourself, acknowledge that God will save you. Isaiah 30:15
Strength is found in your quiet trust in Him to do the work. Where you put your trust is where your hope lies. When we are busy, we fail to listen to what God has to say about this situation. There is a point in our lives when we need to stay quiet, stay calm, stay still and learn to listen to the still small voice. Having listened to His still small voice, in Exodus 14:15-16.
In this situation, would you and I dare to believe what God just said? It is a struggle. I need to pray: God help me to discern. Hearing the Word would bring conviction. Faith comes from hearing. Acting upon the Word, shows courageous faith. It is demonstrating faith.
The good news is this, God will always act. But not necessarily according to your schedule or your preference. When you are willing to stand still and allow God to intervene in our crisis, we will see salvation of God.
3. See the salvation of God
The choices you make in life determines where you destiny lies. The ultimate destiny is the sum of the choices you make.
Moses’ calling was to lead Israelites to God. Moses faithfully and skillfully directed Israel to God while Pharaoh is intensely opposed to the purposes of God. Despite God’s repeated warnings through the plagues, Pharaoh was intensely opposed to God.
God has called everyone of us unto His salvation. When we respond accordingly, He will make a distinction between those who belong to Him and those who do not. Those who will receive the salvation of God, and those who reject the salvation of God.
Exodus 14:19-20. The angel of God and the pillar of clouds moved between Israel and the Egyptians. The pillar of cloud moved behind Israel. It separated them. God makes the distinction. Israel was designated and destined as God’s people, they received the protection of the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. There was light in the Israel’s side and total darkness on the Egyptians’ side.
The 4 times when God makes a distinction between the people of Israel vs the Egyptians, during the plagues: Exodus 8:23, Exodus 9:4, Exodus 10:22, Exodus 11:7.
God makes a distinction for those who belong to Him. The lesson for us as believers in Christ, we are marked, we are set apart, as God’s distinctive people. Colossians 1:13.
Salvation is what God can do for you that you cannot do for yourself. In this story, we see more than just divine protection, we see God did for Israel what Israel cannot do. Israel on their own was powerless against the Egyptians. There was no way they could fight or counter the Egyptians. Exodus 14:14. It was God’s act of deliverance. He caused the wheels of the chariots to be stuck in the mud, so they couldn’t even proceed any further. What we cannot do, God will do for us, as believers. When we are powerless to rescue ourselves, God is the one who will rescue us. Whatever you may be going through, God fights for you. Whether in relationships, financial needs, difficulties, God is invincible and available, He will do what you cannot do.
The crossing of the Red Sea, was a monumental moment of God’s redemptive work. There was a price to pay. At the Red Sea, God’s deliverance, brought both life and freedom for Israel and also death for the Egyptians. Likewise for us as believers today, our salvation comes at a high price. Death to our sinful nature, bought by the death of cross on the cross, Jesus bled and died that He may bring salvation of God and deliverance to you and I.
This crossing of the Red Sea is a narrative of the gospel of salvation. Everyone of us has a choice, either to see the salvation of God in our lives or not. My challenge to you finally is this, the choice in life is yours to make. The dividing line is a choice of either submission or obedience to God, to His purposes, or rejection or rebellion against the will of God. I choose life. What about you? I pray you too will choose life.