“Just stand where you are and watch the LORD rescue you” (Exodus 14:13). Did anyone ever say to you – “Don’t just stand there, do something”? We are raised with that admonition from childhood – that as long as we keep pressing forward, everything will work out. We’ve even been known to spiritualize it with the statement – “God helps those who help themselves.” (i venture to guess that many of us have grown up believing that is a verse in the Bible – perhaps in the Book of Hezekiah.) And yet, throughout time, God has said to His people, stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord.
Imagine the scene. The Israelites’ backs were against the Red Sea. There was no way for almost two million people to cross that body of water – let alone do it quickly. They just didn’t have the resources.
Up until Pharaoh’s army had appeared on the horizon, it had been a pretty tranquil and relaxing place. But now, Pharaoh was leading an army of his best charioteers at break-neck speed to destroy the Israelites. In a matter of minutes Pharaoh’s forces would be upon them. That beautiful, peaceful Red Sea had now become an imposing wall standing between them and their escape.
So what should they do? Should they try and fight it out? Men, women and children; young and old; raised to be slaves – field workers, domestics and construction workers – very few, if any, had ever received any training in combat. And their pursuers were the best trained, fiercest and mightiest army in the world – the best of the best – or the worst of the worst depending upon your perspective!
As the Israelites took inventory of their weapons, they came up short. Their meager munitions paled in comparison with the weapons of warfare being wielded by the approaching force. Their carts drawn by their weary oxen were no match for the rapidly-advancing chariots drawn by horses that had been bred for war. Their initial feeling of intimidation quickly turned to fear and then to panic. Seeing the desperation of their situation, they did two things: first, they cried out to the Lord to help them, and second, they turned against Moses – accusing him of leading them into the wilderness to die.
They were literally in that place we would call – between a rock and a hard place. You’ve probably been there. i know i have. You may be there right now! You have done everything you know to do. Everything you have thought to try has failed. And the problem is pressing down upon you. You’re out of options. There’s nowhere to turn. You, too, may be crying out to God and/or looking for a scapegoat on whom to blame your predicament.
The cries of the Israelites to the Lord to help them were similar to the cries of the disciples that night in the boat. It was a cry for God to help them with their feeble plan – their lame attempt to take things into their own hands and ask God to bless it. The disciples were asking Jesus to help them bale the water. The One who could still the storm was being asked to man a bucket! Jesus had already told the disciples that they were going to the other side. They weren’t going to sink in the middle of the lake, they would land on the other shore.
And God had also promised the Israelites that He was leading them to the Promised Land. He didn’t tell them they would perish on the shore of the Red Sea. The One who had led them this far would fulfill His promise and lead them all the way!
It was in the midst of the Israelites’ desperation that God was able to display His great power and great glory. He parted the sea so they could pass. He stopped the advance of the Egyptian army with a pillar of fire, before He turned the sea of the Israelites’ deliverance into the sea of the Egyptians’ defeat.
It was in the midst of the disciples’ desperation that the Son of God demonstrated that He had power over even the wind and the sea.
Their situations looked different, but their desperation was the same. God’s solution was different, but the power, might and glory He displayed was the same.
And in both instances, God didn’t come through because they were being faithful! Both groups had forgotten His promise and in many ways turned against Him. But God did not turn against them! By His grace, He delivered them – at just the right time – and in just the right way. He chose the time. And He chose the way.
What about us? What are we desperate about? What enemy is threatening to overtake us in the midst of the journey in which God is leading us? If we are a follower of Christ, He has promised that He will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). The obstacle or enemy that has led to our desperation is more than likely greater than anything we are able to overcome, because God intends to use it for His glory – glory through the eyes of a watching world, and glory through the faith that is grown in our lives as we trust Him and see His deliverance.
How desperate are you? Are you desperate enough to trust His Person, His presence, His power and His promise? Don’t just do something, stand there and watch the Lord deliver you!
Signed by one who is grateful and desperate for His faithfulness because i surely don’t deserve it.
Portion excerpted from The Journey Begins, Ch. 7