In the Bible, we meet a man named Moses.
His story is found in the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus. He is the leader and prophet to a people who were enslaved by the Egyptians. God uses Moses to lead His people away from a life of slavery into a land where they will be free.
Throughout the book of Exodus, there are many times when Moses’ life serves as an example to every Christian following God – his humility, his strength, and his steadfastness in the desert are all characteristics to strive for. The story is full of pictures and symbols over the many years that the people spent travelling to their Promised Land.
In Exodus 14, just after the Israelites had been set free from the Egyptian land, they are being pursued by the Egyptians and their pharaoh (who apparently decided they couldn’t live without their slaves, after all). Behind them, there is an army, and in front of them, there is an ocean. Moses sees the problem at hand, and addresses his people with a verse that has become one of the most well-known pieces of Scripture from Exodus.
“‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the day of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.’” (Exodus 14: 13-14, NIV)
This verse has become popular in all walks of life, a wonderful reminder that at times, we need to still our souls and our minds to be able to see that the Lord is doing a far greater work than we could ever imagine in our midst.
My friend sent me an email two years ago that I have saved and remembered. We had been talking about God’s timing and purposes, and in all caps (to stop me in my tracks, I’m sure) she wrote out BE STILL. And in a lot of cases, with a brain that won’t stop clicking, be still is the best reminder. The reminder that no matter how much I move and shake, God works best when I just move and shake right out of the way.
This is where, I believe, Moses was at. From past miracles, Moses knew that all he needed to do was step out of the way in order to allow God to do His thing. After witnessing the snake and the staff, the frogs, and the blood and the river, I’m sure that Moses had no doubt that God could do a far greater work than he could ever dream of accomplishing. Best to just be still and let God be God, Moses was thinking.
So I’m sure Moses was a little surprised at the answer he received from God at his command to be still.
“’Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.’” (Exodus 14:14-15)
As if God’s sitting up there saying yes, yes, I’ll fight for you, but would you please put your shoes on and keep moving? There’s a miracle up ahead and I want you there to witness it.
There are times and moments when staying and standing still to witness the glory of God and soak in what He is doing and about to do is the way to go. In fact, I’d say that’s most times.
However – in this instance where the Egyptians were pursuing, the ocean was black and roaring ahead, and there seemed to be no way out – this is where God looked down and said go. Keep moving your feet, one small step at time. Now is the moment to warrior on, soldiers. The sea looks mighty, but head for it because I’ll part the way. I will take you to the Promised Land, but you must follow Me there.
And behold, this is exactly what happens. Exodus 14: 21 recounts the rest of the story;
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen.”
This was a time to pick up the promise and march right through to the land. And I’m wondering if there are times where that resonates with us as well. Times to receive the promise and walk confidently in it, regardless of whether that promise is right around the corner, or forty years down the road. Time to receive the promise and go.
God had commanded Moses and his people to move from a place where they were enslaved to a place of freedom. He had sent the plagues, He had sent the cloud, and He had sent the fire. His intention was for His people to keep on moving. In the words of Rose Tonge (valued member of our church body, part prayer warrior, fulltime superwoman), “when the glory moves, we move.” At this point in the story, the glory was not only moving but speeding right along. Now was not the time to stop. Now was the time to march onward.
Warrior on, soldiers. When the glory moves, we move.