Let’s take a moment together to examine one of the most instructive and inspiring verses in all of sacred Scripture: “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13). Having been freed from more than 400 years of bondage in Egypt, the Israelites find themselves seemingly trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army. Their fear is great, their cry is loud and their hope is lost. Until God shows up!
The Israelites did not find themselves trapped between Pharaoh’s approaching chariots and the Red Sea because Moses made a wrong turn! The Lord was with them every step of the way. You will remember that God was leading His people as they began their Exodus from Egypt: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people” (Exodus 13:21-22). It was God who led the Israelites to this seemingly hopeless place, in order to demonstrate one simple fact: that the God of the Israelites is God – the one and only true and living God, who alone can save.
Let’s briefly unpack both the instruction and inspiration of this month’s message.
The saving power of Almighty God was miraculously displayed to leave no doubt who was responsible for the deliverance of the Israelites. Who could send an east wind to part the waters of the Red Sea? Who could enable the Israelites to walk across on dry ground as the waters were held in place like foaming walls on their right hand and on their left? Who could release the water with such cataclysmic force to utterly annihilate the pursuing Egyptians? Only God! “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:30).
The physical deliverance and salvation of the Israelites was all of God. In this there can be no doubt. And this serves as a picture of an even greater deliverance: the spiritual salvation of man that was won on Golgotha’s Hill by the Lord Jesus Christ. This too was all due to God. The Israelites gave all the glory to God for their deliverance from certain death at the hands of the pursuing Egyptians. We, too, are to give all the glory to God for our deliverance from certain death and eternal separation from the love of God. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
God is in the business of delivering His people out of seemingly hopeless situations. He has been doing this since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and He will continue until the return of Jesus.
Whatever Red Sea you might be facing today, remember the commandment of God: “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
The world will whisper, “It cannot be done,” but don’t you listen! With God all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26). God takes obstacles and turns them into opportunities; He takes problems and turns them into possibilities; He takes what is broken and makes it whole. When God led you on your exodus from death to life, He was simply underscoring the glorious truth of the chorus of heaven: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10). And He expects you to look to Him for your deliverance today.
The world will whisper, “Retreat and go back to where you came from,” but don’t you listen! When the going got tough, the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, where their taskmasters provided food for them. Just days before, they had been groaning under the yoke of slavery; now they were willing to forfeit their freedom for food. But this is not for you. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The freedom we have in Christ is far greater than anything this world has to offer. The provision we receive from our heavenly Father far surpasses the worldly baubles dangled before us, for “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22). As my friend and pastor Tullian Tchividjian often says, “Jesus plus nothing equals everything, and everything minus Jesus equals nothing!”
One final word of comfort: When God says, “Stand still,” He is telling you to prepare to walk into your deliverance. The instruction to “stand” implies a posture of readiness. If God had said, “Sit,” “Kneel” or “Lie down,” it would not have the same force. But when God says, “Stand,” He is telling us to be ready to receive our marching orders. When they come, we are to march with confidence and joy into our promised land. Make no mistake, God is in the business of bringing His people to a place where the only way out is up. When you find yourself in that seemingly impassible place, remember His Word: “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Never forget that. Amen!
Rev. Tommy Boland is the men’s minister and sports minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. He also teaches adult Sunday school. For more information, including Bible study resource materials, please e-mail [email protected] >