Talk about your rollercoaster rides, the people of Israel were certainly on one, and an intense one at that. After 400 years of increasingly difficult bondage in Egypt, God finally sends a savior in the person of Moses. The salvation of the nation was rocky though. Disbelief, plagues and the resulting pushback from Pharaoh, and the go/ no-go scenarios made the going rough, but finally they were on their way. Extreme joy and celebration defined the beginning journey.
Doubt began to cloud the minds of some, those with a better grasp of geography. Instead of continuing directly to the northeast toward Canaan, God’s promised land, Moses had them turn back. Now, they were heading due east toward the sea. This was in direct obedience to God’s direction, and though this didn’t make sense, thinking back on God’s miraculous deliverance gave reasons for hope.
As they worked their way down a narrow gorge toward the water a cry went out from those at the rear. Dust clouds were visible on the western horizon. Moses sent scouts to see what was causing the stir. They returned a day later with horrifying news. Uncountable numbers of Egyptian chariots, cavalry, and foot soldiers were bearing down on them at a tremendous speed. Escape was impossible with mountains on each side and the Red Sea directly ahead. Fear and confusion reigned, and rebellion was close at hand.
Moses rose above the growing madness, held up his shepherd’s staff and called out to the crowd. “Be still,” he yelled “and see the salvation of the Lord!”
We know the rest of the story. God saves Israel through the Red Sea to further display his glory.
As we walk with God, led by his Holy Spirit, we all have experienced times of confusion as to direction, timing, and purpose. Like Israel, our eyes drift from God’s faithfulness to the ever-looming issues we are facing. Usually, this doesn’t happen all at once. We trust God’s direction as long as we can, but when he is leading us into a blind canyon with “enemies” on our tail, that trust eventually changes to doubt. We look around and see the mounting waves and feel the gale buffeting against us. “Save us!” we cry out as we begin to sink.
“Be still and know that I am God,” is his quiet, confident response.
“But, are you seeing this?” we begin.
“In this world you will suffer,” we hear, “but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
“We can’t do this alone,” we respond.
“I will never leave you, or forsake you, to the very end of the age,” he reassures.
Be still. How many miracles have we missed because we were unwilling to be still? That can change beginning today. Repent sooner. Rest longer. Listen intently. Trust deeper.