There is a clear tension between being still and making moves. Which is it? Are we to be still and know that God is God and he is in control? Or are we to take steps and make moves to do our best in every circumstance? Red Sea moments tell us it’s both-and…
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God”
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.
A Red Sea moment is one of those times when you are hemmed in by the desert. In front of you is ocean, a mighty force which is not welcoming nor forgiving. Behind you is your pursuer, who is bent on your demise. And to the side is a range of mountains through which there is no path. Hemmed in. No way out.
This is what happens to Israel at the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his army are pursuing them.
Moses’ comfort to the Israelites is that they only need to be still. God will fight for them. Do you believe that? Do you believe that God will fight for you? What does that look like in practice? Does your action and behaviour look like you believe God will fight for you?
Sometimes we definitely hold on the ‘be still’ part. Sometimes to a fault. That’s why there is a tension. Sitting still and not taking action can seem biblical. It can seem like we are following God’s will. And we can remain stuck in a desert or a fog or a predicament which we think we can’t get out of.
In fact, we then start to believe God wants us there. Notice that Israel cried out that they never should have left Egypt. They could have remained slaves there rather than dying in the desert. Why would God bring us here for that? See? We start believing that maybe God wants that for us…
I guess God’s will for me is to be sick.
I guess God’s will for me is to be stuck.
Or addicted. Or at this dead-end. Or helpless. Or hopeless.
What’s your desert? What’s your wilderness? What’s your affliction?
“Tell the Israelites to move on.” Move forward. Put one foot in front of the other. What? How? Enemy behind me, mountains to the north, and water everywhere else. Move where? Move forward. Into God’s provision. Into God’s will. Into God’s sovereignty. Into God’s hand.
God was about to open up the Red Sea for them to cross on dry land, yet without moving, they would have been stuck being still. It’s both-and. Be still and move forward. Don’t think you’re in control. Don’t think you can do it on your own. We need God’s help. Accepting the desert forever isn’t the answer though.
There may be a time we need to be there to develop trust in God and rest in his power and sovereignty, yet eventually, we need to move, or else we will be overtaken by the enemy in the desert. Is today your time to move?
Be still and let the Lord fight for you.
And be ready to move.
God will light the path and part the sea.