Daily Devotion for May 26, 2017
'Exodus 14:14 NAS'
As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.
The children of Israel “became very frightened” when their following of the Lord seemed to suddenly become a death trap: “Penned up by the situation of their camp, they could not make their escape. On the one hand was Pi-hahiroth, a range of craggy rocks impassable; on the other hand were Migdol and Baalzephon, which, some think were forts and garrisons upon the frontiers of Egypt; before them was the sea; behind them were the Egyptians: so that there was no way open for them” (Matthew Henry). To make matters worse, as they faced the Egyptian army, “they knew very well the strength and rage of the enemy, their own weakness (all on foot, unarmed, undisciplined, disquieted by long servitude)”...so humanly speaking, they knew they didn't have a chance. Though they had been obediently following God, they suddenly found themselves in a seemingly “no win” situation, and they were scared (I've been there...)...
Overcome by fear, the Israelites “give up themselves for lost; and as if God’s arm were shortened all of a sudden, and He was not as able to work miracles today as He was yesterday, they despair of deliverance, and can count upon nothing but dying in the wilderness. How inexcusable was their distrust! Did they not see themselves under the guidance and protection of a pillar from heaven? And can almighty power fail them, or infinite goodness be false to them?” They had “so much experience...of God’s wonderful favor!” (but I've responded the same way...)
But Moses had confidence in the Lord! He spoke to the scared Israelites as though they were his own children, comforting them (and himself) with the truth: “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today! The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent!” “Moses" directs them to leave it to God in a silent expectation of the event: Stand still, and think not to save yourselves; wait on God’s orders and observe them; follow your leader; wait on God’s appearances; compose yourselves by an entire confidence in God; (and) hold your peace—the work shall be done without any concurrence of yours.” Note: (1) “If God Himself brings His people into straits, He will Himself discover a way to bring them out again. (2) In times of great difficulty and great expectation, it is our wisdom to keep our spirits calm, quiet, and sedate; for then we are in the best frame both to do our own work and to consider the work of God. Your strength is to sit still!”
Finally, the Lord Himself spoke to Moses: “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward!” From this we can deduce that “Moses’s silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israel’s loud outcries of fear.” Note: When we are faithfully following the Lord, though “met with difficulties, we must go forward and not stand in mute astonishment; we must mind present work and then leave the events to God, use means and trust Him with the issue.”
Heavenly Father, we Believers praise you for the confidence we can have in You—our faithful God who has never let us down. Today we will “not fear!” We will “Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for (us) today; (You) will fight for (us) while (we) keep silent!” We will follow You and obediently “go forward,” trusting You will show us a way to bring us out!
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