Friday, August 01, 2008

You have only to be silent

From Exodus 14:

14:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of
Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.

5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, 7 and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. 9 The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘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.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. . ."

Read the rest of the passage here and be reminded of how God worked for them and brought Himself glory. Or click the listen button near the top of that page and sit back with an open heart.

Have you listened or read it? Okay...

Today at lunch, the Blessings and I were sitting in the office, listening to Exodus. The beginning of this passage stood out to me at first... God was setting up this situation for the children of Israel so that He could bring glory to Himself. That's significant.

Then we got to verses 13 & 14 - "And Moses said to the people, 'Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.' "

I literally gasped at that last line. The Lord has to teach me this repeatedly. He will fight for me. I must trust Him and be silent. This word is sometimes translated as "still."

Now, being "silent" or "still" does not necessarily mean inaction (though I do think it involves a willingness to suspend action).

For example, in the very next verse, God says to Moses, "Tell the people of Israel to go forward!" They needed to obey, to move forward in faith in Him.

A neat example of being silent and still is in I Peter 3. Really, I would suggest reading the whole of I Peter for context on this one, but here are verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Without a word. Silence again! And yet again, it does not mean inaction. It is the wife's conduct (respectful and pure) that wins her disobedient-to-the-word husband. It isn't words (whether wise or foolish) that win him. It is her behavior. And it is the stillness that comes from faith in a Father Whose ways are not our ways that enables her to conduct herself in a winning way regardless of her circumstances.

I am also reminded of the oft quoted Ps 46.16, which says, "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Here it is in context; it is again in a setting of dealing with conflict and fear. Be still. Remember Who is God.

So, the Lord is reminding me today to be silent. To be still before Him. To move forward - be active! - in obedience to His clear direction. And to trust Him with the results.


Reagan said...

This is a great post, thanks for sharing. I forget this all the time...

Wayne and Genene said...

I was just reading passages about trust and obedience. Your post was a wonderful addition.

Eryn said...

thanks, laurel. i am not a silent person by nature, and this was a great reminder that God does NOT need my help.

Kolbi said...

Ah, silence. I should try that... Thank you for the reminder.