Tuesday, November 28th, 2023
Today, I am going to focus on a couple of gems from the Old Testament. I will admit, I used to be one that sped through my Old Testament readings so I could get to the part of the Bible that I thought was more applicable, the New Testament. However, in the last few years, more and more of the scriptures God has highlighted to me have come from the Old Testament. There is just incredible richness in the faith of those who lived before Jesus came into this world. They did not have the example of Jesus, nor had they been given the Holy Spirit. I am certainly not saying either section of the Bible is more important than the other. I now know from personal experience that both are the living words of God, and both are just as valid and relevant in our deepening walks with our Heavenly Father. The first passage I want to look at is from Exodus 14:13-14:
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Every time I read those scriptures, I can feel the bellow fanning the flames of my spirit. All of the situations I find myself in suddenly bow to the One that has defeated them once and for all. Those words “stand still” sound like they don’t require anything from us. In the original Hebrew these words mean “to place (anything so as to stay)”. It actually requires great commitment to stand still when everything in us wants to go try to conquer. I am a doer and a fixer. When something is broken or not living up to its potential, I often take on more than I should in trying to figure out how to fix it. Questions like, “God, what did I do? What do I need to repent for? What is lurking in past generations? How should I pray? What should I read?” start ruminating through my mind. None of these in and of themselves are bad questions, but in my case, I too quickly try to make myself the one responsible for fixing the problem. God is often reminding me (after more time than I would like to admit) that I need to just stand still and let Him work. It takes effort to shut off my mind, just be still and let Him be God.
The other part that stands out to me is the end, “hold your peace”. This is another one of those phrases that sounds easy, but again, for me personally, requires much more effort. I want to plot out every single plan of attack. I want to role play every single scenario. I want to have backups for all the backups and then file them all away alphabetically so I can find them when I need them. But God says, “hold your peace”. In the original Hebrew this means “keep quiet or be still”. Sounds a lot like “stand still”. It’s no secret why Moses had to say the same statement two different ways, it’s hard for us to do. Let’s jump ahead a few chapters to Exodus 23:27-30:
27 “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.
God here is telling the Israelites how He is going to defeat all of their enemies. He is going to pioneer a path for them and cause confusion amongst those they meet along the way. I love the part that says He will not take out all their enemies in a year, so the land doesn’t become desolate and overcome with wild beasts. When we think of God destroying our enemies, we like the short and sweet examples of the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah or the Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea. In this case however, God knows that taking His time is best. The last scripture in this passage is so telling. God knows the Israelites need time to increase. While He is carefully and methodically eliminating their enemies, the Israelites will be growing in number, so they are even more ready for what comes ahead. I see the value of this in the spiritual also. We often want to go from glory to glory in warp speed. We just want the glory without the trials and challenges in between. The farther I go with God however, I realize that it’s in these miry valleys where we experience God firsthand, learn how to practice our faith and discover the importance of patience. It has to be less and less about us reaching the next milestone and more and more about experientially discovering who God is. These are the places where our spirit truly grows. If we want to inherit all God has for us, we have to be willing to take the time and effort to mature our spiritual lives. There is no spiritual lottery to get us there any faster.
Whatever situations you find yourself in, if the battle is making you weary, maybe it’s time to stand still and hold your peace. Fall into the arms of your Maker and thank Him out loud for His salvation, that He is fighting for you and that you will soon see your Egyptians no more. Trust in His timing; trust in His ways. Let’s all commit to not taking on any more than God asks of us. Tell your soul that no matter how you feel or how the situation looks you will believe the word of the Lord and rest in it. There really is no better place to be.