“Stop bawling and get moving”

What do you fear?  Don’t tell me nothing. We all deal with something that gets to us – spiders, heights, darkness, confined spaces perhaps?  And there is another kind of fear, one that is far worse than arachnophobia. The unknown, the unseen, the future can bring an undefined dread that grows to become a life-altering anxiety. Only a fool would say that there is nothing to fear.  How can we counter fear?

In the book of Exodus we read about the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt.  There is a battle of wills, God’s power meeting the pride of man, but finally after the 10 plagues the Pharaoh relents sending a nation of slaves off towards the ‘Promised Land’ with Moses leading the way and then this happens – “When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites were not planning to return to Egypt after three days, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all these slaves get away?” they asked. So Pharaoh called out his troops and led the chase in his chariot.” (Exodus 14:5-6, NLT)  Uh oh!   

God’s people were camped at the Red Sea, water in front of them and the military might of Egypt is approaching from the rear. There is no way out.  Yes, they panicked!  Despite all they had seen God do, they fell into a natural response of fear. “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’ ”  (Exodus 14:10-12, The Message)

Knowing the end of the story it’s easy to ask what was wrong with them, to wonder how they could forget the miracles they had witnessed in Egypt.  But, truthfully, I admit that I can identify with their terror.  There were no obvious solutions, no places to turn – from a human point of view.  I can identify with their terror, can you?  How like our lives, isn’t it?

Moses reminded them of who they were, of their status as the people of the Lord. “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.” (Exodus 14:13, The Message)   Moses was afraid, too, but he kept his own fear hidden, crying out to God in private. “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15, NKJV)    God’s answer seems abrupt, almost cruel.  He does not coddle or comfort.

He challenges. “Stop bawling and get moving.”  Then the Lord told him to get out in front of the people and stand beside the Red Sea. There he was to raise his staff and hold it over the water. God said it would part and the people would walk through on dry land!   When he exercised faith and did what God asked, the path of deliverance appeared, not around but straight through the Red Sea. What a powerful story for times of fear.

If you have grown afraid – of the future, of the war, of an illness, of growing old, of losing your security – take God’s word to Moses as your challenge. Stand in faith. Watch God work. Face the future and get moving!

Our word from the Word comes from Isaiah. The people of God were in a terrible situation. God speaks in the preacher’s words. “The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.

The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.” (Isaiah 8:11-14, NIV)  Let only the fear of the Lord own your heart and mind, for in Him is wisdom and strength.

(Video of this blog at this link)

______________

Mighty To Save

Ev’ryone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Ev’ryone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

Saviour He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Ev’rything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Jesus
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan

© 2006 Hillsong Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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