Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Grip of Fear, Part 2

Yesterday, we explored Moses' words to the children of Israel as they discovered themselves to be in a very uncomfortable sandwich situation between the sea and Pharaoh's army.  Today, we look at the very next verse, God's words to Moses:
"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry out to me?  Tell the Israelites to go forward."  Exodus 14:15 NRSV
It was in this verse that I found great conviction.  So often I let the fear of what is ahead keep me from moving my feet.  Rather than a frozen response, God urges a faithful response.  As I sought out more meanings for the word "still" in Exodus 14:14, I found the word "silent" in other Bible translations, which spoke to me in new and fresh ways about continually giving over my whir of worry and anxiety to God.  I wonder if it is in that stillness and silence we submit completely to God, trusting that His plan is best even when it is too murky to understand, even when sometimes we don't know how, but trusting in His All Knowing guidance.  Because here's the deal, brothers and sisters, and one I know I lose sight of far too often, He never tells us to move forward by ourselves.  God is with us each and every step of the way.  Each step of faith we take when we may only be able to see one foot in front of the other or even when we cannot see that much ahead, He is with us.  And not only is God with us each and every inch, He desires to be with us.  We are His creation and God longs for us to live out the abundant life He has called us to. 

A few verses later in Exodus, we see God's constant guidance with the Israelites:
"The angel of God who was going before the Isrealite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them.  It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel.  And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night."  Exodus 14: 19-20 NRSV
 What a picture of God's provision and guidance, knowing exactly what the Israelites needed at the time and providing it.  God continually leads the Israelites in this pillar of cloud and fire to guide and direct them.  In fact in Exodus 13:22 we see the power of God's continual presence:
"Neither the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."
 And here again in Exodus 14:19-20 we see God's cloud of protection that has gone with the Israelites each step of the way moving behind the Israelites to protect them and as they look ahead, what a glorious display of God's eternal power in front of them, the parting of the sea!  God made a way when many of the Israelites might have thought their situation impossible.  God was with them in the fear, guiding them to faith.  Will you trust Him with whatever situation you find yourself in today?

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