A Word From Pastor Mike

Exodus 14:9-15 The Egyptians-all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen, and troops-pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”

Just when things seem to be looking better, as the Israelites had just witnessed the Lord’s hand extended against the oppressive hand of their slave masters, resulting in their release, they find themselves even more threated as they see the dust of distant chariots closing in and there’s no place to go.

Today we find ourselves in a similar situation. The approaching “dust” made by the chariots of an invisible enemy may invoke fear and despair. We hunker down in our dwellings that cannot guarantee our complete safety. Far more unnerving, the “Rea Sea”, the dead end that says there’s no where else to run. What happens next? We look to leaders to get answers they don’t have. Many, tempted to blame and complain, glued to some form of media, clamor to cull out any morsel of good news. The real answers seem so far off, but really are only as far as the whisper of God. So, the real question that needs to be asked is “What does God have to say in all this?”

First, “BE STILL”. In our current culture being “still” is not usually our natural response to unpleasant situations. Nevertheless, doing nothing sometimes seems to be an only option in certain crises. Several times in scripture God says to “be still”. Is being still the same as doing nothing at all? The stillness that God desires to produce is not the lack of motion prompted by paralyzing fear, but a quieted soul at rest even in the midst of great demand. It is a place in our heart that has recognized still waters, a loving shepherd has led us to for a refreshing drink. It is a peace demonstrated by Jesus in the boat asleep as the storms rage, flooding the disciple’s minds with fear and outrage. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” was their cry. First, He responds to still their hearts, and then says to the storm “be still”.

I do not believe we’re all in the same boat. This situation will affect us all in different ways. Some will fear for health, others finance, and others family. Some of us are in a battleship, strong and in position to defend. Others are in a lifeboat awaiting an uncertain rescue. And still others are on a cruise ship finding things to enjoy. While we’re not in the same boat, we are facing the same storm. Whatever boat we’re in we need the same Savior who may seem asleep. He is “still” but he is not unaware. He is demonstrating a peace that needs to be in place when understanding seems to be failing. We must let the flood of his presence still our hearts as He rises to still the storm.

Second, “Move On”. Can you imagine the Israelites halted by a sea that only serves to hem them in so the advancing chariots can overtake them? They are told “be still”, (as if they had a choice). Now what? “Move on”. What, Where, How? When you’re out of options what do you do? We must stop focusing on what God is not doing and look to consider what God is doing even as we as we find ourselves literally shut in with no where to go. Once the sea opened up the command to “move on” seemed to be a good idea.

However, the command was given before the option seemed available. Surly, God wants more than a simple move through a medium that serves to separate us from the reach of an enemy. He wants to do a deeper work that not only thwarts the advancement of an enemy but establishes greater strength and resource for his children. There is always great purpose in anything God does or allows.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

As we wait for the “Sea” to open what can we do with a command that says “move on”? As the invisible enemy, unseen by the naked eye, continues, for a season to threaten, let us continue to trust an invisible God, who is far more powerful and knowable. There are many things God is still doing in our lives. This is a special time to take full advantage of the opportunities we have. Let not this time of stillness be wasted. Listen to the whisper of a God who has much to say to a stilled heart that’s listening. And let that whisper result in shouts of testimony of the rich things He has done in our hearts, families and church.
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