Battles come our way - not those fought on enemy soil with automatic weapons, tanks, and grenades, complete with every 'military tactic' operational - but those things that give us "fits" internally (emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically). We struggle with the outcome because we try to remain in control of the situation instead of turning it over to God. The battle becomes a burden we "slug" through rather than having the unlimited resources of heaven at our disposal. It is time to stopping being 'slugs' when it comes to these battles - they need a quicker end than we are capable of in our own efforts!
Moses spoke to the people: "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. God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!" (Exodus 14:13-14)
Moses was given a direct message from God to tell the people - the battle lies ahead and here's what you should do in the midst of the battle! Most of us don't get some "authoritative" messenger of God sent into our lives after having had such a dynamic conversation with God himself, armed with the message to stand firm in the midst of the fight. At least, not one that we recognize as a messenger! The message God gives him to bring to the people tell us a great deal about how it is we are to face the battle. Let's look:
- Don't be afraid - the idea is that we are not to be filled with fear or apprehension. Our concept of the situation (perception) produces either fear or trust. Another word for these perceptions is suspicions - we develop various suspicions about the reason for the battle, the outcome, and even the enemy we are battling. Anticipation and awareness of danger both produce fear and anxiety. Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. (Phil. 4:6) There is a time in the battle when we have to "reign it all in" and lay it all out before God. In so doing, we begin to be in a place to see clearly what it is that is before us. Our suspicions are addressed, not with our ideas, but with God's accurate perception.
- Stand firm - maintain your position, hold your course, and remain firm. To maintain your position is to hold the position of a witness - be alert, be attentive, be accurate. Weakness and uncertainty do not play a part in being a witness in the courtroom of life. The witness is to give a testimony that is free of revision or change. God is asking us to be well-founded in our beliefs and values. Steadfastness is really what is pictured here - accurately perceiving the circumstances and then able to navigate them.
- Watch for the deliverance - it is inevitable when the battle is in his hands. We may lose the battle in our own ability, but in his hands, the deliverance is sure to come. When we actually see something, we are recognizing it and placing that into actual experience. In other words, stand firm, without fear, and God will be on the scene to bring the deliverance (making it a reality). Deliverance is liberty - it is rescue, or being set free. The promised, desired, and expected results will be -produced - when we stand firm, with our fear under his control.
- You will never see that enemy again - Moses was speaking to Israel about the Egyptians. They were an enemy that could have slaughtered them, bringing an end to their existence. Yet, he says with total assurance, that they would never see them again. What is pictured is the idea of total deliverance from the bondage of a task-master that is demanding, unyielding, and controlling. Kind of like the image we have of sin's control in our lives, huh? God is the one that will cause it to become a reality that we move from a place of total bondage into total freedom - never to be under that condition of bondage again.
- Keep your mouth shut - this is not easy in the midst of the battle. Instead of being still, at peace, and in control of our emotions, we are a miserable wreck! It is not easy being in a place where we stand with an assurance when the end of our bondage seems to be impossible, and then to stand settled, calm and in a place of peace. Yet it is the very thing that God expects of us in the midst of the battle. When trust is placed in the right (true and accurate) place, the battle is assured.
To that, I can only add some words from David: Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10-11) See the emphatic statement here: I WILL BE EXALTED! God is not a mamby-pamby kind of God - he is supreme, sovereign over any other force on this earth, in your life, or in mine. He WILL be exalted - stand firm, be assured, and be still. He is in control! Just sayin!