We are living in a season of great uncertainty that is promoting a lot of fear. Yet, the Bible is filled with examples of how people of faith overcome situations and circumstances that appear to leave us with no way out.
In Exodus 14, Moses is leading the people out of Egypt after being enslaved for 450 years under unbearable hardship. In Moses’ fateful encounter with God, God says, “Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,” Exodus 3:7
Know that God hears your every request for help. He knows your suffering. He is a witness to your frustrations. Although we may not get an immediate response, God is preparing for your deliverance!
God raised up Moses to confront Pharaoh and through a series of supernatural displays of divine power, Pharaoh concedes and agrees to let the people leave.
But as he watches his labor force disappear, he has seller’s remorse and wants to cancel the deal.
While the Israelite’s can still see Egypt in their rear-view mirror, they also see Pharaoh and his army in pursuit of them, and it says in verse 10, “they feared greatly.”
Pharaoh hunts down these unarmed travelers with an over-the-top show of force. His motive is to intimidate. This is precisely what fear attempts to do to you and me.
Pastor Rick Warren explains fear like this, “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Fear can be used as an intimidation tactic, a bluff to get you to back down. In most cases, the thing we feared never materializes.
You and I will encounter situations that provoke fear, but it’s how we respond to fear that matters. God has given us a means to counter punch our fears.
In Exodus 14, the Israelite’s respond in two ways; #1 They cried out to God.
They phrase “cried out to the Lord” is a plea of desperation. It’s an admission that my circumstances are beyond my power to act and I need help.
But then the Israelite’s backpedal and #2 They complained to Moses.
Complaining perpetuates fear. Fear caused temporary amnesia regarding the recent display of God’s power.
They forgot the uncontested miracles of the ten plagues that brought Egypt into submission or how God lead them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night.
When faced with fear, we have two choices; listen to the lies of fear or trust in the faithfulness of God. By listening to fear, they had a skewed recollection of the past.
In Exodus 10:12, they said, “Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’?”
- No one said that.
- No one thought that was a great idea.
- The people cried out to God for deliverance, Exodus 3:7.
Fear can also lead us to interpret the misery of the past to appear more like the good old days. Whenever the past starts looking better than the present or future, we need to arrest whatever fear is seeding that thought in our minds and turn to faith.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Faith is forward-looking, never backward-looking. What is hoped for is future tense, not past or present.
If they are going to overcome doubt and this army fast approaching, they must make a decision. Will they remain gripped by fear or by God’s faithfulness? Moses commands the people to do two things.
The first command is #1 Fear not.
- This statement translates as “don’t let fear have you.”
- Fear impedes our ability to obey God.
- It paralyzes us and keeps us from exercising faith.
#2 Stand firm
This means to maintain trust in God and hold fast to His faithfulness, no matter how threatening the situation appears. There are moments when God wants you and me to stand as He demonstrates His faithfulness as the odds are against us.
Moses declares his trust in God by saying these Egyptians that you see coming towards you; you will never see again. God is going to fight the battle for you, and He will not lose.
The people will escape this inescapable situation and not return to the slavery they are leaving. He tells the people, you have only to be silent, hold your peace, do not doubt.
Our circumstances don’t change who God is nor what He is capable of doing, but provide an opportunity for every attribute of God to shine.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Continue to trust and place your hope in Him as you wait on His deliverance. God has made a covenant with His people, and He will see you through every trial and tribulation.
He has not forgotten you. He is preparing your deliverance.
Stand by faith.
Don’t back down.
Don’t back up.
Don’t break faith.