Exodus Day Twenty-Seven
August 6, 2020, 4:00 AM

Fear Not, Stand Firm, …Go Forth
Exod. 14:10-16

“When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes,
and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them,
and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD.
They said to Moses, ‘Is it because there are no graves in Egypt
that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?
What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?
Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'?
For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’
And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD,
which he will work for you today.
For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.
The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’
The LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forth.
Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it,
that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.’”

Isn’t it bewildering that after all the miraculous wonders done in, and upon Pharaoh, the freshly delivered Hebrews would respond with such a spectacular short-circuiting of faith? God worked ten mighty signs in Egypt not quite ten figurative minutes prior to their meltdown. The incredible pillar of smoke by day and the pillar of fire by night — right there before them, so close they could smell it — couldn’t prove sufficiently there was no god like God? The powerful, Spirit-filled words Moses and Aaron spoke in the presence of the people, couldn’t demonstrate God was in their midst? The practically unprovoked, unilateral, generous severance package their Egyptian neighbors bequeathed couldn’t speak of God’s provision? But this: “Yonder comes Pharaoh, Moses! We know you said, God said, this would happen… But he’s really here! God failed. God can’t protect us from those chariots. Tarnation! Why didn’t you just leave us to happy servitude?” (Ex. 14:10-12 – CSV – Cameron Smith Version).

The LORD said to Moses,
Why do you cry to me? [!]
Tell the people to go forward.
Tell the people to fear not.
Tell the people to stand firm.

We know the rest of the Story, so we know this melting will happen chronically, predictably, sadly, and tragically throughout the forthcoming wilderness wanderings. We read that Story and we get frustrated with their perpetual lack of faith. Their fear. Their complaining. Ah, that stiff-necked murmuring! How could they be so ungrateful? Can’t they see God’s work in their midst? Don’t they know He who calls them? Obviously not. Makes one mindful of the theme from “Dragnet”— Dummmb, dumb, dumb, dumb // Dummmb, dumb, dumb, dumb – Dummmmb.

But then, you recognize the nature of Scripture (see previous post). It’s God’s Word to them, back there, and to us here, today. Not only to them, and to us; but about them, and about us. The Exodus – Wilderness motif lives out in the Church, too. Them’s us! We hear Jesus say, “Fear not.” Stand firm.” “Go forth into all nations…” And we think, does he really know me? Does he know my situation? How can he ask that? How can he tell me that? We want to go back to Egypt, just like they wanted to go back to Egypt. Not to wax hyperbolic, but we do it all the time.

Yet. Yet. Yet…
We can still hear, “The L
ORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Proof? Look at Jesus.
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him!” (Ps. 34:8)

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