When the Waves Roar, Be Still
The Israelites faced such circumstances when they fled Egypt. As the ramifications of their exodus dawned on Pharaoh, he rallied his forces and charged after Jacob’s descendants with more than six hundred chariots (Exod. 14:5–9). I’m sure the emotional storms of God’s people surged.
Certain of victory, Pharaoh and his army bore down. Note the text: “The Israelites looked up, and there were Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord” (v. 10). As they cried out, they turned on God’s appointed leader, Moses, and accused him of failing to protect them. “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? ” they demanded (v. 11).
Now, listen to Moses’ response: “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” (vv. 13–14). Moses’ directive must have sounded anything but comforting in the face of enemy warriors shouting and horse hooves drumming.
“Standing by” and “being still” are counterintuitive commands when the army is coming and the waves are crashing. The natural human response is to blame, get angry, give up, or run. On this occasion Moses did not reprimand the people for their fear. Such concern was natural and to be expected. He merely told them what to do instead: “Do not be afraid,” “stand firm,” “be still.” Such a stance reflects the posture of faith in the face of threat and danger.
When we find ourselves in a trial that threatens to wash away our foundation, we can do as the Israelites did and cry out to God. We can follow Moses’ advice to be still and trust in the power of God. Indeed, the God who parted the Red Sea for His people to escape (vv. 21–22) is able to work mightily on behalf of His children of faith today. He is our Deliverer. If He allows the waves to crash, He will help us stand in His strength and see His protection. This side of the Cross, we know that God the Son made the water and then walked on it. He also told the waves, “Be still.” What is a wave to Him? It may surge and crash, but it’s gone in an instant. And our eternal, sure foundation holds.