Exodus 13: 17- 14: 14 (& Psalm 115)
“….do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…..the Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”
From Exodus 14: 13-14
Picking up from Friday’s blog we find the people of God freed from slavery and led by the Lord to the Red Sea; He guides them on the less obvious route so they do not have to face a war they may not be able to cope with. His visible presence in pillars of cloud and fire are a very real reassurance (13: 17-22). Despite God’s powerful deliverance and presence, when surrounded by the pursuing army and sea, the people waver, fear and cry out. In their panic they suggest it would have been better to stay slaves, serving the Egyptians rather than dying in the desert (14:1-12).
Some of the key messages within the account of the Exodus relate to freedom; power; service; and worship. What is true freedom, where does real power lie, who or what should be served, and who or what is to be worshiped? God’s people were held in slavery under Pharaoh (who was viewed as a deity), serving him and his people and yet they were called to worship the true God. In freeing the people from slavery God led them to a place where they were trapped between the army and the sea; apparently! Amongst His purposes in these circumstances He showed His people that He alone was and is God, they were to worship and serve Him only and He alone provided true freedom.
In our isolation we may feel that we are between an army and a sea, between a rock and a hard place; we may feel trapped. We may feel we are facing something that we cannot cope with. God has a purpose in this situation though, we are where He wants us to be and He will not let us face something that we cannot cope with. He is asking us not to be afraid but to stand firm, be still and see His salvation. His presence is with us in the fire of the Holy Spirit and He will guide us. He will also show us what we are and have been worshipping and therefore serving. Psalm 115 has a lot to say on this latter point confirming that we become what we worship and we serve that which we worship (esp. vs. 8). As our lives are stripped down in this pressure situation we have time to think. We have an opportunity to see things as God does and to also see ourselves from His perspective. If we manage to be still we will recognise that true freedom is spiritual and eternal, that all power is in God and that it is He alone we are to worship and serve. Can we be still enough to see, hear and discern? Can we be freed to worship?
To Ponder: How do you assess your freedom, by: self-control; happiness; circumstances; spiritually; God’s truths; or some other measurement? Where do you think the power that controls your life lies? In real honesty try and define who or what you worship and serve in your life?
Prayer: Dear Father, please help us to fear and trust you alone; be our help and shield, for you alone are God, the maker of heaven and earth. May we worship you only and praise you for your love and faithfulness. Bless us with true freedom and so enable us to worship you. Let us be still, know that you are God and forever extol your Holy name. Amen
From Psalm 115
Praise: Peace, be still.
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBzg4B3_yS8
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.