Stand Firm ...
Moses answered the people, “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 to be still" (Exo. 14:13a,14).
You couldn’t really blame them. They weren’t soldiers … they were just laborers who had known nothing but bondage and servitude.
And now the Egyptian army was bearing down on them with every intention of wiping them all out … not just the men who might take up arms, but all of them. After all, their God had just killed the firstborn of every Egyptian family while the Israelites had been spared. And the Israelites had used this to not only gain their freedom but also to "pillage" from the Egyptian’s silver and gold!
So now, seeing the Egyptians bearing down on them, they got a little "snitty" with their leader. They asked, Were there not enough graves there in Egypt? Why in the world had he brought them here?
The Israelite population was unable to fully understand how God was at work in this situation. They just didn’t have the full picture or even the part of the picture that God had shown to Moses and Aaron. Yet, here they were in the wilderness, it wasn't a "new normal," and now they were facing the fiery of Pharaoh's army!
But God was not finished with the plan.
There were more miracles to come.
More trials and tribulation, too.
But in the end, they would end up in the Promised Land … a place they had been praying for, but not really believing that it was possible.
And now, here they were, on the road to the Promised Land and already losing courage … resolve … commitment.
And God gave Moses a word.
"STAND FIRM—and you will SEE the deliverance of the Lord”.
Sounds a little bit like the Modern Church two months into the coronavirus crisis.
Asked to give up their weekly gatherings, and their routine prayers and other meetings together. To suspend their regular jobs, their entertainments and their hobbies in order to social distance for some disease that remains unknown to most of us. Asked in the beginning to self-isolate and to social distance from others, but then "ordered" to do so. Ordered by politicians and public health officials who claim to have some knowledge, some awareness that is somehow greater than what you and I seem to possess. And so, we feel tired, and we feel tired of "missing" our old routines, our friends, and our traditions.
Stuck in the Wilderness and wondering why ...
Maybe facing the Coronavirus Army wouldn’t have been so bad after all! Maybe, just maybe, we need to hear a word from the Lord!
Stand Firm … and you will see the deliverance that the Lord will bring.
Stand Firm … and you will see the new thing I am about to do.
Stand Firm … and you might see the Kingdom here on earth you have been praying for.
Prayer: Lord, we are tired and we miss our routines. We are unsure of what we should do in this time. But we continue to pray that your Kingdom will come and wonder if this might be a way in which you are bringing it to bear. So help us Lord. Help us to be patient, to be courageous and to Stand Firm. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains