“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14
The other day I saw this promotional image for the new movie Exodus: gods and Kings. I love the story of the Exodus, it’s one of my favorites in Scripture. Now, let me say up front. I’ve not seen this new movie…I’ve not even read a review. It may be spectacular, or it may be a flop. I have no idea; but I don’t plan on commenting on it. Instead, the image I’ve shared stirred something in me. We see the figure of Moses standing on dry ground as the waters of the Red Sea storm around him.
The story of the Exodus is a remarkable one; especially from the vantage point of Moses. He’s born to a Hebrew family. When pharaoh orders all Hebrew male Children killed he’s put into a basket and sent out into the Nile only to be plucked up by Pharaoh’s daughter. He’s raised as an Egyptian of means, later flees into the wilderness, see’s God in a burning bush, and returns to Egypt with a message from God for Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” And these are just the highlights.
On all sides Moses is pressed in upon. He has to go toe to toe with Pharaoh. A man convinced he’s a god who sits at the head of one of the world’s superpowers…an elite arm at his command. Could you imagine walking into that hall of power with only a staff and the Word of God, “let my people go!” Later, Moses find himself in between that charging, elite arm, and a great body of water. To make matters worse, he’s got the Hebrew nation under his care. And God parts the waters.
You’d think that was bad enough. But there’s more for Moses. He’s got the needs of the people to care for as he leads them along the way God would have them go. Water, food, and safety are needed. But wait, there’s more! The people are out to get Moses. I’ve lost count how many times the text reports “and the people murmured against Moses.” Funny how that works isn’t it? Moses is bringing God’s Word, he’s risking his life, and he’s leading them from slavery to freedom…and the people are out to get him! Funny indeed how God’s people can be. Yet God gives him the Word again, the 10 Commandments, God provides water from the rock, and manna and quail from the sky…and God hems them in on all sides with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
The story of Moses, this picture; they make me think of Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” In the midst of the storms of this life we too may feel as if we’re pressed in upon by all sides. Of course there are those challenges that lie before us that we see. The proverbial enemies in our life. As we are called to strive against those forces that defy God and his justice we will feel the building pressure. But then there is that pressure that comes from the unexpected source…this is often the worse. Those people and places that we work for, that we give of ourselves for, that we are called to; when those persons and places turn on us…well, the pressure can seem immense! Moses knew this. But Moses also saw the mighty work of God in the midst of life’s pressure inducing storms. As the waters build and the pressures rise…God makes a way! As the energy runs low and the resources diminish…God provides! As the way seems dark and the need for guidance is great…God intervenes! Moses lived the promise that amid these challenges the Lord God Almighty would fight for him. look again at that picture. As the forces that defy God rage, Moses has been made sure by God’s never failing presence and promise…he stands firm…he stands still.