Do Not Be Afraid - Part 1
I love Moses and all the many lessons God has taught me through His life, and how I see myself in those crazy Israelites that can’t seem to get it right all the time.
Today let’s talk about how we can overcome fear and do what God has called us to do. This is part one:
Genesis 14: 5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him…………….10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
The Israelites were delighted that Moses had rescued them from Egypt. I am sure there were words of thankfulness and joy. However, not long after they had been released a trial came. Pharaoh changed his mind and began to chase after the Israelites. Immediately they begin to doubt, to grumble, to think negatively about their situation. They begin to let the Red Sea in front of them become an intimidation to the miracle they just received. They started questioning their decision and Moses’ ability to lead them. But Moses does not loose his composure. 13 Moses answered the people, “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. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I use to read the words “Do not be afraid” and literally thought wow I must be terrible at this because I am afraid sometimes. But after going through a study Priscilla Shirer made this point, “It’s not that you won’t feel afraid, it’s that you won’t let yourself succumb to it.” Basically you will have feelings of being afraid but you cannot camp out there. Many times Satan uses fear to paralyze us. We get so caught up in the fear we feel; we forget what God is calling us to do. We come to a crisis of belief as Henry Blackaby calls it. This is when we must accept that what God is calling us to do is going to require faith and action. We have to decide if we trust God enough to move on, even without the full plan. We must have scriptures that we can pull out to fight off fear. Even though we have those feelings we cannot allow them to rule over us. So although it was very normal for these people to feel fear, Moses let’s them know that God is greater than all their fears. He will deliver them.
The next part of the verse says, “stand firm…..the Lord will fight for you ; you only need to be still.” How many of us like to be still? How many of us would get cabin fever after just a day or two of not being able to do anything. I am always a doer! A lady in my small group at CBS just the other day says, “Honey does your leg always move that fast when you are sitting? I replied yes mam. And the more I think the faster it goes.” I have never been one to like to be still ever. However, God has brought me to a season of my life to be still with Him. Sometimes being still is harder than doing thirteen projects at the same time.
I can hear the Israelites assaying things like, “Lord don’t you want us to make a raft real quick, or isn’t there another route? Lord should we get ready to go fight this army?” But God affirms He’s got it without their help. Sometimes I think we are literally shocked by the fact that God doesn’t need our version of what needs to be done. He doesn’t need our ideas of how to fix something, or change someone’s heart, or what we should be doing with our life. The truth is that God has a sovereign plan that is His alone. He takes care of every tiny detail to make sure it is carried out. We get the awesome privilege of working along side of Him, never Him working along side us.
I have always looked at this verse “be still” and thought wow they didn’t have to do anything. This is not the meaning of this verse they were told to stand. Is standing or sitting passive? Sitting requires you to have something under you to carry your whole weight so it is passive. Standing is when you are activating your muscles and your frame to hold yourself up. So standing would be considered an action because you have to make a decision to plant your feet and stand. They had to get themselves so rooted in the truth that God would deliver them, that they were not shaken by the army or the Red Sea. Priscilla says, “Do not lean to the left or right but plant your feet firmly. Whatever God declares to be true about you plant your feet on it. You have to be covered in the Word. You have to engrain it upon your heart so you can have something to stand on. So when you are looking at fear the Holy Spirit can bring scripture up out of your heart and you can root yourself firmly.” I am convinced that it so much harder to choose to wait to hear from God than it is to run ahead and pick out our own plan. Henry Blackaby says this about waiting, “We are a doing people. We always want to be doing something. Sometimes people will exclaim, “Don’t just stand there; do something! I think God is crying out to us, “Don’t just do something. Stand there! Enter a love relationship with me. Get to know me again. Adjust your life to Me. Let Me love you and reveal Myself. A time will come when doing will be called for, but we cannot skip the relationship. The relationship with God must come first.”
Priscilla tells a story about an intern she had working for her one summer. She was not use to big airports like Dallas because she came from a small Louisiana town. They were separated at the airport and they told her to meet them at gate A22, only a few steps away. The Shirer family boarded the plane but still no Katie. The airport started calling her name over the intercom. The plane was about to close the door when she came running down the terminal. Priscilla said she looked like she had run a marathon. She said, “Where have you been? The intern said well I saw the text said A22 and I just thought Jerry meant 22A. So I got on the train went all the way to the other side of the airport and realized he really did mean A22.” Priscilla said her husband leaned over and said, “Katie if you had only believed what I say was what I meant; it would have saved you so much stress!”
I wonder today if we can just take God at His Word. Do we truly believe He has our best interest at hand? Do we really believe He is going to take care of the situation we can’t seem to fix? Is He really going to show up and provide like He said He would?
Let’s focus today on believing that everything the Word says is true about our God. And that everything He says about us is the truth. We don’t have to fight FOR the victory, but from a stance OF victory, because we have already won the fight!
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.