Stand Still and Move

By Ryan Dawson

 I was challenged and encouraged this morning as I read the exodus account from Exodus 14.  After the ten plagues, Pharaoh finally allowed the Israelites to go into the desert to worship God, but then he changed his mind and pursued them with his army.  The Israelites were trapped against the sea, and they were filled with fear as the Egyptian army advanced against them.  

Exodus 14:13-16 (NLT) But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.

It feels like the Israelites are given mixed messages here.  Moses tells them to “stand still” and see God’s deliverance and God tells them to “get moving” through the divided sea.  Which is it?  Stand still or move?  I think it’s both, actually.  They needed to be still in the fact that God would fight their battles.  It wasn’t their self-sufficiency or physical prowess that would make a difference here.  They needed to rest in His grace and mercy.  They were completely dependent on God to act – they needed saving, and only God could do it!  But they also had a part to play in receiving this salvation, as they had to move forward in faith.  They needed to believe that God would hold back the sea, so they could get to dry land.  They needed to move forward in faith, trusting God to do what He promised He would do.  

This makes me think about our role as followers of Jesus when it comes to prayer.  We need to rest in God’s faithfulness and believe that He will keep His promises.  We need to be still and trust that we are safe in God’s hands.  We are completely dependent on God, because our self-sufficiency and our wisdom won’t cut it.  If God doesn’t show up in our lives and our church, we have no hope to see lasting transformation.  So, we rest in His grace, relying on God’s Spirit.  But we also need to be intentional to seek Him in prayer, to move towards God, and believe that He will “fight our battles” as we pray bold prayers of faith for our families, our church, and our city.  We are called to “stand still” in prayer and rest in God’s grace, made possible through Jesus Christ, but we are also called to “move forward” in prayer, believing God will show up in powerful ways when we pray.  

We need to pray as a church!  I want to invite you to join us this Sunday night at 7pm at OCS, as we launch our first of four All-Church Prayer Summits for 2024.  This will be a great time for us to come together as the family of God to seek the Lord in prayer as we enter this new year.  I know we will be blessed by being together as we trust God for great things!  
Blessings, Ryan