Exodus 13:1-16 (Read Here)
Exodus 13:17-22 (Read Here)
Exodus 14 (Read Here)
Exodus 15:1-21 (Read Here)
Exodus 15:22-27 (Read Here)
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’”
In our Instagram and Twitter age, Christians have become particularly good at quick, catchy quotes to summarize our theology. We find them on coffee cups, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and captions that fit perfectly alongside our filtered photos. One of the most popular ones that rises to the top is, “Let go and let God.” Have you heard this before? What does it mean to you? In one sense, it’s a great quote! There are many things outside of our control that we fearfully try to bring under our control. And so we become filled with debilitating worry and anxiety, holding on to something we should let go of and trust God with. Is there something in your life right now where that is true? Where has it been the case before?
But there is another sense in which this quote has been applied in harmful ways. This misinterpretation goes alongside how our focus text above tends to be used and abused today. ”The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14). Many Christians use this verse in isolation (never a good idea!) to sideline themselves in the Christian life. No need to step into the action of life because God will take care of it; he will fight for me! Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, stepping back and letting God be God is fitting and wise to step back and let God be God because something is out of your hands. But what I’m calling out is functional sideline Christianity. We sit paralyzed in idleness, believing that God will do everything for us. Theologians call this “fatalism.” If God is sovereign and powerful, we can sit back and do nothing. But that’s not what our passage teaches us or invites us into.
Moses is comforting a fearful people. People like you and me who, when seeing circumstances bigger than we are, freak out. Have you been there? Their fearful hearts produce all kinds of words absent of God’s goodness and power. Their fear blinds them from remembering God and all He has done for them. That’s how fear works; it forgets that God is sovereign and good and puts us in a world of chaos where God isn’t present. The Egyptian army coming for us eclipses the God who is with us.
What Moses is saying is, “Silence your fear. Remember your God.” Just a few pages later, Israel would fight their enemies. They would go to battle. And in their fighting, God fought for them. As another popular catchy quote goes, “They fought from victory, not for it.” Later in the Bible, Paul the apostle calls us believers to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), which is equipped for action! So maybe there are times when we need to let go and let God. But then there are many other times when we need to “Trust God and get going.” What battle is God calling you to enter today, knowing He will fight for you? What fears need silencing so you can remember your God? Remember that He has fought for you and defeated your greatest enemies (sin, Satan, and death). How much more will fight for you in what you face today (Romans 8:32)? May the God who fights for you eclipse the fears within you today.