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.”
There they were—the Red Sea to the front and the Egyptian army speeding towards them from behind, the place they had just left. They were no longer slaves; God had gone to great lengths to set them free. They had seen miracle after miracle of His power, yet after all that He had done, they doubted. “Did you bring us out here to die?” they asked Moses. They let their circumstances dictate their reaction. Haven’t I done the same?
Just when you think you’ve conquered that stronghold, or that addiction, or finally gotten out of that unhealthy relationship—whatever it might be that was keeping you in captivity—the enemy comes after you charging full speed ahead. There has to be a way out but you don’t see it. And fear sets in! So you run back to the things you know that helped you in the past—those false gods you turned to that tricked you into believing they were the answer. The Israelites wanted to run back to Egypt. For me, it would be food.
I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love it (a little too much) but hate that it is my “go to” coping mechanism when I think life is out of control. This is my bondage, my battle. Everything was going along pretty well for the last couple of years. Then I started letting my guard down a little at a time. A little piece of something sweet, just a bite of something I know is a trigger for me because, of course, I’m strong enough to handle this now. Fifteen pounds later tells me a different story. Life came at me and hit me hard and I had my back against the Red Sea and my hand on a pastry (my version of the Egyptian army). I was in an emotional turmoil and in that moment I forgot what the Israelites forgot—God is in control! I did not cry out to Him, I was trying to fight my own battle. But verse 14 says: The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” He is my strength; He alone can calm the storm inside of me but I can’t hear Him until I get still before Him. I got busy doing everything EXCEPT spending time with the one Person who satisfies my emptiness. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
Then there are those well-meaning friends who just don’t get it. “Why can’t you eat that? Surely it won’t hurt to just have one? They are really good!” I start thinking, maybe they are right; what would it hurt to have a taste? Jesus warns us of this in Luke:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
Unless I am diligent and constantly leaning into the Lord for my strength, I am easy prey. I forget that “I am weak but He is strong” as the song goes. I cannot do life on my own. I think I can when life is going along just fine. But life does not go along fine. John 16:33 says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We lose jobs, people we love die, we have health issues. That Red Sea is staring at me! I have a choice: I can trust that God is in control or I can believe that I am out of control and react accordingly.
10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (emphasis mine)
Jesus is my Shepherd. I can easily become the lost sheep if I am not constantly looking to Him for direction, listening to Him for reassurance, and asking Him to fill up all those empty places only He can fill. The enemy wants nothing more than for me to isolate myself. Last I looked, self-pity and depression are not listed among the fruit of the Spirit. How do I make disciples for Jesus if I’m not out serving Him around other people?
I was driving home from work the other day and I saw something that caught my eye in someone’s yard. As I glanced over to get a better look, I noticed the car started heading in the direction I was looking. I almost ran off the road into a big ditch! What an example of what was going on in my soul. I diverted my attention and started veering off the path. In my weakness, I forgot God’s strength. If He is strong enough to part the Red Sea, He is strong enough to handle anything in my life. I know He is fighting for me! I think it’s about time for me to live that way.
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful you never give up on me. No matter how many times I fall down, you lovingly pick me back up. You continue to teach me as only You can. Forgive me for the times I have let anything replace You as God of my life. Give me the strength I need to finish this race leaving behind the things that hinder me. In Jesus mighty name I pray.