I’m reading about the last of the plagues and finally Pharaoh’s agreement to let the Israelites leave Egypt. However, once the people left, Pharaoh changed his mind and decided to go after the Israelites with intentions to bring them back to be slaves in his nation. The Israelites reached the side of the sea and realized the Egyptians are after them. They began panicking (and rightfully so) believing they had just escaped Egypt only to be overtaken and killed a little later. I imagine that all of these events transpired over a lengthy period of time with the Israelites saw the Egyptians way off in the distance. All of that time just left more and more opportunity for the panic and anxiety to build. They had nowhere to go.
At this point, I cannot help but picture Charlton Heston in robes standing on a rock by the sea extending his staff with windblown hair and beard. God created the story, but Hollywood brought it to life in my mind.
So getting back to the Biblical text I read…..I get to Exodus 14:14 and a verse jumps off the page like few have. The people are crying, screaming, in a tizzy (as we would say in the South). Moses is trying to calm the crowd when he says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Holy crap. This is powerful.
I’m taking this verse right out of the Old Testament and I am claiming it for myself…..right now…..in the 21st century….in all the disagreements, unfairness, and brokenheartedness that this life offers. It’s as if God himself just jumped out of the time-space continuum as I read this and said, “Hey….you….you that feels the need to right all the wrongs you see on your own two shoulders all the time. You that feels the need to speak out everytime you see somebody doing something wrong. You that hurts, cries, gets angry, and feels frustrated far more than I ever intended. Laura, just keep quiet.
“I’m not talking to Moses or the Israelites anymore. This is my, God, talking to you, Laura. These aren’t always your fights. And arguing with others regardless of it they are right or wrong isn’t going to get you anywhere. You don’t have to save the world on your own. Honestly, you can’t even save yourself.
“I have not handed over the reigns of the world to you. I don’t want you to get the last word in, always be right, or keep the arguments going. In fact, I just want you to sit back, keep quiet, and surrender. I will do the fighting.”
Sometimes as I read the Bible, I’m lucky enough to see a connection between old and new testaments. On rare occasions, I can see the common thread that runs throughout so many passages of the Bible. Most of the time I can’t see beyond that specific story, but there are moments of clarity when God blesses me with a bigger picture. This is one of those times.
My mind begins to remember numerous times in the Bible when God tells people to be quiet and let him do the fighting for us. This idea is seen throughout both old and new testaments so it must be pretty important. Okay, I hear it. Not easy to do it. But message received. Keep quiet.