This week, we will be wrapping up our series “Finding Your Way Again” with a brief summary of the topics we’ve been discussing in this worship series on discernment. To catch up on messages you missed, visit our YouTube Channel. You can always catch up using our app: download by texting “medfordapp” to 833/700-2226.
5 When Egypt’s king was told that the people had run away, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about the people. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel go free from their slavery to us?” 6 So he sent for his chariot and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred elite chariots and all of Egypt’s other chariots with captains on all of them. 8 The Lord made Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, stubborn, and he chased the Israelites, who were leaving confidently. 9 The Egyptians, including all of Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots, his cavalry, and his army, chased them and caught up with them as they were camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth in front of Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh drew closer, the Israelites looked back and saw the Egyptians marching toward them. The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt that you took us away to die in the desert? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt like this? 12 Didn’t we tell you the same thing in Egypt? ‘Leave us alone! Let us work for the Egyptians!’ It would have been better for us to work for the Egyptians than to die in the desert.”
13 But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand your ground, and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never ever see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you. You just keep still.”
There are these moments when everything inside us is saying: “DO SOMETHING.” When we find ourselves up against it, when we feel the desperation start to rise, it’s hard to practice the kind of listening and discernment we’ve been talking about this week.
In one ancient commentary on the Hebrew scriptures – a midrash in Jewish tradition – the story is told that at the Red Sea, the people split into four factions. One group wanted to go ahead and drown themselves in the sea. Another wanted to surrender and return to Egypt. A third wanted to fight. And the last said, “Let’s pray.”
That’s exactly the kind of struggle that takes place inside my head whenever circumstances seem impossible. When you feel the pressure to DO SOMETHING, finding the strength to step back, breathe, reassess, and pray is hard. It just doesn’t feel like enough. Our minds fill with anxious thoughts that undermine our prayers. And then the whole enterprise feels like a waste. “This isn’t getting me anywhere,” we say. It’s just like at the Red Sea, where those around Moses were convinced that his hesitation would result in disaster.
But when the way forward isn’t clear, or when none of our options are good, what else CAN we do EXCEPT wait and pray? Sometimes the best we can do is trust God to fight for us while we just keep still.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Is there a situation in your personal, family, or work life that you don’t know how to handle? What would it look like for you to give it over to God today, while you just keep still?
Prayer: God, when everything in us wants to rush ahead, remind us to slow down, listen, and pray. Amen.
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