“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”
Life (or is it God?) has a relentless way of pushing us to the brink. Through a persistent parade of obstacles and opportunities we are continually confronted with moments that demand a decision. In our text we find that the nation of Israel stands at just such a place. Before them lie the blessings of God. Behind them gather the dust clouds of Pharaoh’s chariots. God’s message to a people on the brink is to:
“Fear Ye Not”
The sources of fear are two. The fear of the past, in Israel’s case, was the chariots of Egypt bent on revenge. In our case it is often the failures of our pasts which come back to haunt us. In Israel’s case, fear of the future, was the uncertainty of the wilderness. In our case it is also not knowing what the future holds. The shackles of fear are obvious. Fear can discourage, even paralyze. Christians today like Israel of old sometimes find themselves trembling on the shore of some uncrossable sea. The strength which dispels fear comes not from within us but from above us. It is the reassurance of the Lord of the universe: “Fear not.” Only He can truly dispel fear. If God is for us, who can be against us?
The brink is a precarious place to stand. It is a place from which we, like Israel, like to run. We can try to run backwards, to retreat into the security of the past. Israel entertained this idea numerous times in the wilderness. We can try to run away, to escape the challenges of following God. Shallow belief and cheap religion always vanish in the face of challenge. But God’s message to a people on the brink is to “stand still.” Our world is full of fleeing people. They are running from bad relationships, difficult jobs, challenging situations. But somehow, even in the face of the greatest challenge, faith takes a stand. Know who you are, trust in the God you serve and resolve that you will not be moved.
“See the Salvation of the Lord”
Though the brink is a fearful and uneasy place to stand, it is also the best place to observe what God can do. God had brought Israel to this place for the very purpose of demonstrating His power to save. The sea they saw as the edge of disaster, now becomes the threshold of salvation. God acts in decisive ways to demonstrate that it is He alone who can truly save. This is the great message of this text. For Israel, the miraculous crossing, the manna, quail, water, the defeat of the Amelekites all demonstrated this great truth. In man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. It is precisely when we are at our “end,” when the situation seems most hopeless that God does His greatest works.
I’ll leave you with these words….
As we stand “on the brink” of life-changing decision, let us, like Israel of old, hear the word of God: “Fear ye not, stand still, see the salvation of the Lord.” It is the call of Scripture today that people go forward by faith.