Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I can’t read this verse without thinking of the musical setting Evie Karlsson put it to, which I have translated into Japanese. It is a very simple and powerful message. Sometimes the Lord does ask considerable activity from us; this is no excuse to be lazy. However, it is a reminder that the solutions and power come from God. Sometimes His victories come through our sacrifices. Revelation famously tells us, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11) From a worldly standpoint martyrdom is defeat, but from the viewpoint of eternity in heaven, it is a glorious victory. It’s all a matter of perspective. When we are focused on the here and now, on our physical comfort and pleasure, we miss out on what is really important. It is interesting that where the English says “be still” in this verse, the Japanese says, “be silent.” Both, I think, are important. We’re to stop thrashing around in our own strength, and we are also to stop yelling about it. We can be very proficient at complaining! The same thing may be said of worship. Sometimes dancing before the Lord, praising Him with loud voices, is entirely appropriate, but sometimes the silence of deep reverence is called for, even being prostrate before Him. Revelation tells us both exist in heaven! The point is, when our voices are raised it should be in praise and thanksgiving, and not in complaining and fear.
All of this fits perfectly with two times the Lord has spoken to me, once in what seemed to be an audible voice and once in a strong impression in my heart and mind. As I have shared before, the audible voice experience was when I had been beseeching him nonstop to speak to me, to tell me what I should do, and when I paused for breath He told me, “Well then, shut up.” I indeed did, in great shock, but then I had to laugh at myself. I had been too busy asking for something to be able to receive it. The second experience didn’t seem like an audible voice, but it was no less clear. As is most common for me, my morning devotions developed into a Sunday message, and the message was, “Rest. Relax. Rejoice.” I don’t remember what Scripture was involved, but that’s another way of expressing what this verse says. I’m not to be lazy, but I’m never to think that I’ve got to make anything happen. My job is to cooperate with what God is doing, and often that just means getting out of His way. My strength and wisdom are totally insignificant compared to His, and I should be very glad of that! He has given us a humanly impossible vision of this city again being the foremost Christian city in the nation. Since I can’t make it happen, I’m to rest, relax, and rejoice as He makes it happen, perhaps even using me in the process.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all of Your marvelous plans, and for including me in some of them. May I cooperate fully, not getting in Your way, so that Your will may be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!
I am edified and amazed at your deep commitment to be a faithful steward of the Word of God. These words are the fruit of your decades of study, prayer and meditation on His Word. The volume and regularity of your sharings is remarkable. I don’t get to read every one. I’m impressed with every one I do read.
This one today is very helpful. It reenforces something that my spiritual director recently suggested that I do in my prayer time.
Occasionally I might not agree with some of the things you write, but they are not central issues of doctrine, but some of the more peripheral aspects of our respective traditions. Perhaps we can discuss some of them when I see you and Cathy in May. 🙂
I continue to pray for you and Cathy and 新生の里 (almost) ever day.
Liam, I am honored and blessed by the friendship we have shared over the years. All I post are the lightly edited writings of my daily devotions, which I would do whether or not I blogged! Keep us posted on details of May!