KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!
Lord Jesus, guide me today in Your way, lead me in the truth, and grant me the life everlasting.
Read EXODUS 14:10–31
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
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.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25 He jammed[a] the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward[b] it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns … It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.’1
During the Second World War, Britain’s Ministry of Information designed the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster to raise public morale. Although not widely used during the war years, the poster was rediscovered at the turn of the millennium and is now popular in countless – often humorous – variations: ‘Keep Calm and… drink coffee/eat chocolate/call the doctor’ and so on.
Today’s passage reads like an ancient version of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ admonition! All the king’s horses and all the king’s men are pursuing the Israelites (v 9). In terror, they turn on God and Moses with angry accusations (vs 10–12). Moses keeps calm and responds with wise counsel to counter the rising panic. He instructs them to ‘Stand firm’ (v 13) and ‘be still’ (v 14). To stand firm is a battle position, a stubborn refusal to surrender. Paul’s instructions for spiritual warfare are similar: ‘put on the full armor of God, so that … you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.’2 To be still involves remaining calm, a refusal to panic – for panic often results in mistakes. There’s nothing passive about this. It takes courage to remain unshaken when surrounded by a roaring sea ahead and roaring armies behind. Britain’s Keep Calm poster displayed the Tudor Crown. Moses’ Keep Calm command flows from the confidence that it is Israel’s king who fights for them (v 14).
God Himself supplies the Carry On portion of the instruction: ‘Tell the Israelites to move on’ (v 15). They are to move on, carry on, marching all the way through the sea – that ancient symbol of chaos – to the beat of a howling east wind driving back the warring waves (vs 16,21,22).
‘Sometimes we want greater clarity when what we need is deeper trust.’3 Today, will you resolve to Keep Calm and Trust God?
Now unto You, O lord, who loves me, who has loosed me from my sins by Your blood.
1 Phil 4:6,7, The Message 2 Eph 6:13 3 Ann Voskamp
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