Israel, Stand Still! #3

Thursday, July 11, 2013

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Israel must stand still and do nothing in order to see her God work mightily on her behalf!

With the Egyptian armies behind them and the Red Sea before them, Israel is forced to realize she cannot save herself. Moses instructs Israel, 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” (Exodus 14:13,14).

Once Israel and the Egyptian armies are where God wants them, verses 19 and 20 elaborate: “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.”

The angel of God who has led Israel in the front now goes to the back of her camp. Furthermore, the “pillar of the cloud” of God’s presence leaves the front of Israel’s camp and stands behind them for two reasons. This “pillar of the cloud” has now become a barrier that prevents the Egyptians from harming the Jews. Also, the “pillar of the cloud” is darkness on the Egyptians’ side, foiling their military strategy by slowing them; moreover, it is bright on the Israelis’ side, providing God’s people with light all night long. What a sight that must have been!

While the Egyptians are distracted and confused as to how to circumvent this “pillar of the cloud,” and Israel has no choice but to stand there helpless in her own strength, JEHOVAH will initiate the last phase of “Operation: Free Israel….”

Israel, Stand Still! #2

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Israel must stand still and do nothing in order to see her God work mightily on her behalf!

The nation Israel is assembled west of the Red Sea, and 600 chosen chariots of Egypt filled with soldiers are drawing nigh from behind. Israel is frightened, but Moses consoles them: 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” (Exodus 14:13,14).

In verses 15-18, JEHOVAH explains His plans: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

Notice the correlation with today’s Scripture. The psalmist, presumably writing centuries later, speaks of how God will be “exalted among the heathen [Gentiles]” and “exalted in the earth.” In the case of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the LORD is using miraculous events to demonstrate to Pharaoh that He alone is God—as opposed to the Egyptian gods and goddesses. Also, JEHOVAH is proving to Israel that they are His “sign-people” and Moses is His spokesman to them: “for the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). JEHOVAH wants Israel to stand still, for He will show them how He will fight for them….

Israel, Stand Still! #1

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Israel must stand still and do nothing in order to see her God work mightily on her behalf!

After centuries of Egyptian bondage, JEHOVAH has finally delivered Israel under Moses’s leadership. Notice what the LORD commanded Moses: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye camp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in (Exodus 14:2,3). God knows Pharaoh’s military strategy beforehand, so He tells Moses how and where to assemble Israel. To Pharaoh, Israel will appear hopelessly trapped.

With the Egyptian armies quickly approaching from behind, and the Red Sea blocking them ahead, the Jews are “sore afraid” and they cry out to the LORD (verse 10). Ironically, despite God’s earlier miraculous deeds on their behalf, they complain to Moses that they will now perish in the wilderness: “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (verses 11,12)!

What Israel is saying is nonsense. God performed many miracles to deliver them thus far, and He has brought them out of Egypt to be defeated by Egypt? Moses encourages Israel to have faith in God’s Word—“Quit being unbelieving, Israel!” “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” (verses 13,14).

Let us see the LORD work….

Israel’s Walk By Sight

Friday, October 26, 2012

“And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31 KJV).

While we in the Dispensation of Grace “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), today’s Scripture validates this was not true of Israel in her program.

In Christendom, there is much discussion about “miraculous demonstrations.” Apparitions, snake handling, exorcisms, and healing campaigns are publicized as “the work of God.” They insist, “Come and see signs, miracles, and wonders!” Certainly, believers in Scripture did perform various miracles, but we need to understand why they carried them out, before we try to mimic them (and before someone gets hurt!).

The greatest hang-up in Christendom is a persistent, defiant confusing and combining of Israel’s program of “time past” with God’s current program operating in the “but now.” Just because God did something in the past, He is not necessarily doing it today. Do we still offer animal sacrifices? Are we building an ark like Noah? Should we stone to death those who work on the Saturday Sabbath like Israel did? Just as we understand the clarity of these issues, we should recognize that miraculous demonstrations performed in Israel’s program are not occurring today (according to the rightly divided Bible, anyway).

For instance, in the context of today’s Scripture, Israel has just observed God drowning the Egyptian armies in the Red Sea. Israel responded by faith, but not until after she had seen that miracle (today’s Scripture). After all, “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Jesus explained to Israel why He performed His miracles: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Without miracles, Israel would not believe (cf. Exodus 4:1-9); Aaron performed signs before Israel, “and the people believed” (verses 30,31).

We are Gentiles, and unlike Jews, we do not need signs, miracles, and wonders—they were for the benefit of unbelieving Israel (see 1 Corinthians 14:21,22, for example). When we study and believe Paul’s epistles, we learn that the completed Bible replaced the miraculous demonstrations (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Tremble, Thou Earth, at Thy Creator’s Presence

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 114:7 KJV).

Psalm 114 provides a glimpse of God’s power over creation.

“When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of water” (Psalm 114).

The above psalm is a brief narrative of God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage, and her subsequent journey to the Promised Land. Notice at least three instances where the LORD demonstrated His power over creation:

  • Verse 3a: “The sea saw it, and fled” refers to God miraculously parting the Red Sea so Israel could pass on dry ground (Exodus 14:21,22).
  • Verse 3b: “Jordan was driven back” portrays God miraculously damming the Jordan River when Israel’s priests stepped into it, allowing the nation (following the priests) to enter into the Promised Land, due north of the Dead Sea (Joshua 3:7-17).
  • Verse 8: “[God] Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters” recalls God miraculously causing water to gush forth from the rock, quenching Israel’s thirst (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13). Interestingly, Psalm 114 alone—not Exodus and Numbers—identifies that rock as flint.

As the psalmist inquired, what “ailed” (troubled) the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, to do what they did? It was their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ! They obeyed His commands. The whole earth—especially the “mighty” mountains, hills, rivers, and seas—trembled in reverence of their mighty Creator.

And yet, for us, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). WOW!