And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13, 14)
The epic nature of the story of the people of Israel does not let up in chapter 14.
Just because they have left Egypt, the escape is not as yet complete. Indeed although the country has been crippled, there is enough pride left to stir the Pharaoh to action. They have been embarrassed and defeated, so for that alone and for the prestige of their recovering economy they need the very basis of that economy to be recovered. Pronto.
The sight of this marauding army in the distance understandably gives the people of Israel a case of the jitters. Maybe this was an elaborate hoax to set them up just for this. Maybe all this walking in the wilderness was Moses letting the fame get to his head and now they were stumped. Maybe this cloud by day was just a convenient smokescreen to get the people cornered for a greater humiliation and further subjugation to the mighty hordes of Egypt.
It’s very easy to talk ourselves into a state and using every piece of evidence that would conflict with it to actually turn it on its head to reaffirm the point that this bad stuff is happening because it was a set up. Maybe what this God that we can’t see has been saying is just make believe. Maybe it worked for the people back them, but it sure isn’t working for me now. Maybe this whole faith journey is an elaborate hoax and a smokescreen that blurs me and deludes me from accepting the reality that this life sucks and the sooner I see it for what it is, the better.
Bad things happen and so it is easy to disregard all the good things. Bad things loom and it’s incredibly easy to dismiss any good thing that would have happened to this point. This is why it is so good that at this juncture God instructs Moses to tell the people that the best thing they can do is to keep silent. Never have the words ‘wait and see’ been more appropriate.
God does not start a job and leave it unfinished. God does not let His Word fail. When He says it will be, it will be. In the face of the circumstances, it might be helpful for us to keep silent, wait and see.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden