March 21, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Standing Firm in God’s Presence”

Exodus 14:1-4; 13-14 (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this. 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.”

In verses 1-4, after the Lord reveals His “clever” plan to Moses, he leads the Israelites to the edge of the Red Sea, where they are pinned between the great sea and the great armies of Egypt chasing after them. Some cleaver plan this turned out to be—they are now stuck between a rock and a hard place. They can either drown or be struck down by the sword. The Israelites are unaware of the Lord’s plans and cry out with fear and hysteria, ““Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?”  As their desperate cries get louder and louder, Moses answers the people to do three things:

  • Do not be afraid.
  • Stand firm and you will see.
  • You need only to be still.

In ministry, I’ve learned that fear is the great enemy of faith. Jesus often rebuked his disciples by saying, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” When we are operating or making decisions based on fears, it is certain that faith has no room to grow in our hearts nor in our ministries. The enemy preys on our insecurities and fears to prevent us from living out our faith.

We often seek the Lord’s “plans” rather than seeing the Lord’s “presence” in order to address our fears and anxieties. Without a clear knowledge of the future “plans” that the Lord has for us, we find ourselves immobilized by fears. We think to ourselves, “If God will just tell me His plans, then I will be able to walk by faith.” However, the Lord often gives us something better than just His plans. He asks us to trust in His “presence”, the pillar of cloud/fire, that visibly led the Israelites. Then the Lord tells us, “You need only to be still.”

If you are constantly operating out of fears, spend some time meditating on vs 13-14: “Do not be afraid; stand firm; be still.”

Prayer: Lord, it’s subtle, but I admit that I operate more out of fears than out of faith. Help me to no longer be afraid; to stand firm and be still in Your presence. In Your name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 13


Lunch Break Study

Read James 4:6-10 (NIV): “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Questions to Consider

  1. What steps does James encourage the believer to take in order to receive God’s favor and grace?
  2. How does it strike you that the devil actually flees from you when you stand up and resist him?
  3. Is there an area in your life where there is a need for grief?

Notes

  1. To submit to God; resist the devil; come near to God; purify your hearts.
  2. Most average Christians might fear the devil; however, it is the devil that flees when one takes a stance against him and draws near to God.  
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Spend some time confessing your fears and worries before the Lord. Ask Him to fill your heart with courage and faith.

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