Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord”

Stand StillIn Exodus 14, God’s people were fleeing the wrathful Egyptians, and were hemmed in by the Red Sea. They cried out in fear, saying, “…it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness” (vs. 12).

Moses responded to their cries, saying, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (vs. 13-14).

God indeed did deliver Israel from her enemies. He parted the waters, and after the Israelites had crossed the sea safely, God utterly destroyed the army of Pharaoh. “Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained” (vs. 28).

Moses’ call to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” was most certainly not a call to inaction on the part of the Israelites. Obedience on their part was obviously necessary. This is seen both in God’s call to initially leave Egypt, and also in the instructions given to “go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (vs. 16).

However, it was evident that the Israelites could not save themselves on this occasion. The might of the Egyptian army could only be stopped by God Himself. So, Moses directions to “stand still” indicated a need for his people to have faith, and to wait on God to work.

The ultimate redemption of man necessitates the same patience and faith as we wait for the work of God. The prophetic promises regarding the Savior run throughout the Old Testament from Genesis (3:15) to Malachi. It was not until the first century that, “the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

When Jesus was hung upon the tree, there were three days of waiting before the angel told the women at the tomb, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:6).

The apostles were told to wait for the Holy Spirit, and the establishment of the kingdom! “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’” (Acts 1:4-5).

Finally, we must wait for the second coming of our Lord, the final day of judgment. Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:9-10; cf. James 5:7-8).

All of the other promises made by God regarding the redemption of mankind have come true. This one will as well. We must have faith, and wait on our Lord to come again, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

There are, of course, other applications that can be made regarding the call to faith and patience. The most obvious of these is in the realm of prayer. James wrote of the man who lacked faith when he petitioned God, “For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:7-8). Not only is faith necessary, but we must remember that God works in His own time, and we must be patient. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 65:2).

Job’s friend Elihu exhorted Job to, “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14). This is another important application of the concept of standing still. Faith is greatly strengthened as we contemplate both God’s creative, and redemptive works. We rejoice that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). By trusting in God, and in faith making our appeal to Him for mercy, we can truly partake in the salvation He offers to all men.

However, we again insist that waiting on the Lord does not indicate a lack of effort or obedience on our part. This is abundantly clear in Paul’s praise to the Thessalonians. It was because they left idolatry and were waiting in faith, that they were heirs to God’s final promise to man. “For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).