Quiet Before God

Moses parting the Red Sea by Hans Jordaens (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)
Moses parting the Red Sea by Hans Jordaens (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:14

The Israelites were in an incredibly precarious position: in front of them was the impassible Red Sea and behind them was the incorrigible Egyptian army. And though God had just brought ten mighty plagues on Egypt, and though the children of Israel had just witnessed that remarkable deliverance from the angel of death, in their panic they could at that moment think of nothing else except to blame Moses for bringing them out into the wilderness for what they were sure was certain death (see verses 11-12).

Moses' response was simple: you don't need to fear (verse 13) because God will fight for you (verse 14). But just as important was his admonition to them to "hold your peace." They needed to be quiet. They needed to stop talking. They needed to stop listening to themselves and put their trust in the Lord.

I think this is often good advice for us, as well. Of course, there is a time to speak. But there is also a time to be silent (Eccl. 3:7). It is wisdom to be able to discern when to speak and when to be silent. When we are in trouble, especially the kind of trouble that tends to make us panic, it is probably a time to be silent and to hear what God has to say.

Now I am a great advocate for what Martyn Lloyd-Jones described as preaching to yourself. But this is not what the Israelites were doing and it is often not what we do. Instead we take counsel of our fears. Instead we apply our own wisdom and short-sightedness to the problems before us. When what we need to be doing is to stop listening to ourselves and start listening to God. For us, that means opening our Bibles and hearing God speak to us there. It means quieting our hearts before the Biblical prophets and psalmists and apostles. And sometimes it means reading for a while before we put the Bible away, and allow God's word to start taking down the castles of fear and unbelief that have been built up there over time.

When we have done that, then it is time to start preaching to ourselves, for then we will not be repeating words of unbelief and worldly wisdom, but speaking to ourselves the words of truth which builds us up in all the right ways.

By: Jeremiah Bass