After reading this devotion with your family, also take time to read with them Exodus 12:29-42; 13:17-14:31.
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (also known as Israel) lived in Egypt 430 years. During that time, they blossomed from a family of 75 to a nation of around two million. For over a century they had been enslaved. Their lives were made bitter as the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly with all sorts of labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of backbreaking work in the fields. They groaned under the burden of slavery.
The LORD heard their groans and was moved to pity. He sent Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of their slavery. God compelled the arrogant Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to give his people their leave. He did this through ten devastating plagues—the worst of which was the plague on the firstborn. The destroying angel went through Egypt and took the lives of every firstborn Egyptian boy, but the Israelites were spared.
Pharaoh finally submitted and released the Israelites. They marched out boldly with their flocks and herds and their carts overflowing with the Egyptians’ wealth. But then Pharaoh changed his mind. He was distressed he lost his entire slave force. So, he rallied the troops. He took six hundred of his best chariots, along with all of his chariots, and charged out in hot pursuit of the Israelites who were camped by the Red Sea.
When the Israelites looked up and saw the dust rising from the desert floor as this vast army came toward them, their boldness turned to fear. They were horrified because they were in an Israelite sandwich, sandwiched between Pharaoh’s terrifying troops and the Red Sea. In spite of seeing the Almighty inflict the Egyptians with ten devastating plagues, they didn’t think deliverance was possible.
But Moses comforted and encouraged them, “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. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” At the LORD’s command Moses stretched his staff out over the Red Sea. By the blast of his nostrils God split the sea and some two million people passed through on dry ground. The Egyptians foolishly charged into the watery gauntlet. Moses stretched out his staff again and the watery walls collapsed, swallowing up the entire army. The LORD graciously provided his people with deliverance.
As we see the dust of the coronavirus rising on the horizon, our hearts can be filled with many different fears, doubts, and worries. How long will I have to be isolated from the world? Will I be or am I already infected? Who of my loved ones will be stricken by this? Will my elderly parents contract it and die? What will become of my church family? What impact does this have on our financial future? Like the Israelites, we can feel sandwiched in between the coronavirus and death, compressed by anxiety and apprehensions.
That’s when we need to remember who our God is. He’s the Almighty who miraculously provided deliverance for his people in the past and continues to provide deliverance for his people today. He’s already provided deliverance from death through the death of his Son on the cross. Christ’s resurrection from the dead assures us that the wall of death cannot collapse on us and engulf us. Since that is true, why all the worries? Remember: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Pastor Michael Zuberbier, St. Peter’s, FdL