|Volume 22 Number 1 January 2020||
We all know the account in Exodus 14 where Pharaoh had finally let the children of Israel go out of their captivity. Then, though, he had a change of heart and had his army pursue the Israelites. Needless to say, the Israelites were scared beyond belief when they saw the army of Pharaoh approaching, and they cried out to Moses, “It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:12). They were wishing they were still Pharaoh’s servants! Moses told them, “Don’t be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…the Lord will fight for you.” They were fleeing from the Egyptian army right behind them, and they were on the bank of the Red Sea, so they couldn’t go forward. Moses told them to “stand still”! Then, God told Moses to let them go forward and He divided the Red Sea so they could pass through it on dry ground. We know that Pharaoh’s army was destroyed by God in the sea. Yet, can you imagine telling these distraught people who were fleeing for their lives to “stand still”! Just wait on God!
We all get caught up in the process of daily living, and it’s easy to be distracted from what is important. There are so many things going on around us and many of them involve us. We have to make time for God. Of all the characters in the Bible, I believe that David was the best at finding quality time to spend alone with God. So many of the Psalms are heart-warming because they are personal and because they are praises to God. David didn’t pen these psalms while he was on the battlefield or hearing about kingly matters from his throne. He had to make time to be “alone” with God. This very thought is expressed in Psalm 46:10, which reads, “Be still and know that I am God.” We all need to do that every day. We need to take time out of our busy lives to be still and to spend time alone with God.
Hosea told the people of his day, “It is time to seek the Lord!” (Hosea 10:12). When things get bad, it usually is time to seek God. However, if one wants to enjoy God’s blessings, he better not wait until bad times come to seek God. The wise man was inspired to write, “I love them that love Me and those who seek Me diligently will find Me” (Proverbs 8:17). God is not going to hide from those who want to serve Him and enjoy His blessings. He loves His people and wants them to “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom” (Colossians 1:9). In order to do that, one must “be still” and give diligence to knowing and obeying God’s Word.
We often sing a song that says:
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always and feed on His word; make friends of God’s children; help those who are weak; forgetting in nothing His blessings to seek. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone; By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul; each thought and each motive beneath His control; thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
Like the song says and just as David did, we need to take time from the busyness of the world to make room for conversation with God, study of His Word and active discipleship. We’ll truly be richer for it—not earthly riches but Godly riches.
We need to slow down, “stand still” and be quiet to learn of God and to know His will. We must allow the knowledge of His will to permeate our very beings so that we can enjoy the best of this life and the one to come. We truly need to listen and obey as God says to “be still and know that I am God.” He is our Lord and Master, as well as a loving God.
Guilt and Regret
I have heard people say it time and time again, “If I could go back, I would do things differently.” Just like most people, I hate thinking about the sin that has been in my life. I hate knowing that I ever hurt or disappointed other people. I also hate knowing that I sinned against my God. On a good day, when I think about the things of the past, I stop and praise God that I am no longer living the kind of life characteristic of me in the past. However, on the bad days, when my faith is shaken, I can find myself dwelling in the past and in regret. I believe there is something that we all need to remember when we find ourselves dwelling in regret.
As Christians, we need to remember the God Who we serve and the forgiveness He so graciously offers. I know there are those who try to escape any personal responsibility for sin, and I hope these individuals will repent and come back to the Lord. Yet, we also have many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with regret and guilt even when they have done everything that they need to do in order to be forgiven. I think we all, and especially those who struggle with things like this, need to remember that we do not have to live with guilt. While there may be things for which we were once guilty, for which, therefore, we may experience earthly consequences, we do not have to live with guilt before God. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 and 1 John 1:9, we can see how to get one’s relationship back into good standing with God.
On top of not having to live in guilt, we also do not have to dwell in regret. That does not mean we forget everything we have ever done. In fact, remembering sin in our past can help us remain humble as we live for God. Yet, dwelling in regret and guilt holds us back from living the Christian life that we ought to live. Do we really believe God when He says He will forgive us? I think at times we fail to grab hold of the salvation that has been offered to us because we are still scared of not being good enough. I think it also scares us to give up control to anybody other than ourselves.
The reality is that we are not good enough. That’s why we needed Christ. That is not a statement meant to devalue us as Christians. God knew that we would struggle and sin, and that is why He offers us a way back through His Son. It is amazing to serve a God Who loves us so much that He gave His Son to die for us as sinners. It is also such a great blessing as Christians to be part of the church and to be surrounded by people who want to see us come back when we have sinned (James 5:16; Galatians 6:1). Let us no longer let guilt and regret control our lives, but let us instead continue to give our lives to Christ and praise God for the forgiveness that we have in Him.