When Not To Talk, Part 4


‘Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘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. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 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. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, ‘What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’ 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. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ Exodus 14:1-14

There are certain moments when it is completely inappropriate to talk. This fact is hugely suggested by the German hymn written by Katherine Von Schlegel and translated into English by Jane Borthwick: ‘Be still my soul: the Lord is on your side’.

This hymn reminds us that even in adversity, God is in control and being our best heavenly friend, He will always lead us through. The same idea is conveyed by the above text.

God had just delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage but as they set out for the promised land, they were confronted with the sea and Pharaoh had also decided to go after them with his army!

This was definitely an unpleasant experience and they were understandably terrified (although adequate faith in God would have reminded them of His miracles as demonstrated in the 10 plagues, none of which affected Israel in Goshen, that part of Egypt where they dwelled).

Moses encouraged them saying: ‘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’. Exodus 14:13-14

Being still connotes being silent. The King James Version renders verse 14 thus: ‘… and ye shall hold your peace.’ Cambridge Online English Dictionary states that ‘being still’ means ‘a time when it is quiet and calm’. To be still means ‘to listen’, ‘not to make noise’; ‘to be calm and to pay attention’.

When things don’t go the way we wanted or when we experience life’s challenges, let us remember to be still. Indeed, we need to stay calm and pay attention to what the Lord will do or is doing. In our silence, we will be strengthened by the truth that He knows and truly cares.

‘He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.’ Psalm 46:10-11

‘Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.’ Psalm 62:5-6


Our Gracious Father, thank You for your steadfast love which never ceases and for your mercies which never come to an end. Help us in silence, to acknowledge your supremacy over our difficulties in Jesus’ name. Amen.


"For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Ephesians 2:10