“Just Stop!” Maybe you’ve heard this phrase (or a variation of it) uttered from the mouth of a parent. Perhaps it has tread across your own lips.
Its funny how words like these can take on different meanings based upon the context in which they are spoken and the tone with which they are exclaimed.
For instance, “Just stop,” could mean, “Quit making that annoying noise that you have been repeating for the past hour and a half.”
Then again, it could mean, “Hit the brake on your bicycle before you hit the tree.”
The first example is a corrective measure. The second is a warning. But there is also a third way this phrase could be used.
A few months ago, my son and I were spending a night away from home. We went out for a walk down a long dirt road in the woods. Bryce was laughing, making funny noises, and running circles around me, when all of a sudden, I said, “Just stop!”
But it wasn’t a corrective measure and it wasn’t a warning. In fact, if you had heard the tone of my voice, you would have realized that something important was happening and I didn’t want Bryce to miss it.
We both stopped and I pointed toward the woods. The sun was almost gone and lightning bugs were everywhere. Our little walk was suddenly illuminated by one of God’s marvelous creations: The very first mobile light sources!
I wanted to make sure Bryce took it all in. I wanted to help him marvel at God’s creation.
In Exodus 14, right before the children of Israel pass through the red sea on dry land, Moses says, “Just stop.” Okay, that’s my paraphrase. His actual words go like this:
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:13-14).
Here Moses was saying “Just stop” in the sense of, “Something important is about to happen –don’t miss this!”
God was about to do something huge. In fact, it was so big that Moses described it as, “The salvation of the Lord” from Egyptian captivity. What a tragedy it would have been to miss the parting of the Red Sea and the defeat of the Egyptians!
In verse 14, Moses gets more specific about what is about to happen. He explains that the Lord will fight for the Israelites. Consider the power of that idea. God Himself, with unlimited power and strength will fight on your behalf. What a marvelous foreshadowing of the victory Christ would accomplish on our behalf“ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
I love the last phrase Moses utters in verse 14: “….and you have only to be silent.” Wow! In other words, Moses was saying, “Just stand back and watch God do all the work.” It was a call to, “just stop” and stand in awe.
It’s the same call we have at the cross of Christ. Like the children of Israel’s plight against the Egyptians, we are powerless in and of ourselves to do battle with sin. Instead, Christ has fought the battle for us on the cross. Victory is ours through Him. “It is finished” (John 19:30).
Now, just stop and stand in awe.