When Praise Replaces Fear

Gil BalchBlog

Worship

Recently, I received some fresh inspiration while reading Moses’ and Miriam’s song of deliverance, recorded in Exodus 15. The chapter heading in my Bible says, “Song of the Redeemed” because it celebrates their crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. They watched as their enemy succumbed to the very obstacle that had caused them to fear, even to the point of threatening to return to Egyptian slavery (Exodus 14:11–12).

Miriam, described as a “prophetess,” takes a timbrel (tambourine) in her hand then leads all the other women with timbrels and dancing. She challenges God’s daughters to sing and celebrate this great victory they’ve not merely witnessed but personally experienced!

Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand,
and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.
Miriam answered them, “Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
the horse and his rider.
He has hurled into the sea” (Exodus 15:20–21 NASB).

Have you ever encountered what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles, and the fear that gripped your heart was almost tangible? Although you appreciated all the Christian platitudes and scriptures that friends so readily shared with you, no amount of standing still and watching for the “salvation of the LORD” seemed to calm your nerves or deter your anxiety.

How dare anyone suggest you’ll never see this enemy again (14:13). No doubt, the Israelites remembered what happened after the first, second, third, fourth….and oh yeah, the tenth plague before the pyramids of Egypt were in their rearview mirror. Can you identify? About the time you think you’re finally going to be able to relax and enjoy your ministry journey, the same, familiar antagonistic thoughts are suddenly in passionate pursuit, hot on your heels again. Intimidation or pride, anxiety or over- confidence, fear of failure or a superiority complex . . . you name it.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Pharaoh is not the only one who has ever dealt with the diagnosis of a hardened heart. Fears can sometimes give way to frustration, and the war between fight or flight rages. You’re not so sure if returning to making bricks and baking leaks is such a bad idea—whatever earlier roles may have looked like in your life. After all, you had become well-adjusted to the more familiar Goshen roads, simply doing what you were told without having to make any major decisions or moves to unfamiliar territory.

Your “behind-the-scenes” landscape had become comfortable, and being the one leading the pack, even singing and dancing, was not something you relished doing. On the other hand, a good battle against the enemy, giving him a piece of your mind about God’s call in in the lives and ministries of women, was somewhat appealing.

PROPHETIC PROMISES
Godly leaders might have tried to assure you the Lord would “fight for you while you keep silent” (Exodus 14:14) but keeping silent was the last thing you wanted to do. After all, someone needed to stand up for the women. Hadn’t God promised:

‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; (Acts 2:17, also see Joel 2:28).

According to the original language, the imperative of “stand still” in Exodus 14 carries the meaning of “standing your ground.” According to the writer of Hebrews, we sometimes have no other—certainly no better—choice but to “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:23–24 NLT).

CHANGED PERSPECTIVES
“When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31). When your fear of the enemy is replaced by a greater fear and awe of the LORD God of hosts you can’t help but sing the songs of the redeemed, praising and worshiping the One who is your strength and song—the One who has become your salvation.

God is faithful! He sometimes uses His Holy Spirit highlighter to remind us of His deliverance in the past and His promises for our future. Why? Because, praise for today’s victories can become a prophetic declaration of tomorrow’s conquests!

Take some time to read Exodus 15:1–18, Numbers 13:26–33, and Joshua 2:8–11 and see what your perspective might be!