The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Exodus 14:14 ESV
On the run from the Egyptians, the Israelites stood upon the bank of the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s chariots behind and the waters before them left Abraham’s children without many options. So they did what all of mankind tends to do best in such situations: they complained.
They groaned against God and against His prophet Moses. But Moses assured them to have no fear because God was going to fight this battle for them.
And what role were they required to play? They only had to be silent.
What seems like such an easy and gracious task from the LORD is actually one of the hardest acts to do. In many ways, it is far more difficult to do nothing, relying solely upon the work of another, than to do something, literally anything else at all.
After all, an open battle against the Egyptians would have given the Israelites some function in their deliverance. Likewise, if God granted them the stamina to swim the sea, they would still be exerting some kind of effort. But silence? Silence meant doing nothing, contributing nothing to their own rescue, trusting entirely that God would deliver them.
We too have the same command. When Paul tells us that we are saved by grace alone, not by works, he means that God alone works our salvation. We have only to be silent. Yet everything within us wants to do something, say something, take part in our redemption in some small way. But our salvation is by grace. It is entirely unmerited for our part, given to us from the overflowing love of Christ our Savior and Lord.
As difficult as it is to believe, this is also the best news ever told. All you and I contribute to our salvation is silence. Christ does all the talking and all the work. Rightly, therefore, do we sing: “This is all my hope and peace. Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”