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Fight or Flight

Exodus 14:13-14

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. … The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Some people are fighters by nature. People like Peter, who saw devils sweeping in under the cover of night and ran at them with a sword. And David, who saw Goliath puffing out his iron-clad chest and raced to the nearest river to gather stones. And Samson, who took down thousands of Philistines in his final act. Other people are runners by nature though. People like Nicodemus, who remained silent in an assembly of hell-bent elders. And Jonah, who decided that eking out a Robinson Crusoe-type existence on a lonely island was better than delivering the gospel to vicious people. And John Mark, who talked a good game before his first missionary journey but didn’t have the stomach for the high seas when he got there.

But I don’t mean to honor the fighter-folk and condemn the runner-folk necessarily. After all, Jesus told Peter that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword,” and David couldn’t build the temple because his hands were symbolically blood-stained, so there are consequences to fighting. And there are also perks to running. Consider that Nicodemus later embalmed Jesus’ body, likely facing excommunication from his religious constituents, and John Mark eventually became a great asset to Paul, so runners can learn to stand their ground in time. The point here isn’t that God wants fighters to run more and runners to fight more, but that fighters need to learn when to be silent and runners need to learn when to be still. Reflect on that for a moment, friend. Effectively, for fighters like Moses in this Exodus caravan who clinch their swords as soon as Pharaoh approaches, God says, “Put down your sword: I’ll do the fighting!” And for the runners who are frantically looking around for somewhere to hide, God says, “Stay put: I’ll by your hiding place!”

Friend, God is working salvation for us today, even in the face of so many foes. But if we’re too busy swinging swords or racing for the hills, we won’t see it.