The Word for 2019: Forward!

“14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.” Exodus 14:14-15

It’s funny that one of my readers picked the word, “Forward.” I started this post back in November 2018.  Since then, I had the privilege to see my son graduate from Basic Training. I wanted to capture the emotions of that day: the pride, honor, teamwork, and fear.   

I have always had a healthy respect for those who serve our country, but on November 7, 2018, when my son Todd, along with four other battalions of men and women walked through a cloud of smoke for the family day, my heart swelled with pride. They were completing ten emotional and physical weeks of grueling training and preparation. When I got the chance to process with my son what he learned, he said, it wasn’t the physical part that was so tough; it was the emotional part. Without going into too many details, a major part of the training is mental. Equipping our soldiers to adapt to obstacles. It reminded me of what the people of Israel faced leaving Egypt. They had a rough physical life, but they were not spiritually tough. They met every obstacle they faced with grumbling against Moses and eventually God. The first major test was the Red Sea. Upon arrival – even though they had experienced the power of God securing their release – was met with doubt and a sense of hopelessness. I love God’s response to the grumbling, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”Shut up and keep moving was the message from God. There is a spiritual lesson there for us. When we doubt the power of God, be silent and keep moving forward in the will of God.

The slogan for the Army is great, “Always Forward!”

As a part of the ceremony, the Sargent said “…you are one of us. You are part of the Army family”. When I travel, I always buy a hat to mark and remember the places I have been. I picked up only one hat on this long, ten-states, ten-day trip and it reads on the front “Army Dad”. It is one I wear with pride. It is a reminder that when life places barriers in your way be silent, and remember, “Always Forward!” 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Often times in life we allow the obstacles to get in the way of your will and direction for our lives. Father help us to see those setbacks as opportunities to learn to trust you more completely.   Our life is not measured by how far we climb up the ladder, it is often judged by the number obstacles we have overcome while still remaining faithful and fruitful. Strengthen us for the long journey of faith.  In Jesus name, Amen.

9 Comments on “The Word for 2019: Forward!

  1. Blessing and thanks to your family and especially to your Son for his service. Father God, above all, I pray for this young man’s protection as he moves forward in life. These very words you spoke to me last week to inform me You are ahead of our life situation, and I love that You gave them to Keith to remind him You are with him too. We love you Lord and thank You for always being ahead of us. (Romans 11:33). Amen.

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  2. Hi Pastor, I enjoyed your devotion. When I learned this verse growing up with the NIV translation in the Lutheran Church in Canada, “be silent” was “be still.” I’m not here to argue & believe both words make sense. However, I have always felt the words “be still” not only embody being quiet (not complaining), but also not doing anything or not trying by your own power to solve a problem. Here, I think the Israelites grumble and part of it is they want to take action, but are powerless to do so. Thus, God is saying not only ‘shut your mouths and stop compaining,’ but trust me to solve this b/c it’s above your abilities to do that and you should know better ie.) as you mentioned they’ve seen God’s power earlier as they were freed from Egypt. What’s interesting about this verse is that even when we stand still and say nothing, we are serving God. Even those who face illness are trapped in bed or perhaps, in ailing bodies as the old/sick, they too are serving God in whatever physical or mental state they are in. A wonderful description of this comes from the Renaissance poet/writer John Milton’s poem “On his Blindness” Who as an older man, loses his sight and must depend on his daughter to write his poems & help
    him adjust. Though he is most certainly a Christian, he struggles with this until he concludes — “They also serve [God] who only stand and waite.” Wonderful to read this, from you & what I wrote above I learned from my old pastor and also at university. Take care!

    John Milton. 1608–1674

    318. On His Blindness

    WHEN I consider how my light is spent
    E’re half my days, in this dark world and wide,
    And that one Talent which is death to hide,
    Lodg’d with me useless, though my Soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present 5
    My true account, least he returning chide,
    Doth God exact day-labour, light deny’d,
    I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
    Either man’s work or his own gifts, who best 10
    Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
    Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o’re Land and Ocean without rest:
    They also serve who only stand and waite.

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  3. Amen indeed. Your darn skippy, military life is tough! When your son said it was mentally challenging, he was right. I was in the United States Air Force. They play lots of tricks on your mind, and often laugh about it. However, there’s a reason. Imagine belly aching and grumbling on the battlefield. Who’d make it out alive? Very few. Yet, with faith in the path forward, the journey will produce better outcomes, renewed vigor, and more often than not, a winning experience.

    I believe as the Bible says: We were made in His image. He’s given us everything we need to be victorious in whatever battle we are faced with here on planet Earth. But we need faith that His vision for us leads us forward. He has provided the plan. All we need do is follow through with it by faith.

    Congrats Army Dad!

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