Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today (Exodus 14:13).

Dogs have such a simple carefree approach to life.  They seem happy to just chew on things, chase random objects and be with their owner.

The first basic commands taught to a dog are usually to “stay” and to “sit.”  Starting out, a dog can barely stand still as his tail wags incessantly and his hind legs poised to spring into action at the slightest movement or sound from his trainer.  He almost comes out of his paws in anticipation of being called. 
However, once a dog completes training, especially in the case of highly skilled seeing-eye dogs, the whole demeanor of the animal changes.  He sits quietly by the side of his owner looking out for danger or calmly waits for his master’s command.  When his owner sits down, the dog usually lays silently and comfortably at the foot of his master until further instruction.

I can learn a lot from a dog.

At times, it seems as if I’m still trying to understand the command to “stay” and “sit.”  My common nature is to approach a situation (with all of the details sniffed out) trying to fix it, manage it or find a solution to it.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to get around it or retreat from it. 

I would have fit right in with the Israelites on the edge of the Red Sea when Moses spoke the words to “stand firm.”  At the time, they were faced with the fast approaching Egyptian army led by Pharaoh on one side and the raging waters of the Red Sea on the other.  Cries of dissent came from the Israelites for what they thought and saw as their impending doom.

Many of us are in difficult circumstances today.  We are looking for a job, trying to pay bills, worrying about our family (or lack of), overcoming an ailment or seeking direction and hope for our lives.  Oftentimes, we can only see the obstacle and we will resort to any choice we have to avoid it.  However, we have a God who not only sees the obstacle, but also well past it.  He knows of our past, present and future, including our outcome.  His command to us is to simply stand firm.

Stand firm and listen for the Lord’s voice.

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice (John 10:3-4).

In the midst of trying situations, where I don’t feel I have “control” of my life, I just want an answer, sometimes any answer.  I become prone to listening to often well-meaning suggestions or advice in order to just get me through.  At the same time, doubt creeps in telling me that I’ll never make it out of my circumstances.  Despair tells me to just give in and quit.  Hopelessness tells me to hide and not face the situation.

The best thing I can do is to stand firm and listen for the Lord’s voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out … they know his voice.

It is natural and understandable to do anything in our power to alleviate our predicament.  We can even justify our actions by using our God-given abilities, seeking wise counsel, and praying, which is all good.  However, if we proceed and take action before we hear from God, we may be stepping outside, ahead or away from His leading. 

By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people (Exodus 13:21-22).