How Do We Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord?

Contributing Writer
How Do We Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord?

How do we stand still and see the salvation of the Lord? In a culture that is always on the move, the very idea of standing still is a foreign concept. However, it is one of the most powerful and freeing concepts of the Christian life if we are willing to embrace it. It only takes four simple steps. You just stop, listen, look, and obey. The steps are simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy.

Let’s look at the phrase’s origin in the Old Testament to understand better how we learn to stand still. Then, we can see how the message applies to modern Christians caught between a rock and a hard place—or, in Old Testament terms, the Egyptian army and the Red Sea.

Who Says “Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord” in the Bible?

The phrase “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” is first found in Exodus 14:13-14:

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’”

At this point in Israelite history, the children of Israel were released from slavery after God sent ten plagues on the Egyptians, with the final one being the death of all the firstborns. The Israelites had been prepared to leave and took spoils from the Egyptians as they left, but they hadn’t been gone long when they found Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit, just as they approached the Red Sea with no way to cross it. They were caught between the army behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. Immediately, they cried out to God and started to complain to Moses:

“Then they said to Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.’” (Exodus 14:11-12)

Even though they had prayed for freedom and seen God’s miraculous works, their first response was fear. So, Moses addressed that fear by telling them to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

What Happens After Moses Says, “Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord”?

After Moses spoke to the people, the Angel of God moved from in front of the children of Israel to behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved behind them, giving light to the Israelites but keeping the Egyptians in darkness so they could not see to attack.

Then, God told Moses to hold his rod out over the Red Sea, and God parted the waters so they could cross on dry land. God allowed the Egyptian army to follow, but he caused their chariot wheels to come loose, making it difficult to maneuver. While they struggled, God allowed the waters to fall back into place on top of the Egyptians, completely wiping out the army.

Can We Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord Today?

In some ways, we are not so different from the Israelites. According to Britt Mooney’s article article on this Bible verse when we receive salvation, when God delivers us from sin, troubles don’t end. Satan is always going to do the best he can to make us freeze in fear, but God is still the same God today who destroyed the Egyptian army and allowed the Israelites to cross on dry ground.

In “What Does It Mean to Let Go and Let God,” Glory Dy reminds us that God is always in control, so we should let go and submit the circumstances to God. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the power of His might, not ours. Psalm 118:8 tells us to take refuge in God and not human beings, including ourselves. We should confess our sins (1 John 1:9), let go of our doubts (James 1:6), and trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-8).

If you are wondering whether the Lord will fight for us if we are still, Jessica Brodie gives a list of scriptures that show God fights for us not only because He loves us but also to show His power, might, and glory:

  • Isaiah 41:10: God will uphold us with His righteous right hand.
  • Joshua 23:10: God promised He would fight for us.
  • Jeremiah 1:19: The Lord promises to be with us and deliver us.
  • Psalm 46:7-10: God is our refuge, so we should be still and know that He is God.
  • Matthew 6:31-33: Don’t worry about everyday needs. Instead, seek God first.

How and When Should We Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord?

So, exactly how and when do we stand still and see the salvation of the Lord? Let's practice this every day of our lives. Now, I am not proposing that we sit down and do nothing, waiting for God like He is a vending machine or delivery service. God has called us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) and be His hands and feet to the world (1 Corinthians 12:27). We are a conduit for the Holy Spirit. Still, sometimes, we try to make things happen when God wants to do something that will bring Him glory and remind us of who controls the universe. Either way, the following four steps are a good way to focus our minds and spirits:

  1. Stop: God told the Israelites to stand still. They were anxious and afraid. Fear usually causes us to fight, flight, or freeze. Instead, we need to stop and change our focus from the situation to the one in control of the situation.
  2. Listen: Stand still can also be translated to be quiet. The children of Israel were complaining and crying when they should have been listening for their marching orders from God. Like any good parent, he tells us to be still and listen to Him.
  3. Look: God also told them to see His salvation. We must actively look for God at work in our situation.
  4. Obey: Even though God would fight the battle, the people still had their part to play. Moses had to hold out his rod, and the priests had to walk out to the water in faith that God would do what He said.

God created us to be in a relationship with Him. He wants us to work alongside Him, talk to Him, and obey His commands because He wants what is best for us. Life is full of struggles because we live in a fallen world, but God wants us to stop trying to control everything. First, we cannot do it. Second, God can do what is impossible for man. When we release our desire to control, we are free to do what we were called to do.

So, when you are caught between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, remember the four steps: Stop, Listen, Look, and Obey. Life is always a struggle, but focusing on God and letting go of the reins is much easier. He’s much better at it than we are.

Photo Credit:©GettyImages/Kate Smith

Linda Lyle is a writer, teacher, knitter, and unintentional collector of cats. She has written articles for the Alabama Baptist, Open Windows, Refresh, as well as multiple novels and novellas. Her newest book, 5-Minute Prayer Plan for When Life Is Overwhelming, is set to release in October. She spins yarns on her blog The End of My Yarn at

This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy-to-read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. We hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in your life today.