The command for God’s people to “stand firm” is found all throughout the Bible (Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Isaiah 46:8; Daniel 11:32; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:13; Philippians 1:27, 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Peter 5:12).
This morning’s Morning and Evening highlights the importance of a rock steady faith. Our worst enemies often conspire against us from within. Spurgeon lists despair, cowardice, precipitancy, and presumption in today’s devotional. All four of these fleshly fiends are at war with our faith. In a world of self-help books and twelve step programs, it is easy to loosen our grip on the source of our strength and comfort. Abraham Lincoln once said:
Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
Are you are trapped by the darkness of despair? Is fearfulness as natural as a cold glass of water on a hot day? Do you become a self-reliant busy-bee when things fall apart? Have you ever drowned while expecting God to part the waters? Cling to the immovable rock of Christ and when all has passed, keep standing.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. — 1 Corinthians 16:13
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord,
which He will work for you today. — Exodus 14:13
These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand firm.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.
Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage and even in our worst times rejoice in His love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part—it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine decree has bid you go from strength to strength, and so you shall, and neither death nor hell shall turn you from your course. Even if you are called to stand firm for a while, this is in order to renew your strength for some greater advance in due time.
Precipitancy cries, “Do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it, so we think—instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea is before you, march into it and expect a miracle.”
But faith listens neither to presumption, nor to despair, nor to cowardice, nor to precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand firm,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand firm”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long before God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”