-"Thus the LORD saved
Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians
dead on the seashore," (Ex.14:30). However, before the Lord saved
Israel at the Red Sea, Moses was told to "...lift up your staff and
stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel
shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land", (vs.16). Moses
did so, (vs.21), and " the sons of Israel went through the midst of
the sea on the dry land...", (vs.22).
Question: If Moses had not lifted up his staff and if the Jews
had not walked through the Red Sea to the other side, would the Lord have
Story 2-"And they took their
stand in the midst of the plot, and defended it, and struck down the Philistines;
and the LORD saved them by a great victory", (1 Chron.11:14). In the
battle with the Philistines, David and his men (1) took their stand, (2)
defended the plot of ground and (3) struck the Philistines.
Question: If David's men had not acted as they did would the
Lord have saved them from the Philistines?
When the lives of God's people were in peril in these two instances,
the texts say that "the Lord saved" them; the salvation was attributed
to the Lord. But certain actions on the part of men were necessary and
herein lie the lessons.
Lesson 1-"The Lord saved"
but men were required to do something. In the story of the conquering of
Jericho (Josh.6), "...The LORD said to Joshua, 'See, I have handed
Jericho over to you, along with its king and soldiers. You shall march
around the city,...'". Notice "I have handed Jericho over to
you" and "You shall march". Men were required to march but
it was God who handed the city over to them. Without the marching God would
have done nothing.
Lesson 2-Men had to do something
but that didn't mean those men worked for or earned the blessing/salvation;
it didn't mean that it wasn't by God's grace that they were saved. The
people who marched around Jericho had no reason to boast of what they had
done when the walls fell down; without God's grace all the marching in
the world would never have brought the walls down. It was by God's grace
and the people's faith that they captured the city. And so in the battle
with the Philistines.
One final story-"...And the
Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."
(Acts2:47). When the people cried, "what shall we do?" (vs. 37)
the reply was not "do nothing" but "repent...and be baptized"
Question: If the 3,000 on that occasion had not repented and
been immersed would they have received "remission of your sins; and...
the gift of the Holy Spirit"?
If these stories teach anything it is that our acting and God's saving
are not contradictory concepts. The Lord saves when men act--- not until
and not unless---it is as true today as it was thousands of years ago.