Do not say: “I will recompense evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will save.
The wisest response to offense is often silence.
As the Israelites were fleeing Egypt, Pharaoh began to pursue them. As the Israelites saw the approaching army they panicked and complained to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in this wilderness?”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and you will see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:10-14).
At the greatest moment of victory they were tempted to surrender and return to Egypt. Among other things this tells us that the greatest moments of victory call for the greatest expressions of faith on our part, and result in the greatest demonstrations of God’s power.
Our human responses are along the lines of either “fight or flight.” Either we will seek to oppose the evil that comes upon us in our own flesh, seeking revenge, or we will tend toward escapism, running away from the confrontation. These are very different from the command of scripture, “Stand still and you will see the salvation of the LORD.” And “Wait for the Lord and He will save.”
How do we wait upon the Lord?
First, we must look to Him in our hearts to trust in Him. We must turn away from worldly reactions – from anger and retaliations – and must turn to Christ in faith. Let us believe that He sees our situation, that He knows what is best, that He takes a great interest in our well-being, that He will stand to defend His children.
Second, we must look to Him in prayer, bringing our needs, along with our concerns, and our thanksgivings, to Him who has all power. Often we have not the strength and help of God because we have not ask for His strength and help (James 4:1-3). Along with our prayer we should search our hearts to be sure that our motivations and our requests are in agreement with the mind and will of God. Christ told us to pray for our enemies, and we should, when oppressed by an enemy, pray for him or her, pray that they would receive the abundant graces of God through Christ, that they would turn and be saved.
Third, we should obey whatever He puts on our hearts to do. Informed by His Word, led by His Spirit, encouraged by wise believers, we should do all that God has commanded us to do.
Finally, we must then wait, leaving the matter entirely in God’s hands. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
Quite often God allows unsettling things to come into our lives so that we might see what is lacking in our spiritual maturity, shaking us so that we can see what is unshakable in our hearts that remains (Heb. 12:27). What Satan devices as plans to harm us, God turns into means to bless us. If we fail a test, then we should seek to grow stronger along those lines. Thank God for your challenges, and even for the failures, for we would never know how strong we are until we are tested.
Joseph said to his brothers who had betrayed him, “You intended it for evil, but God meant it for good,” and after the death of their father Jacob, Joseph forgave them and “spoke kindly to them,” promising, “I will provide for you and your little ones” (Gen. 50:20-21). Follow this great example of forgiveness, of waiting upon the Lord, and of patient faith.