Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13–14)
You could mean all sorts of things today when you say that someone is “mighty to save.”
You might be referring to a great goalie in soccer, or a skilled closing pitcher in baseball, able to prevent an opponent from scoring or winning — mighty to save the game.
Or you might be referring to a penny pincher, diligent to sniff out a sale or obtain coupons for spending less money — mighty to save by economizing. Or you might mean a kind of hoarder who stores away money or material — mighty to save by accumulating.
Or you might have in mind a new hard drive — mighty to save large amounts of data.
Perhaps you mean making something unnecessary, or avoiding it, whether saving an hour or saving yourself the trip to the store. You could even mean maintaining your image or preserving your dignity by saving appearances, or as we often say, “saving face.”
But these are all things — games, money, possessions, data, time, and image. We all know that the greatest efforts at saving — the mightiest of salvations — is keeping human lives safe from injury or loss, or even rescuing them from the great harm or danger they are already in.
See His Salvation
The paradigm of such saving in the Old Testament is God’s remarkable rescue of the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt. First, God saved Moses’s life, when other male infants were being slaughtered, and then some 80 years later, he used Moses as his instrument in saving the Israelites from their abuse and dire condition in Egypt.
God revealed himself and caused Pharaoh to let the people go through a series of ten devastating plagues, and then when Pharaoh changed his mind, and sent his army to chase the people down in the desert, God brought about the great salvation.
At first the path of deliverance isn’t obvious. The people are pinned against the Red Sea, and Pharaoh’s army is bearing down on them. But as fear sets in, and they begin to panic, Moses declares this word of good news:
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13–14)
God doesn’t leave his people to fend for themselves, but he himself steps in to rescue them by parting the Red Sea for Israel to cross, and then he sends the waves of his wrath crashing in on their enemies seeking to pass.
The Greater Salvation
But as dramatic as this moment of deliverance is, here in the wilderness God is only foreshadowing his greatest rescue, when he shows himself mightiest to save through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son. On a hill outside Jerusalem, ironically as physical Israelites gather to see to the execution of Jesus of Nazareth, God himself not only keeps his true people safe from the eternal injury and loss, but he rescues us from the unspeakably great harm and danger we’re already in.
As God’s own Son takes upon himself the crashing waves of God’s wrath that we justly deserve for the mire of sin and rebellion we have been all the way in, God demonstrates climactically in Jesus that he is indeed mighty to save. There is no greater salvation in all of history, and in all the universe, than God’s rescue of his people from the depths and penalty of our sin and the death of eternal punishment of hell.
All our little efforts at saving games, money, possessions, data, time, and image pale in comparison to the magnificence of this rescue and the glory of the one who truly is mighty to save.