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God will See it Through

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I cannot imagine how the people must have felt when the day finally arrived! Pharaoh had released the people of God! God had delivered the people from the oppressing hand of the Egyptian king!
The people had suffered, and Pharoah did not make the process easy. As Moses delivered the word to Pharoah, the king’s heart was hardened and Pharoah got locked into a power struggle with the almighty God.
Pharoah was determined to win this struggle… but in this struggle… he would eventually lose it all.
Before the people were delivered, Pharoah lost his son in the plagues.
After the people were delivered, Pharoah would lose his army in hot pursuit.
The guy wasn’t learning in the moment very well. And sometimes… if we’re honest… we can be hard learners as well. People tend to learn the hard way.
This really isn’t anything new. But for some reason, we like to take control… even when God is CLEARLY on the move.
For instance, the people of God had been miraculously delivered by the hand of God. There was no questioning that. From Egypt, God was leading them to a new place… and… if the people wanted to get where God was leading them to go, THEY WOULD HAVE TO COMPLETELY PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM.
The journey… may have not made sense, but it was not their place to question. God had delivered them… God was leading them… it was their place to fully trust in God.
Our God… is a God of details. Our God is NOT disorganized, He is not happenstantial, He is NOT accidental, He is NOT a wishful thinker, He is NOT a cross your fingers, He is Not a hope for the best and expect the worst, He is not a somehow it will all work out in toward the end kind of God!!!
God knows every single detail before the plan is ever set into motion!
For instance, in the Garden, when the serpent deceives Adam and Eve into disobeying the word of the Lord. God reveals the reality that will soon come.
The serpent will strike the heel of Eve’s offspring but her offspring would crush his head. GOD JUST TOLD THE ENEMY “YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED.”
Then, God displayed how this would happen… through atonement - through a covering that would require for the life of another to be given.
I want you to say something with me and I want you to say it like you believe it. GOD HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT. Ready? GOD HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT!!!
So what is it that gets us in trouble in this area of faith? Why did the Israelites struggle to understand this as God was leading them?
I believe it is because we have preconceived ideas of how things should go. I believe it is because our self… gets in the way of trust - our own understanding stops us from receiving the greater understanding of God.
The people had been delivered from the Egyptians by the hand of God. This was clear and obvious to everyone. But it wasn’t long after that the people began to grumble.
I find it fascinating how quickly we can forget about God’s amazing deliverance. I find it amazing how fast people can shift from a position of praise to a position of pity.
And I get it… struggles are no fun to be sure. But I hope we never forget that none of us would be where we are today without the help and deliverance from our God!
So tonight, I want to look at a couple of moments in history that the video talked about to remind us that God had everything figured out… He was taking care of ALL the details. Then, We will talk about how to safeguard ourselves from falling into the trap of forgetful fear… a trap that keeps us from walking in faith and assurance.

Number One: God is Perfect in All of His Ways.

Now, that word perfect, is a word that we do not use very often because in this world, perfect is hard to come by… if not impossible to come by.
First off, we know that no one is perfect. The only perfect person to ever walk this earth is Jesus. He was completely without blemish or sin. Jesus WAS perfect.
But as for the rest of us… well… nobody’s perfect. Which is exactly why WE ALL NEED JESUS.
The word perfect means having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be:
When we say something is perfect.... it means it truly could not get any better… it means there is no more room for improvement because if there was… it wouldn’t be PERFECT. When it comes to God… His ways, His thoughts, His plan, His timing, His love, His grace, EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM IS PERFECT!!!
It is HARD for us to accept anything as perfect while living in such an imperfect world. We cannot hardly fathom what perfection looks like… what perfection feels like.
We use the term rather loosely in our culture… and dramatically. But when God is described as perfect in His ways, there is no room for interpretation… there is no over dramatizing the point. GOD IS PERFECT.
The people of Israel had just been delivered and were now journeying through the desert. But in their journey, they were not being led in the most direct route. Exodus 13:18 summarizes the story.
Exodus 13:18 NIV
18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
God led the people around by the desert. God did not lead them in the most direct route. Does this seem a bit strange to you? Why wouldn’t God just take them straight from point A to point B?
I’m a direct route kind of traveler. I don’t like taking the scenic route. I don’t like stopping at roadside attractions. When we hit the road, I want to spend as little time on the road as possible.
In the movie Cars, one of the characters says cars now drive to make good time… cars used to drive to have a good time. And… I’M ALL FOR MAKING GOOD TIME!
And… consider what these people had just been through… wouldn’t it make better sense to lead them as quickly as possible in the direction of the promise ahead?
Sometimes church, the most direct route is not the best route. Sometimes church, God has incredible things in store in the “detour.”
First off… if it’s a God-ordained detour, then it really isn’t a detour at all. It is the route we must take to get to where God is leading us to go!
Secondly, the whole point of the statement that was made in the cars movie was making the best time caused people to miss out of all the good in the journey.
God wasn’t aimlessly directing the people in the desert. Back up one verse to find out why they were led as they were.
Exodus 13:17–18 NIV
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
The most direct route… was a route of war - through Philistine country. Yes, the people left Egypt ready for battle… but God knew the desperation of this situation. God knew war was more than they could bear. Therefore, God directed them to go the indirect route.
And… God was correct in His assessment. For not long after this, the people found themselves with the sea on one side, and an army looking to destroy them on the other side. And look at how they respond.
Exodus 14:10–12 NIV
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
God did NOT lead them there to die. God had led them there to deliver them… AGAIN!
People learn the hard way. This goes for both the Israelites and the Egyptians.
You would have thought that the Egyptians would have learned that you don’t get in a power struggle with God. You would have thought that the people of Israel would have learned that God can deliver them from the impossible… yet here we are again!
The people of Israel were trapped… with no will to fight. They thought this was it. How can they walk away from this.
The Egyptians had the people cornered. There was no possible escape. The people could not flee. Yet not long ago, God wreaked havoc upon the Egyptians until they let the people go.
Here’s the key: God knew what it would take to completely deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians… He set this stage as only He could and the results were something only He could deliver. HE IS PERFECT IN ALL OF HIS WAYS.
It wasn’t a direct route… it wasn’t a journey that would lead them to die in the desert… it was the plan of almighty God in operation that brought His people to freedom.

Number Two: God Makes His Ways Known

God’s ways are perfect… but how is it that we who are imperfect people can come to know the perfect ways of God?
If left to our own devices, we would never know the perfect ways of the Lord. How can I say that so assuredly? Because I know human nature and sometimes God’s perfect ways… do not make sense to our nature.
I can’t tell you how many times God did something amazing in ways I would have never thought possible! Ever been there?
The reality is, there was NO WAY I would have experienced the amazing results on my own. The only way the path was discovered was through obedience in following and trusting the Lord. It was the same thing for the people in Moses’s day.
Exodus 13:21–22 NIV
21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
As the people of God were released from Egypt, they didn’t have a GPS to guide them to the promised land… they had someone even greater. God Himself led the people in a remarkable way - a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
And look closely at the end of that passage. This guidance NEVER left its place in front of the people. God never made them guess as to which way they should go. The ONLY time the pillar moved was when Pharoah had the people pinned against the sea.
Exodus 14:19–20 NIV
19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
God not only led the way… but He also protected the people from attack from the enemy!
Now I know what someone might be thinking… we can see how God guided His people then… but I have never seen a pillar of fire… how is it that God leads His people now?
God is still leading His people today… but He has given us two even greater resources than a pillar of fire and cloud. He has given us His Spirit and His Word.
Remember how I said the people of Israel did not have a GPS to lead them to the promised land? God has provided for us a road map… a guidance system that is truly one of a kind.
The Word of God serves as a spiritual road map if you will. Its ways are right, truth, and secure meaning it will never fail you.
The Spirit of God is someone who lives in the hearts of every believer. The Spirit of God not only helps us to understand the Word of God… He also helps us apply the Word to our walk. He leads us in the direction we should go and that direction… will NEVER go against the Word. Never.
God’s Spirit and God’s Word serve as our pillar of fire and cloud. We have the ability to take His Word and Spirit with us wherever we go. God will lead… so long as we are willing to listen.
The problem is NOT that God has stopped leading His people… the problem is people today are living in conformity with the world instead of hearing from God.
People are looking for the way… through the world. And it is easy to slip into that mode.
Think about it… it would have been really hard to miss the pillar of fire and cloud… meaning it was clear that God was leading them.
But what about living in a world that is full of noise and full of things trying to get you to go their direction… how do you know which way to go?
You STOP conforming to the World! Romans 12:2 tells us
Romans 12:2 NIV
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
When we unplug from the world we are able to hear more clearly from God. Some of us are lost in our direction because we are trying to be led of God while conforming to the world. This will never work. Instead, God wants to transform you through the renewing of your mind.
That renewing comes through His Word and Spirit.
God’s ways are perfect and knowable. God has and will make His ways know to us. Just as He led His people then, God is leading His people now… those who would listen. God is leading those… who are willing to walk by faith… and that brings us to our closing point tonight...

Number Three: Faith is Required to Walk in His Ways

Hebrews 11:1 NIV
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
What I love about Hebrews 11 is, it starts out by giving us this definition of faith, and then it brings up story after story about how God did great things through His people who had faith.
Notice something about this chapter… nowhere does it highlight anyone doing anything great by their own power or understanding.
Moses did NOT have the power to split the sea for the people to walk through. That was God’s power on display. Moses… however did have to have the faith to stretch his hand over the sea as God commanded him to.
God made the way… but Moses had to act by faith.
God is NOT asking you to make a way… God is asking you to follow HIS way by faith. This might mean doing things that don’t make sense to you. This might mean trusting God when your self thinks it knows better. This means trusting in what is not seen over what can be seen.
Fear… is the most common thing that will cause a person to take a wrong detour from God’s way. Fear… is a very strong and powerful feeling that will often get in the way of faith.
Even as the people of God had seen God leading them, they became afraid when the Egyptians showed up. They thought this was it… there was no way out. They thought they would die in this moment… at least that is what their fear was telling them.
Fear has a way of causing us to forget what God is able to do. Fear traps us within our limited resources and understanding. It causes us to focus on he what ifs instead of God can.
I love the words that God speaks to Moses as the fear of the people was beginning to set it. God literally tells Moses to tell the people in Exodus 14:15 “to move on.” Don’t get stuck in fear… move on. Don’t look back but look forward. God was about to open new doors of possibility!
Church… when the way forward looks like it has been closed get ready… because God is getting ready to open new doors of possibility!
FEAR will keep a person from walking through those doors but faith… will lead a person to move on… to trust in God and His ways.
Even when the enemy is in hot pursuit… our fear must give way to faith. We must learn to place our hope and assurance in what is not seen.
God IS here. God is the One who has provided your deliverance. He did NOT deliver you so that you would perish… He promised eternal life!
As we walk in His deliverance, we need to remember that He has all the details figured out. We need to remember that He is perfect in all of His ways, He makes His ways known to us and faith is the key is walking in His ways.
Maybe you’re here tonight and your ways… have been getting in the way of His ways. Maybe you’ve been on a detour that has led you away from trusting Him. Maybe you have been overwhelmed by fear. Or maybe, you are just looking for the next step God wants you to take.
Whatever the case might be… learn to trust in Him. Place your faith in His ways.
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