Crossing Over OR Going Back?
Good morning, it is truly a blessing to see you all here this morning. If you have your bibles please turn with me to the book of Exodus chapter 14.
We have been examining the redemption of the Israelites the children of God from the bondage placed on them by the Egyptians and ultimately Pharaoh, we spoke a little bit the last time we were together and discussed how this whole account of God redeeming His people served as a picture for the church today in how God brings his people out in order to bring them in.
God brings them out of slavery in order to bring them in to the land of promise. Likewise God brings us out of bondage to sin, in order that He might bring us into the land of promise namely the paradise of Heaven, but also blessing here on this Earth while we are here.
We learned that this account of pharoah is not just what happened with the Israelites but it is also what happens when God delivers one of is children during salvation. It is clear throughout the Bible that once we are delivered out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, that an enemy pursues us.
He seeks to overtake us but God gives the prescription for Spiritual warfare when he proclaims through Moses that when trouble comes and the enemy seeks to overtake you, when you feel as though there is no where to turn that believers should: FEAR NOT, STAND FIRM, AND BE STILL because God is fighting for you!
So God has brought the Israelites out to bring them in, you have been brought out in order to be brought in… but in between slavery and the promised land there is a journey, a journey filled with difficulty, harsh terrain, sometimes we encounter insurmountable odds.
Yet God calls us to faith during this journey, He calls us to both rest in His ability to rescue us, and be obedient to His voice regardless of the request.
Each church of Jesus Christ can relate well with the Israelites they moved as a group following the Lord, and so do we. They had a leader who was given the task to seek God and listen for direction. We have been given the same, and while I know that I am not Moses, or Aaron.... I can relate well with them because I know how it feels to be called to say very difficult things to people, to ask them to do things that don’t make sense on paper… all because I desire for this church to be faithfully obedient and safely arrive at God desired end for us.
I say all of that to say that this message not only gives you a glimpse in to the heart of Israel trying to walk the road of faith, it also gives you insight into a leader’s life who has been asked by God to lead a people, a people whom god desires to bring into its best days yet.
So let’s learn together from the experiences of the children of God…
I’ve entitled todays sermon: “Crossing Over or Turning Back?”
This is the question of the day for the children of Israel, God has freed them and they are on their way to a land flowing with milk and honey… a land filled with both the provision of God and the presence of God. A beautiful place of abundance.... They just got one problem… The enemy has come after them.
Now they stand on the sea shore wondering… God why have you brought us out here to die???
We thought it was all good when the Egyptains let us leave without putting up a fight, when they just through gold at us but now here we are poor tired and standing at the edge of a vast ocean and we aint got nowhere else to go...
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a situation there was not way to get out of? If I go this way I die, If I go this way I die. This is the dead end street most of us find ourselves standing in, when life’s problems begin to close in around us...
God has told you to obey his calling into ministry..... you fear and dont respond and now you feel stuck...
God has called you to help His church be the church HE DESIRES IT TO BE, by sacrifically serving Him no questions asked.... you fear and now you feel stuck…
God has told you that we need to reach out to lost folks, and disciple them, in order to fufill our great commission… you dont know what to say… you fear and now you feel stuck...
God has told you to give a certain amount you listened initially but as soon as God called you to give this certain amount… you lost your income… you fear… stop giving.. and now you feel stuck.
God has called you to lead spiritually in your home… youve never done that before.... you fear… and now you feel stuck.
You see fear has a way of telling us the truth about ourselves. When situations occur in our lives that we cant handle… do we pray and wait expectantly for God to answer? Or do we allow the enormity of our circumstances to eclipse what God has said and cause us to get stuck?
Here the nuts and bolts of the Christian life, it is the same as the Israelites
You were here..... God freed you… Now your here… Satan pursues you… and you stand not knowing how you willl ever get outta this one....
GOD ASKS YOU THIS QUESTION:
ARE YOU GOING TO BY FAITH CROSS OVER?
OR ARE YOU GOING TO GO BACK?
What are you gonna do?
The israelites were fine with going back… can you hear em… listen we can have 3 meals a day… sure we may have to work but if we bow when the pharoah gets here and last he wont slaughter us..
In the middle of hearing all of this Moses says HEY BE STILL GODS GONE FIGHT FOR YOU!
Go back to what that trashy life you used to live?
GO BACK TO WHAT YALL STAND STILL GODS ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING GREAT!
You see that’s the difference between a follower of God and a leader, someone who just follows God sees the problem.... the Christian leader He sees potential.
MAN LOOK HERE THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF SOLDIERS COMING UP ON US AND THERE AINT NO WAY TO FIX THIS,… I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT GODS GONNA DO NOW!
Thats the heart of faith, fear sees the problem Faith sees an opportunity for God to show off!
But even though the heart of faith knows god is going to respond and act, a wise man or woman of faith knows He uses people. So he knows its time to hold prayer meeting. There is a gap between verse 14 and verse 15 in verse 14 Moses proclaims God’s gonnna save us be silent God about to show out! He proclaims it boldy and with real conviction .
But in between the verses Moses shows his humanity.
The Leaders Cry
The Leaders Cry
The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to break camp.
The prayer of Moses is not recorded but it definitely happened. We know this by the fact that God addresses Moses’ prayer with a question… why are you crying out to me?
why would God ask Moses this question?
I mean good leaders pray, good leaders cry out to God why would God be asking Moses about why He is stalling…
WHY ARE YOU CRYING OUT TO ME?
God says you already know Moses what has to be done, you already know that I can get it done.
Moses looking at the army had to have let his brain get in the way of his faith. Really there is no other option than through the sea, Moses knew that but now hes crying out. This phrase crying out this aint no.... “Now i lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep.... this aint no God is great God is good let me thank him for our food.... rote memorized lingo that you say out of religious habit. HE IS CRYING OUT TO GOD....
The word for cry here literally means to shriek, to shout loudly. so now think about this Moses makes this bold statment of faith and now he is screaming out to God.... this is bold prayer, this is Moses yelling out “alright god your gonna have to do something!
God says boy why are crying out to me look around you Moses...
I sent you the long way in order to keep you away from the Philistine army because the people werent ready… now look behind you… chariots barreling even faster toward the people.
If the people weren’t ready for hte philistines you KNOW they aint ready for an angry Egyptain army...
Now look back over the last year Moses at what I have showed you… what is the one thing I have showed you over the last year that would come in handy right now?
When you brought the people out of Egypt did you fight them? NO
I lead you away from the Philistines right? YES
SO IF YOU CANT WHIP AN ARMY, WHAT HAVE I SHOWED YOU THAT I CAN USE TO DEFEAT YOUR ENEMY?
You see we all think that the plagues god sent on the Egyptians were just for their release but that’s not all God was doing. God was teaching Moses that He had total control over creation.. He turned water into blood, he sent flies, frogs, and then he sent plagues on Egypts livestock but not Israels, He sent the death angel, but spared Israels.
GOD DID THINGS IN MOSES PAST TO EMBOLDEN HIM IN HIS FUTURE
Moses looks at the sea one last time and God continues....
The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
Moses stands up and says… everybody get up and move forward....
Can’t you see it in your minds eye...
BUT WE WILL DROWN....
BUT WE HAVE SMALL CHILDREN…
Moses says MOVE FORWARD....
You see the miracle can’t happen when you stand still in fear.
GOD WILL NOT SEND THE MIRACLE IF YOU DO NOT ACT IN FAITH…
(Grace big slide)
She was very timid, very afraid…
But i knew it would bring her great joy....
She was very hesitant but when she knew Daddy was gonna be waiting at the bottom she shot down that slide like she had done it 1,000 times before. When she hit the water the first thing she said when she came up was daddy! I grabbed her and she got the biggest smile on her face and said… can we do that again???
Her fear kept her stationary, it was her understanding of who I was that caused her to experience great joy. She knew Daddy was gone be there when she hit the bottom.
She had faith because she knew “WHO I WAS”
It caused her to do something that felt impossible to her. Likewise when your faced with impossible circumstances you should be willing to move forward knowing that your daddy is gone be there when you do.
Now think about how faith really plays out in our lives.
God didnt say: as soon as I make a way the people should move forward, as soon as the waters part, as soon as moses gives us a sufficient plan, as soon as we have enough money we will move forward, if God will go ahead and whip the Egyptians we will move forward....
GOD EXPECTED FORWARD MOTION BEFORE HE WOULD MOVE.
He tells them to move, then he gives the leader the specifics, not always the other way around.
Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.
The next thing we get to see is the Lords plan for the enemy
The Lords Plan
The Lords Plan
And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.
Now we get to see what the Lord was thinking.
One thing is clear to see and it is the difference between the way humans think and the way God thinks.
MAN’S THOUGHTS: WHAT’S BEST FOR ME?
GOD’S THOUGHTS: HOW WILL I GET THE MOST GLORY?
You see the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea isn’t just about their safety and security. It is about God’s glory. God is hungry for glory. He is the only one worthy of all glory honor might and dominion.
When you were saved you werent saved so that God would give you your best life now, god never promised you that everything would be pie in the sky perfect, all sunshine and rainbows until the day you left this old world he said you will difficulty butI will reign over your difficulty.
GOD IS WORKING EVERYTHING THAT IS DIFFICULT IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW FOR HIS GLORY.
WE WERE SAVED TO PROCLAIM TO BEAUTY AND THE GLORY OF OUR KING!
So that when people look at how different we have become that they would look and say...
GOD MUST BE REAL BECAUSE I DONT KNOW HOW THEY MADE IT THROUGH THAT!
GOD MUST BE REAL BECAUSE I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN THEY WERE ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL AND NOW THEY DRAGGIN PEOPLE OUT OF THE SAME BARREL THEY CAME FROM.
GOD MUST BE REAL BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH THEY DONT SEEM LIKE THE TYPE OF PERSON I WOULD THINK WOULD GO INTO MINISTRY.... I CANNOT DENY THE WORK GOD IS DOING IN THEIR LIFE.
GOD MUST BE REAL BECAUSE THAT CHURCH OUGHT NOT BE REACHING THAT MANY PEOPLE FOR JESUS, THEY OUGHT NOT HAVE THAT MANY BAPTISMS.
GOD MUST BE REAL BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THEY DIDNT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO HAVE THE FACILITIES THEY NEEDED BUT NOT ONLY DO THEY HAVE IT THEY HAVE GOT MONEY LEFT OVER....
God call us to impossible circumstances to show how POWERFUL HE IS.
I have come to a point in my life where when things get difficult I just start smiling, oh sure I’m not always happy about it, but I KNOW THAT WHEN YOUR DOWN TO NOTHING GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING!
WHEN YOUR BACKS AGAINST THE WALL THE WALL IS AOUT TO COME DOWN NOT BECAUSE WE HAVE THE POWER BUT BECAUSE GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN ME THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD.....
We always talk about the good things we have to be thankful for… some of you in here need to shout hallelujiah for your problem because if you never had a problem youd never know that God could solve em!
GOd DESIRES AND IS WORTHY OF ALL GLORY ALL HONOR AND ALL DOMINION!!! HE IS THE LORD AND I PRAISE HIS NAME FOR THE GOOD AND THE BAD!!
So His ultimate goal is His glory in all things.
But look at Hjis secondary agenda....
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
God still desires too reveal himself to the Egyptians… How do you think the egyptians would react back in their homeland when nobody shows back up?
Can you imagine they are sitting there for how long? We dont know but you know it had to happen, ever soldier even the pharoah himself fly into the opening into the sea and they get covered with the sea and drown.
The Egyptians had already seen the miracles of the Lord this would seal the deal.
So how in the world are thousands of israelites going to get through the red Sea’s opening when they are on foot and the Egyptians are on chariots and horses?
When you walk in obedience in a scary situation you may not have everything you need, you may not have everything you want but when God’s glory is on the line, when He sees His children in need you are promised to have
The Lords Protection!
The Lords Protection!
Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them,
Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.
“Angel of god”- to dispatch as a deputy
ow their Lord who has been their guide will now be the guard.
He has shown them what to do and they have started moving forward the sea begins to part but God knows they wont outrun the Egyptians so He covers their back.
When you obey God He’s got your back!
In every circumstance of life only one question should prevade your minds...
AM I BEING OBEDIENT TO GOD AND HIS WORD?
If the answer is yes then there is no need to fear God’s got your back!
So many churches today are trapped in fear to be obedient to God and it costs them.
They look at a spread sheet and see their inability to do something based on the resources they have and so instead of trust God and move forward they sit still and never see the hand of God when the whole time if they would have just trusted the Lord then they would have been guaranteed His protection!
The Obedience That Brings Blessing
The Obedience That Brings Blessing
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
The children of God were given a three fold blessing for obeying the Lords command:
A way to escape
Walls on each side of them preventing ambush
The Lord Himself behind them
As they make their journey through the sea I’m sure they are truly amazed...
Can you imagine?
Some of you in this room might think that this is impossible… but did you know that even to this day at certain times of the year that weather patterns still drive the sea back opening up over a ridge beneath it?
This is amazing God orchestrated that they arrive at the only point in the red sea where there would have been something to walk on the red sea is deep it is 7,254 feet deep. god had a natural roadway for the Israelites to cross upon, making th journey more swift than if they had to descend 7,000 feet and then back up again.
The Enemies Pursuit
The Enemies Pursuit
The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
If your still thiking that this couldnt have really happened. Then consider with me these images...
Biblical Archeologists have even had their pictures taken standing on an Egyptian chariot underwater wearing scuba gear.
The enemy was well equipped but wasnt ready
And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic,
The face of God looked down on the Egyptian forces, as if the parting of the Sea wasnt miracle enough God turns His face towards them in judgement and they lose their minds!
Notice the confusion that comes from the face of God
He caused their chariot wheels to swerve and made them drive with difficulty. “Let’s get away from Israel,” the Egyptians said, “because Yahweh is fighting for them against Egypt!”
They said uhoh we in trouble now!
THEY WERE OVERCOME WITH TERROR AT THE FACE OF THE LORD!
The Finishing Blow
The Finishing Blow
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.
The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained.
Notice the contrast here
But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
God is showing us here it pays to be on the right side of the fight!
ONE GROUP PERISHES AND ARE SEEN NO MORE
THE OTHER GROUP CROSSES WITH EASE AND STANDS AND WATCHES THEIR DESTRUCTION!
As a result the Israelites got:
to be a part of something impossible
gained a deeper knowledge of the strength of God
That day the Lord saved Israel from the power of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
A movement of worship begins
When Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in Him and in His servant Moses.
(THE GOOD NEWS)