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Wednesday Prayer 12/5/2018

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I want to welcome you tonight to the prayer meeting.
Tonight I want to begin by spending a few minutes reflecting back on this past Sunday morning.
If you weren’t with us Sunday, we started our Christmas series, “The Reason for the Season”. And what we learned is, while there are many reasons people celebrate Christmas, there are some key biblical reasons that we should celebrate Christmas.
So, what are those reasons? Well the first reason we looked at on Sunday was that Christmas is a season of promise.
In other words, Christmas is a reminder of a promise made and a promise kept. A promise that God made in following the fall of mankind.
The promise was that one day God would send a savior to redeem mankind and save him from his sin. A promise that God kept and fulfilled through the birth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
And that’s why we should celebrate Christmas. We celebrate because our God is a promise keeper. We celebrate Christmas because when we failed to keep our word, God kept HIs. The Apostle Paul puts it like this:
2 Timothy 2:13 ESV
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
Aren’t you thankful for a God tonight? Aren’t you thankful that we serve a promise keeper?
But the truth is, God has made and kept more than the promise of Christmas. The truth is, God has made a lot of promises that he continues to keep and will keep.
For example, when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that one day He would return. He promised He would come back. He said, “I’ll be back”.
Now, we haven’t experienced that promise yet, but we know God has an amazing track record of keeping promises.
So, here’s what I want to do tonight. For the next few minutes I want to look at another promise of God. Another promise God, and another promise we can count on.
And the reason I want to do this, is because as we learned on Sunday, the enemy has a way of trying to trick us into thinking that God isn’t a God of promise. That God doesn’t keep His Word. The enemy wants us to doubt God.
Tonight, I want us all leaving here with certainty and confidence, knowing that whatever we are facing, whatever is going on in our lives, that we serve a God of promise, a God we can count on.
So, here’s the plan. For the next few moments, we’re going to walk through another promise, I’m going to share some thoughts, and then we are going to end tonight in our prayer groups praying for this promise to come to fruition in our lives. Because the fact is, God not only makes promises, He keeps them as well.
With that said, here’s the promise I want us to consider. The promise is found in . The promise comes as God is leading the Israelites out of their captivity in Egypt and their backs are against the wall. Because as the Israelites are fleeing Egypt, the Egyptians are hot on their tale. But that’s not their only problem. Because not only are the Egyptians behind them, there is a sea in front of them, and now they are trapped. Listen to how the Bible describes it:
Exodus 14:5–12 ESV
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, 7 and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. 9 The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. 10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
Let me ask you something, “Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like your back was against he wall? Where you felt like enemy was bearing down on you, trying to take you out. Trying to take your family out. Trying to take your marriage out. Trying to take your kids out. Have you ever felt trapped with nowhere left to go?”
Maybe that’s where some of you are tonight. And if that’s you, here’s the good news. We serve a God of promise. Because in the midst of their trouble, listen to how Moses responds to their cry:
Exodus 14:13–14 ESV
13 And 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. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
As the people stand terrified by the edge of the sea, through the prophet Moses, God makes a promise. Here’s the promise, “Fear not! Stand firm! See the salvation of the LORD. The LORD will fight for you, you have only to be silent.”
Let me simplify that for you with one statement:
The Promise - Stand back, and let me work.
That’s God’s promise. And it’s a promise He kept. Listen to what happens next:
Exodus 14:15–25 ESV
15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 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. 17 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. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” 19 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, 20 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. 21 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. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 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, 25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
In the midst of their trouble, God not only made a promise, but He kept it. In a miraculous turn of events, God parted the sea in front of them so that the Israelites could go forward on dry ground. But not only that, God defeated their enemies as God turned the sea back on them. In verse 26 we read:
Exodus 14:26–29 ESV
26 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.” 27 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. 28 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. 29 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 did exactly what He said He would do. He promised the Israelites He would take care of the problem. He told them to stand back, and let Him work, and He did.
Now, you might be thinking, “Ok pastor, that’s great. Good for the Israelites. But how does this relate to my situation? How is God going to help me?”
How about this, in the exact same way. How do I know? Becaause while the circumstances may be different, the situation is the same. Because the truth is, there are just some battles we are not equipped to fight or win. Some battles only God can win for us. Especially when it comes to the attack of the enemy. Because our enemy isn’t of flesh and blood. The Apostle Paul writes:
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
So, like the Isaelites, we have to be willing to trust God. We have to be willing to let Him fight the battle for us. The question then is, “How do we do that?”
Honestly, it’s really simple. All you have to do is walk into the promise. Listen again to what God tells Moses.
Exodus 14:15 ESV
15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
Apparently, after God makes the promise, the people are still crying out for help. And what’s revealing is the word for “cry” here means, “to shout or scream loudly.”
In other words, these are cries of panic. Cries of fear. Cries of uncertainty.
And isn’t that just how most of us respond in our trouble despite the promises of God. Even though God has made a promise, then we doubt and continue to have a melt down.
So God says, “Why do you cry to me? Go forward. Walk into the promise so I can work.”
You see the challenge for most of us isn’t that we don’t know the promises of God. The problem is, in the midst of our fear and panic, we fail to walk into the promise.
We keep freaking out about our marraige and fail to give our marriages over to God.
We keep freaking out about our kids and fail to give them to God.
We keep freaking out about our financial situation, and fail to give it over to God.
And it’s in that moment that God says, “Settle down! Chill out! Get a hold of yourself and walk into my promise. I said I’d take care of it, and I will.”
Listen to how the Psalmist applies this in his life.. In psalm 40 David writes:
Psalm 40:1 ESV
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:
Notice how David handles his challenge. First, he cried out to God. And in this context, it’s a cry for help.
Second, after crying out, he waited patiently for the Lord. In other words, he waited for God to work. And as a result, God works. Listen to what he goes on to write:
Psalm 40:2–3 ESV
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40
As David waited patiently on the promise of God, God acted. God drew him up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set him on solid ground.
Not only that, he gave him a new song. In other words, David is no longer crying out for help, instead he is singing praise as he thanks the Lord for his deliverance. He then writes:
Psalm 40:4 ESV
4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
David says, “Blessed is the person who puts their trust in the Lord and does not listen to the lie of the enemy.”
Psalm 40
Here’s what David is saying. When you listen to the enemy and his lies, it breeds nothing but panic and fear. But when you set your hope on the promise of God. And when you begin to walk into the promise, just like the Israelites, God sets your feet on solid ground, and in that moment, your panic turns to peace. In that moment, your cries of fear turn into cries of praise.
Listen to how the Israelites cries change as God delivers them:
Exodus 15:1–18 ESV
1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12 You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. 13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14 The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. 17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”
The truth is, that can be your song of praise tonight as well. Like the Israelites, if you’re willing to walk into the promise, God will fight on your behalf. God will do what you can’t do. All you have to do is stand still, stand silent, and wait. Because the God of promise goes before you. A God who always keeps His Word.
So, with that as our foundation, and with the time remaining, I want to opportunity for us to respond to God’s Word. And to do that, I want invite you to get in your prayer gangs. And if you don’t have a gang, then I’m sure you can join up with one. And as you gather with your gangs, here’s what I want you to do.
As much as you feel comfortable sharing, to share with your gang what promise you need to walk into.
Maybe it’s a marriage promise. Because the truth is, regardless of what has happened or is happening in your marriage, we serve a God of reconciliation. A God who can heal. A God who can do what we can’t do. Maybe it’s time to turn your spouse over to the Lord. Maybe it’s time for you to be silent and let God work.
Maybe it’s a financial promise. A God who promises to provide. Maybe it’s time to hand your finances over to God. Maybe it’s time to start tithing and trusting that He can do more with 90% than you can do with 100%.
Maybe it’s a promise concerning your kids. Maybe you’ve done all you can do. Maybe tonight you need to give them over the Lord. Maybe you need to start trusting that God can do what you can’d to in your child’s life.
Maybe it’s a promise of deliverance. Maybe it’s time to give the porn addiction to the Lord. Maybe it’s time to give that substance over to the Lord. Maybe it’s time to start depending on God to deliver you from something that has a hold on you. Maybe you need to implement the promise of . James writes:
James 4:7 ESV
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
In your prayer gangs tonight, my challenge is for you to share the promise you need to walk into. And then to allow those in your group to pray with you. To stand with you. To help you walk into that promise.
So, get in your gangs, and in a little bit, I’ll come up and close us out. But for the next few minutes ,let’s walk into the promises God has for us.
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