Saturday, July 8, 2017

Uncharted Waters

The fourteenth chapter of Exodus is the well-known story of Moses parting the Red Sea. Sometimes remarkable things can become so familiar to us that they lose their impact and thus their ability to rouse us.  May God renew and refresh this story in our minds as a testament to His unmatchable presence and power. Moreover, we can see in this historical account parallels to another dead-end God engineered a solution for, the penalty for sin.

Exodus 14:16
“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

Things to think about:
·       You will remember that the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for over 400 years.  God had chosen Moses to be the deliverer of the people from slavery to freedom in the Promised Land.  After the multiple plagues God inflicted on the Egyptians, (culminating with the Passover) Pharaoh finally relented and let the Israelites go free.
o   Just as the Hebrews were captives, we too are told that we were slaves to sin (Romans 6:20)
·      But, as the people were heading out into the desert to begin their journey, Pharaoh once again had a change of heart and began chasing the Israelites down with the full force of his army.
o   Even though we have been set free from the power and penalty of sin, our adversary has not given up (1 Peter 5:8)
·      Led by a great cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, the angel of the Lord took them on a circuitous route that brought them to a dead-end at the Red Sea.  With Pharaoh’s army breathing down their necks, the Hebrews wondered aloud why they hadn’t just remained in Egypt as slaves rather than get crushed by the Egyptian army.
o   Many people mistakenly believe that following Jesus will make all of their problems go away.
§  What would you say to somebody who is either espousing this perspective or who hopes it’s true?
o   In the previous chapter, we learn that the long way they took was no accident or miscalculation
§  Ex. 13:17-18 - “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.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.”
o   God rarely takes a straight path but He always knows where He’s taking us.
§  Why do you think God operates this way?
§  In verses 4 and 18 He tells us why – “I will gain the glory..”
§  He leaves no room for our pride to be stroked through our own cleverness or strength.  If only God can do the impossible then only God gets the glory.
·      Then “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
o   Moses’ faith was strong, even in the face of hostility and facts that belied his unwavering belief.
o   Are you standing before uncharted waters today with friends or family asking you what in the world you think you’re doing?
·      Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

o   They had to literally step out in faith and walk through the path God had provided
o   Faith plus action equals God’s provision
o   Why must our faith be joined by action?
o   Are you in a situation currently where it’s time to “move on”?
·      Here at the Red Sea, God made a path from certain death to life.  It required nothing less than a miracle.
o   Just as Moses raised his staff to part the waters, God raised up His Son to create a route to Himself
o   John 14:6 - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
§  What are other routes people try besides God’s way?
§  How many miracles can you think of with respect to our salvation?
·      And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
o   And so we see that God got the glory then and even today as we continue to honor and praise Him for what He has done
·      What Pharaoh (fear-aoh) is chasing you down today?
o   Does it feel like God is taking you down the longer, slower route?
o   How does today’s study encourage to both “be still” and “move on”?

o   Remember, all of this is happening for God to get the glory!

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