Monday, April 30, 2012

May 1, 2012

"Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.  Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 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? 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!” 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.”  Exodus 14:1-14

Moses and the Red Sea is one of the great epochs of the Bible.

For someone of my generation it is hard to think of this story without having a mental image of Charlton Heston from the Cecil B. De Mille classic movie "The Ten Commandments". Some of you are envisioning that right now!

As dramatic and spectacular as that scene was in the movie, I've got to believe that the actual event was far more awesome! Scholars I read have determined the Red Sea was ten miles wide where the Israelites crossed and that area today is 3,000 to 5,000 feet deep. They also estimate that for 2.2 million people to cross at that place in the time span indicated by the Bible the sea would have opened nearly a half mile wide. That's a lot of water to split!

This Sunday we will be looking  at the expectation of God to lead us out of trouble that He led us into! We will trace that study via this blog over the next three or four days.

They Had A Dilemma

They Had A Decision

They Had A Deliverance

Even though this event happened 3,500 years ago it is relevant to you today because you still find yourself in dilemmas. They were in an extremely vulnerable place between the charging Egyptian army and the expansive Red Sea. Pharaoh had chosen 600 of his finest and fiercest charioteers and they were not in a good mood. This was a tough spot!

So, how did the people of God respond? Panic! They responded like many Christians do today, they rebelled against their leader and began longing for the old days! It is hard to move forward when you are looking back!

The people of God had a dilemma and you may find yourself in a dilemma today as you read this. You find yourself feeling very vulnerable and very trapped. And, as painful as your past has been you are considering going back! That is the reaction of someone in panic mode.

No one likes feeling vulnerable. Vulnerable feels weak and powerless. There is a good reason for that - you are! Just like the Israelites at the Red Sea when you and I feel trapped in a vulnerable place and threatened on every side we tend to ask the wrong question, "How do I get out of this?"

You have asked it. I have asked it. They were asking it. Moses was probably wondering it.

The right question is this, "How did I get into it?" And, the follow up question is, "What can I get out of it?"

How did they get into it?

God led them there! They followed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. When the pillar moved, they moved. When the pillar stopped, they stopped! And following the pillar led them to where they were!

That is why this question is so important! Asking, "How did I get into this?" helps you recall if God led you to this place. And if you know He did, then that answers the other question because you know that if He led you in, He will bring you out!

What you will get out of it is eventual deliverance and a deeper trust in God!

Feeling vulnerable and trapped? Finding yourself in a tough spot? Ask the right questions and the answers will become more clear!

(EDITORS NOTE: I didn't complete this devotional last night as I usually do and mistakenly published my outline. Apologies to you early risers who logged on and found it unfinished.)