Monday, June 27, 2011

Beauty in the Red Sea

I am supposed to be packing right now, but the idea of God providing for His children through the Red Sea has plagued me for a few days now, so I am finally taking sometime to flesh this out. 
Below I have linked to the full context. I pray this blesses your heart and challenges you as much as it does me.

Exodus 13:17-14:31
17When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, "Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt."

Let's camp out here for a moment. It's kind of hard to imagine being enslaved for 400yrs and even considering going back. This is a people who cried out to God for 400yrs for freedom and He has now delivered them and they are considering returning to captivity? 

Even though they were enslaved, they'd been that way for 400yrs. That's all they knew. Even though they were oppressed they knew what to expect day in and day out. They knew how to survive.  Change is scary. The unknown is scary. Even when you're coming out of slavery.

Galatians 5:1 NIV It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

This is one reason it is so hard to let go of sin. I don't take it lightly that the bible says we are "slaves to sin." Romans 6:20, John 8:34-36
It is our very nature. It comes naturally. It's like telling a dog to be a cat. Without the radical power of God and the change He creates in our lives, it is impossible to fight this battle against sin in our own strength.
18But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.....21And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

Day or night, His presence never left them.

Exodus 14

Crossing the Red Sea
 1Then the LORD said to Moses, 2"Tell the people of Israel to(AF) turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between(AG) Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, 'They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'
4And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD."

What we may see as a difficult trial, God sees as an opportunity to make Himself known!

And they did so.
 5When 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?" 6So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, 7and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8And 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. 9The 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.

You see the bible mention Pharaoh's horses, chariots, horsemen and Army had come and surrounded the Israelites.  They had been intimidated for hundreds of years by these things. Kind of like if we had the IRS and the government after us and there was a Federal warrant out for our arrest. This was terrifying to say the least.  They hadn't stood a chance against Pharaoh's chariots for 400yrs, what made them think they stood a chance now?  Do you think God wanted them to think they stood a chance...?

 10When 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. 11They 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? 12Is 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."

Again, they had cried out to God for help for 400yrs. Had finally been delivered.  They had seen the 10 plagues fulfilled in their presence. They have been saved from the death angel, and are being led by a cloud during the day and Fire by night.  Yet, here comes opposition and their first chance to trust and they crumble.

Just because you've never been blessed to see God move that way doesn't mean He won't. 
Far from it. He actually seems to revel in taking us down a funky, scary path in order to reveal Himself in a Greater way! 
You just have to look for it and pray for it! "God is always at work around you" - Henry Blackaby
13And 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."

I am afraid I have missed seeing so many miracles just because I can't shut-up long enough to watch. I am too busy complaining or fearing that I don't see God moving mountains all around me.  I know that happens because there have been so many times that after coming out of my complaining place I look up and say what happened, how did we come out of that?  The Lord moved and I missed it. Can you relate to that?

 15The 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. 17And 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.
18And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."

Our God is Bigger than our Biggest Fears!

 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, 20coming 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.

God stood between the enemy and His children. I have no words to declare how that blesses my heart. So far we see: God wants to Reveal Himself through our trials, God will Deliver his children, He will Fight for His children and He stands in between them and the enemy!
 21Then 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. 22And 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. 23The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24And 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, 25clogging 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."

 26Then 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.
28The 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.

The Lord revealed Himself to the Egyptians, (His Glory). The Israelites biggest fear, the captors, their oppressors, what they were about to return to out of fear, God CONQUERED it. Not one of them remained.

29But 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.
 30Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they
 believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

I can in no way roll my eyes at the Israelites fear. The Lord took them around the desert to the edge of the sea with the Egyptians at their back. They had never been in this place before. They had never seen God's hand move in this type of way. The Lord had led them to a place where it's, "I'm going to be killed, drown, or the Lord is going to move."  So many times the Lord has lead me to that place, and everytime it has been so that He could reveal Himself at a deeper level.

God wants to Reveal Himself through our trials, God will Deliver his children, He will Fight for His children and He stands in between them and the enemy!

Take time to Remember all the times God has parted the Red Sea on your behalf!

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