Summary: Message 5 in our series from Exodus tracking Israel's faith journey. This message continues from the previous message.
The notes here are supplemental to the notes for message 4.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
"BOXED IN FOR GROWTH AND GLORY" Pt 2
I. God deliberately designed a difficult situation 14:1-9
A. He positioned His children up against an obstacle 1-2
God deliberately instructed Israel to camp next to an impassable obstacle; the Red Sea. Of course they did not as yet perceive it as an obstacle at the time because they were not yet aware of the pursuing enemy.
B. He prepared the difficulty and predicted the outcome 3-9
God always has the end in mind. God does not do anything that does not have some connection to His ultimate purposes. He knew exactly how Pharaoh would interpret this most illogical escape strategy. It suddenly dawned on Pharaoh that he had allowed his free labor force to escape. Now that the cataclysmic divine pressure was behind him, he decided to pursue the runaway slaves. The situation now became critical for the Hebrews as they lay camped by the impassable Red Sea. The Red Sea was not only an imposing impediment to the realization of their promise but now became a threat to their very life.
At this point we have a choice to make. We can either trust God to keep His promise (Fruitful living) or blame God for putting us in this predicament. The difficulties of life serve to make us better or bitter. Life’s trials can challenge us to trust or crush us. The difference between the two depends on our decision to trust or doubt. We can embrace our God and claim His promise and purpose or we can resist God and try to protect ourselves from the pain of a maturing faith. God deliberately causes us to face difficulty and even prepares difficulty so that He might exhibit His glory and we might experience growth.
Note! Even though God broke Satan’s claim on us through the work of Christ on the cross, he will NEVER stop seeking to bring us back under his control. Peter (1 Pet 5)warned the believers that the devil goes around like a hungry lion looking for someone to devour.
II. The people defiantly developed a destructive spirit 10-12
We can follow a devastating sequence of responses caused by unbelief. When we fail to trust God we end up resisting God.
A. They fell prey to panic 10
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and noticed the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.
All of the difficulties of life present us with a choice to trust God or turn from God. They forgot the promise of God in the face of their predicament. Actually they most likely did not forget God’s promise but doubted His ability or willingness to keep it. Abraham set the example of absolute trust in the promise of God in the face or contradictions.
Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Ro 4:19-22
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18it was he to whom it was said, "IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED." 19He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. Hebrews 11:17-19
In the face of a most impossible impediment to the promise of God, Abraham trusted and obeyed anyway. That is why Scripture calls him the Father of faith. He is the example of what it means to live by trust in God’s promises. Aware of the impenetrable obstacle in the front of them and the imposing enemy behind them, the Israelites had no where to run. It was precisely where God wanted them. It is where He does His best work in us as well. Whenever we focus on our immediate plight instead of God’s ultimate promise, we lose perspective and sink into panic. Unbelief inflames panic and panic wilts into obstinate self-pity.
B. They lapsed into a pity party 11
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?
“Why me!” There appears to be no consideration of the mercy of God that, just days before, released them from the torment of Egyptian slavery and blessed them with the treasures of Egyptian wealth. There appears to be no consideration of God’s promise to bring them to a land filled with milk and honey. Their marching song changed from “We’re Bound for the Promised Land” to “Why did you bring us out of Egypt?” Their perception changed from “God wants to bless us” to “God wants to kill us.” They began to listen to the suggestion of the enemy that maybe God isn’t that good. There is nothing like the difficulties of life to expose the hidden self-centered perversions of the heart. Rather than cry out to God in humility and desperation to intervene, they criticized God for the process and questioned His very character. Promise breaker! Malicious! Remember God had deliberately designed this difficulty to gain glory for Himself and generate growth in His people. Our unbelief concerning the character and purpose of God hinders our focus not only on His ultimate plan and design but the very nature of God and fasten our focus on our immediate pain and discomfort. Like us, the Israelites continued down the slippery slope initiated by unbelief and choose paralyzing passivity over transforming trust and obedience. Unbelief energizes this merry-go-round of misery. Anywhere along this cycle, a decision to trust will disrupt the process. Not so for the Hebrews.