Well we find ourselves in chapter fourteen of the book of Exodus. God has worked mightily on behalf of His people and they have been completely delivered from Egypt so that they could worship God freely in the promised land. And for the most part the people recognized what God had done for them and were living in devotion to Him.
But just because they were now free to worship God as they chose, it didn’t mean there wouldn’t be any tough times ahead of them. Their journey to Canaan would be filled with trials and tests just like the journey of life is. You know on this side of Heaven that’s just part of life.
[Phoenix missions trip – 2 flats, 1 spare missing, lost van story.]
We know that life isn’t about avoiding the trials of life. (It just can’t be done.) It’s more about how we handle the trials of life – or do we let the trials of life handle us?
We don’t have to let life kick us around. We can make sure that the trials of life don’t steal our joy, our peace and our victory. We can handle the trials of life by trusting in the Almighty God who has worked wonders right before us.
[Read Isaiah 31:1.]
Woe to those people who look to the world’s ways for help when they go through tough times. Real victory comes when we trust in God to fight out battles for us. We must never forget that God’s power is sufficient for whatever we’re going through and that He loves us with His entire being. We must never forget those things as we journey through life.
This is a lesson that Israel got right at the beginning of their journey out of Egypt. Let’s see how God dramatically showed them that the battle belongs to Him.
I. God uses Pharaoh to display His power
[Read Exodus 14:1-4.]
So right at the very beginning God is doing things so that He can ultimately show the world his reality. He alters the course of the Jews so that when Pharaoh found out about it he would think that the Jews were lost. And that’s exactly what happened.
[Read Exodus 14:5-9.]
Pharaoh and his officials were obviously keeping an eye on Israel’s travels. It appeared to them that they were struggling to find their way in the wilderness so this was their opportunity to capture them and put them back to work. I mean those pyramids aren’t going to build themselves! So they decided to forget about how the God of the Jews had brought the land of Egypt incredible amounts of pain that led to the Jew’s departure form the land. They wanted their slaves back.
They probably also didn’t appreciate how the Jews left the land victorious and confident.
[Read Exodus 14:8b.]
When you couple this with how 3:18 shows them leaving in “martial array”, you see former slaves confidently leaving their masters in victory. This must have infuriated Pharaoh who was a man driven by his pride.
But the strongest influence upon Pharaoh’s decision to attempt to re-enslave the Jews was the fact that God hardened his heart. Twice in this passage it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so He could show Egypt once again that He was real.
But lets remember, Pharaoh had plenty of chances at the beginning of the plagues to take the Lord’s warnings seriously and release the Jews. Many times he decided to harden his own heart and refuse the Jews their freedom. It seems that God has turned Pharaoh over to a reprobate, or to a depraved mind. He’s now just a tool of the Lord to show the Egyptians, and the world for that matter, that He is real.
So Pharaoh assembled his best soldiers and readied themselves for battle. They pursued the Jews and caught up to where they were camped very quickly. When the Jews realized that the Egyptians were after them they surprisingly started to complain about the situation. And the complaining was because:
II. Israel forgets about God’s power
[Read Exodus 14:10-12.]
Can you believe just how quickly the Jews turned on Moses when things got difficult. But like they said, this is nothing new. This was how they were right from the beginning.
[Read Exodus 5:20-21.]
You know Moses never told them that leaving Egypt would be easy. But he did promise them that the Lord would deliver them. The Jews seemed to be fine as long as their lifestyles weren’t affected. But when things got hard or dangerous, out came the whiners.
Now we all fall prey to a complaining spirit from time to time, don’t we? We know we shouldn’t. We know God has so blessed or lives. But we’re so spoiled in America that the minute things get a little misaligned we start to fret!