Summary: Christians: We must go forward: 1. Because God will protect us. 2. Because God will provide a way. 3. Because God will point us in the right direction.
Go Forward with God
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 6, 2013
*When the Children of Israel were living in Egypt, they were forced into brutal slavery by the Pharaohs. But God heard the cries of His people, and in Exodus 3-4, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush. There God called Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.
*When the Lord called Moses, He knew that Pharaoh would resist letting the people go. And God promised to send terrible judgments on Egypt. In Exodus 3:18-20, the Lord said to Moses:
18. . . "You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.'
19. I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand.
20. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go."
*Those wonders came in the form of ten terrible plagues that God sent on Egypt. The last plague was death for all firstborn men and beasts, except those protected by the blood of the Passover. After that terrible night, Pharaoh let God's people go, but he quickly changed his mind, and planned to crush them when they were trapped against the Red Sea.
*With this background in mind, let's begin by reading Exodus 14:10-22. And as we read, please think about going forward with God.
*A few years ago, I walked out to our back yard, and saw something I had never seen before: A little cat had her head stuck in our chain-link fence. I don't know how long she had been there, but it had been a while. And that cat was stuck. There was no way she could pull herself free. She wasn't too happy about it, but I was able to cut a couple of the wires, and she took off like a rocket.
*Sometimes we get stuck in life: Stuck in traffic, stuck in the mud, stuck in a job we don't like, stuck in sin, stuck in a spiritual rut. We may be stuck in a bad situation, but God wants to help us go forward.
*The Apostle Paul is a great example for us. When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was stuck in a terrible situation. In chapter 1, Paul tells us that he is a prisoner for the Lord. He was in chains, and he had been for a while. In fact, Paul didn't know if he would live or die. Then, in chapter 2, Paul tells us that he almost had grief piled up on top of grief, when a close friend nearly died.
*Paul was stuck in a bad situation. But in Philippians 3:13-14, he was firmly committed to go forward with God. There Paul said:
13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
*Paul said he was "reaching forward to those things which are ahead." The word-picture is a runner putting out maximum effort, stretching his whole body out to try to cross the finish line first.
*And God wants us to go forward like that: Forward as Christians, as families, as friends, and as a church. God wants us to go forward, and this Scripture in Exodus shows us three reasons why we can and must go forward.
1. First: We must go forward because God will protect us.
*God will always give His people the protection we need. Well, do we still get sick? Yes. Do we still get old? Yes. Do we still have financial problems? -- Sometimes. Do we still have family problems? -- Sometimes. But there is a difference when we are Christians, even when we don't see the difference.
*In vs. 10-12, the Children of Israel made the terrible mistake of forgetting God's protection:
10. And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.
11. Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?