Summary: Using the story of the Exodus I talk about how God guided his people and how that applies to us today.
“Going God’s Way?”
Intro: We have been talking about things that rob your joy these past few weeks. I was thinking this week about what robs my joy and that is getting lost. Especially when you have been given directions.
ILLUSTRATION: on not knowing where to go.
For the past few weeks I have been reading through the first few books of the Old Testament and I have really been learning a lot about how God guided his people. The cool thing is that he continues to guide his people today. And so what I would like to do is give a quick overview of what happened when the Israelites were taken out of Egyptian captivity and how God led them from there. There’s some important principles for all of us to glean.
OVERVIEW OF HOW GOD LEAD THEM OUT OF EGYPT TO THE DESERT.
This was a huge transition in the lives of the people of Israel. All of us have experienced a time where we were lost and couldn’t find our way. Maybe you are not really lost but you don’t know where to turn next. Questions like, “What do I do?” and “Where do I go next?” continue to fill your mind.
It is important to see that as God’s children we are not alone in our journey. Scripture says in Exodus 13:21, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. They had a physical reminder that God was guiding them. I can’t imagine what this looked like to them. This was not a normal occurrence. So, why don’t we have a physical reminder for us today? Because when you give your heart to Jesus this presence comes to live in your hearts! You have Him in you to help guide you. How does he do this? Through reading his Word, seeking him in prayer. Listening to godly counsel is another way. Another way which I will caution you about is the inward prompting. Some people say God told them to do something and it was totally unbiblical.
ILLUSTRATION: Someone told me that they were approached by a teenage girl who said God told me that you are going to divorce your wife and marry me someday. You better make sure it is the Lord leading you.
Another important truth I see in this story is how God guided his people. In Exodus 13:17 it says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “IF they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.”
Why didn’t God lead them through Philistine country? It was the shortest route. Even though it was the shortest route the Israelites were not prepared for what they would encounter. **God doesn’t necessarily lead us the most convenient way. The Israelites had to go through the desert. When you think about going through the desert does that mean God wants to be mean? No. Even though it might be a dry, uncomfortable, unknown experience it might be just what we need in our lives to make us more like him. There are plenty of teachable moments in the desert.
It is important to remember that God promises to always provide what we need in the journey. Even in the desert. As we allow God to guide us rest assured, there is always provision. God doesn’t always give us what we want but exactly what we need. The Israelites needed food and water. It wasn’t steak and potatoes but it was exactly what they needed to stay strong.
As God is leading us we must remember that there are two ways we can react to God’s leadership in our lives. We can either complain or we can trust him. Exodus 17:2, “So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” God had just come through providing them water. And yet when they set out from the Desert of Sin they complained.
So many times we get our eyes so focused on our situation and circumstances that we have forgotten what God has done for us in the past and how he provided for us. Don’t forget about all that God wants to teach you while he is leading you in a situation.
ILLUSTRATION: What I remember most about family vacations was the drive there. We were in a car together as a family all day long. We laughed and talked. It was great. He will provide what you need.