Sermons

Summary: If the goal of your life is to avoid as many problems as possible, then don’t take a journey with God!

When God is Your Travel Agent

(Exodus 15:22-27)

1. All of our lives are filled with uncertainty; Some of us accept that reality and adjust to the unforeseen as best we can.

2. Others frantically create rules or routines to give ourselves the sense that we have reduced life’s uncertainties -- when, in fact, we often have not.

3. Different cultures vary when it comes to how comfortable they are with the uncertain. I recently wrote an article for the Kokomo Tribune about this.

4. Nations like Germany and France are not comfortable at all with uncertainty, so they create lots of laws and tremendous bureaucracy to gain a sense of control. Even if they violate the rules, as long as the rules are in place they feel safe.

5. Nations like England and Ireland are comfortable with uncertainty. As a matter of fact, it is debated as to whether the UK actually has a constitution.

6. Conflict between family members can often be explained based upon this one issue.

7. In the Kingdom of God, we need certain basic standards, boundaries; these develop an important quality called faithfulness; but we also need a level of freedom, because faith -- trusting God -- can only be developed in a context of uncertainty. That is why those of us who are obsessed with control can only go so far.

8. The Christian life involves risk taking. It does not involve recklessness, foolishness, or being led by one’s emotions -- but risk is part of it.

9. J.B. Phillips said, “Anyone who opens his personality to the living Spirit takes a risk of being considerably shaken."

Main Idea: If the goal of your life is to avoid as many problems as possible, then don’t take a journey with God!

I. Traveling With God Means Accepting DISAPPOINTMENT (15:22-25a)

(show map)

A. The EXCITEMENT wore off (22)

• 3 days into the desert without finding water…supplies diminished…

• The excitement of crossing the Red Sea and the great worship experience had worn off…

• Some people, like Moses, had steady faith; but others were up and down…

• One sign of spiritual maturity is not to be controlled by ones emotions, but by convictions and trust

• revivalistic evangelicalism creates spiritual manic-depressives

B. BITTERNESS is a real issue, even for spiritual believers (23)

• when they came to Marah, they were not wrong to be disappointed…

• sometimes You can follow God and He will lead You right into bitterness and disappointment…part of His developmental and testing program…

• the people complained bitterly because they were in bitter circumstances

• instead of praying or asking Moses to pray, they took a “guilty until proven innocent” stance and blamed Moses…

• Is it wrong to be thirsty? Is it wrong to be disappointed? Is it wrong to admit a circumstance is bitter? No. But the children of Israel had God on probation, failing to realize that they were the ones who were on probation…

• Too many times people think God needs them, when the reality is they need God!

C. They GRUMBLED (24)

(show bitter Marah)

• Marah, meaning bitter, is still used of salt water….Marine life, mariner…

D. God provided RELIEF (25a)

If the goal of your life is to avoid as many problems as possible, then don’t take a journey with God!

II. Traveling with God Includes RESPONSIBILITIES and TESTING (25b-26)

A. A foreshadowing of the Mosaic COVENANT (25b)

The Tragum of Jonathan…"And they journeyed three days in the desert, empty of instruction, and found no water."

Physical thirst is combined with spiritual thirst by King David 450 years later, "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,

in a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1)

Even Jesus used this hunger and thirst analogy: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6)

B. God stretches us, but He CARES (26)

Perhaps some Israelites doubted God’s special plan for the Hebrews, and they feared that God would make a spectacle of them as He had the Egyptians…

But God promised to heal them by preventing the plagues in the first place!

If the goal of your life is to avoid as many problems as possible, then don’t take a journey with God!

III. Traveling with God Is A LONG-TERM Venture (27)

A. Always a NEXT STEP

• With God, You never arrive until You are at heaven…

• No “final experience,” but constant development…

Their need was met, but they still preferred the routine of Egyptian bondage because then, at least, they knew what to expect…

Many people will trade freedom for uncertainty…bondage over something new or different or unanticipated…it takes faith to attempt something different for God…

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