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9 Powerful Reminders from the Miracle at the Red Sea

Miracle after miracle God had performed on behalf of His people, finally leading them straight out of slavery,
away from the cruel hand of the Egyptians. He set them free. Free from oppression. Free from captivity. Free
from bondage. And the adventure was just getting started.

When Pharaoh let the people go, God didnt lead them on the road that made most sense. The Bible tells us
in Exodus 13, that though the path was shorter right through the Philistine country, God said, If they face war,
they might change their minds and return to Egypt. V. 17

So He led them around the desert road over towards the Red Sea. Hot, dry, barren wasteland. I can almost see
the sea looming off in the distance. And hear the grumblings starting. Feel the fear rising. As the Israelites got
closer that sea must have looked bigger and deeper. An obstacle that seemed too difficult to overcome. Their
eyes focused on the problem. They forgot about the bigness of their God.

Questions loomed. How were they going to get across that thing? Surely someone had made a wrong turn. But
just how do you go about doing a U-turn with 2 million people in tow?

9 Powerful Reminders from the Red Sea Miracle:

1. God knows what Hes doing. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea... Ex.
13:18 Even if the way Hes leading doesnt seem to make much sense and His timing seems off, or the wait and
journey get long, and wandering in desert places is the last thing we want to do, we can trust Him. Always. He
knows our way. He sees the big picture. He has good in store. And though it may not have been what we would
have chosen, or how we would done things, we can thank Him for His Sovereignty, His care over us, and His
leadership.

2. God leads our way. 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 given them light Ex. 13:21 God will not leave us to fend for ourselves, struggling to
find our way. He will lead us. He promises to. We may not see him in a pillar of cloud or fire these days, but we
have His Word, and the Holy Spirit to give guidance to our days. He is with us, He gives wisdom, He provides
direction, so we never have to fear being left on our own to figure things out. He goes ahead of us, He walks with
us, and He guards our way from behind. His Word gives truth and life and shows us the way to walk in this
world.

3. God is able to turn the hearts of kings. He holds all things in His hands. He can turn around the evil
workings in this world to ultimately bring glory to His name, so that all will know that He is the One True
God. And I will harden Pharaohs heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh
and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. Ex. 14:4

4. When we see obstacles, God sees opportunities. He will make a way where there seems to be no way out.
The bigger the problem, the greater his ability to shine right through it all. The Egyptiansall Pharaohs horses
and chariots, horsemen and troopspursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea... Ex.
14:9 Things were looking bleak and dark, yet God had a plan. And it was amazing.

5. We can focus on the problem or we can choose to trust God. The Israelites were terrified when they saw
the enemy coming their way. They doubted their leader, they questioned God, they complained, they grumbled,
they panicked. Yet God didnt get mad at their humanity or fears. He only asked for their obedience. And their
trust. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. Ex. 14:14
6. Prayer is vital, yet sometimes God says, Its time to get moving! God may ask for stillness and trust
and other times he might say, Get going and keep trusting. God said to Moses, Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the Israelites to move on. Ex. 14:15 Its so important to listen for his voice, to know when to be still, and
also to know when to get up and move forward. His voice will lead us, He never leads in confusion, but always
with assurance and clarity. Theres times in life when we pray about a decision and even though God shows us
what to do, we get stuck along the way. So, we just say we're still "praying about it." Over and over. Instead of
moving forward. And doing what Hes already said to do. If we ask Him for wisdom to know the right steps to
take, he will always provide direction. He will open doors on our behalf and close those that need to be shut too.

7. God will work powerfully on our behalf, but He often asks for our obedience first. God asked Moses to
do one thing. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites
can go through the sea on dry ground. Ex. 14:16 Moses was asked to obey God's voice. And with staff raised
and hand outstretched, God's Mighty Power unleashed. That sea not only divided, but the people walked right
through it on dry ground. Not even a hint of sinking sand. As Gods children, we arent destined to walk in mud
and mire. He dries up the path before us so were heading out on firm ground. He is our sure foundation. Our
obedience to His voice will always lead to blessing.

8. God will stand between us and the enemy. We never fight alone. He will send his angels to fight for us
and guard us. He Himself will fight for us and guard us. Thats how much He loves us and desires to set His
protection over us. Then the angel of Godwithdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved
from in front and stood behind themEx. 14:19 He will hem us in from all sides and keep us under His care. It
doens't mean we won't ever face the battle, but we can know that He is surely with us in the midst of it.

9. Our God is a God of miracles. This same God who divided the Red Sea so the Israelites crossed on dry
ground, and covered up the enemy in the depths of that same sea, bringing salvation to His peoplethis is the
same God who works on our behalf today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And when the
Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their
trust in him and in Moses his servant. Ex. 14:31

We may be facing our own Red Sea moment this week. Maybe the enemy seems hot on our trail, lurking close,
whispering lies and defeat, trying his best to trip us up. Maybe the obstacles that loom before us seem way too
hard to overcome. We want to turn back. We want to give up. We find ourselves questioning God and doubting
His care and love over us.

But it still doesnt change this one Truth. Hes with us. And He fights for us today. As believers who have made
the choice to put our faith and trust in Christ, we can stand on the assurance that He will never leave us or
forsake us. He will lead us. He will bring honor to Himself through even the hardest circumstances we face in this
life. He is strengthening us and guiding us continually.

His plans for our lives will never be thwarted by the enemys attacks. Though it may seem like hes winning at
times, he does not have full control. Gods still greater.

And sometimes when weve done all we know to do, he whispers these words down deep into our soul, you
need only to be still.

For the Lord fights for you.

Peace.
Several years ago a friend of mine took his wife and kids to the ocean for a week of R&R.
While they were there, they purchased a small, inflatable boat for recreational use on the
beach. One day the wife jumped in the boat and launched out into the water to just lie back and
soak in some sunshine. After what seemed like a short span of time, she opened her eyes and
realized that she was several hundred yards away from the shore. In a panic, she screamed for
help.

Only one person on the shore seemed to hear her call, and that was her husband. When he
realized her predicament, he immediately attempted to swim out to rescue her. That did not
turn out well, because he was soon in need of being rescued as well!

Fortunately the lifeguard was doing his job well that day, and he was successful in rescuing the
husband and the wife. By the time he was able to get to the wife in the raft, they were nearly a
half mile from the shore.

As I have thought about that experience over the years, it has often made me think about how
Christians often drift away from the Lord spiritually. It really doesnt take much time at all to drift
so far from the shore spiritually that one can scarcely even see the land anymore.

As a pastor for the past couple decades, I have noted several key things that tend to cause
Christians to drift away from God. Here are five of them:

1) An Out-of-Control Schedule.

Ephesians 5:16
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

One of Satans greatest weapons against our generation seems to be his ability to make good
people busier than ever before. We so often sacrifice the best things in life by spending time
doing things that are just pretty good.

If you desire to walk closely with God, you will absolutely, necessarily have to begin by taking a
close look at your calendar. It is likely that you are currently doing too much. And it is also likely
that your overly hectic schedule is affecting your relationship with God. So take out your
pruning shears and begin to cut out any activities you can that will allow you to focus more time
on your relationship with your Creator.

2) Misplaced Affections

1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the
Father is not in him.

Be careful not to set your heart on things that really dont matter. I cannot tell you how many
times I have seen good people lured away from church life because they have fallen in love
with things or activities that have no eternal merit. For example, childrens sports can certainly
be a thrilling activity for your kids to pursue. But if those sports begin to adversely affect the
spiritual involvement and development of your family, then pull the plug immediately.

3) Discouragement

During the past couple decades that I have served as a pastor, I have often watched Satan
using his weapon of discouragement to drag people away from spiritual activities. I have seen
it many more times than I can number.

When the trials of life cause a person to become discouraged, he often begins focusing on
those problems and takes his eyes off of Christ. It reminds me of when Peter walked on the
water. He did great until he took his eyes off of Jesus and began looking at the waves beneath
him and the clouds above him.

It is important for you to know that when lifes clouds grow dark and your trials become fierce,
that is the time to run TO Jesus and not FROM Him.

4) Abundance

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered
away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

We Americans are so fat with our own prosperity that we often make wealth our god and not
the true King of heaven. This has also been a recurring theme throughout the entire Bible.
People struggle, God blesses them, they become prosperous, and then they depart from God.
Ironic, isnt it?

The chances are great that you probably do not feel like you are prosperous. But the reality is
that nearly all Americans are extremely blessed and have more abundance than the vast
majority of the population of the planet. If you are an American, you are most likely already a
One-Percenter (wealthier than 99% of the worlds population).

People of abundance often choose recreation over worship. Why go to church if you could be
out golfing, boating, camping, or going to movies or sporting events?

Satan wants us to be prosperous, because our prosperity and abundance often lure us away
from our Creator.

5) Parasitic Sins

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside
every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race
that is set before us,
Many people begin to drift away from God, because they have sins in their lives that cause
them to feel guilt when they show up at church. And they feel reluctant to pray or read their
Bible when they know they have these issues in their lives.

Recently, I stumbled upon the most revolting video Ive ever seen (through my Facebook news
feed). The video showed an eye surgeon removing a parasite from a human eye. I wont go
into detail. That brief description alone is enough to send chills down the spines of many. All I
can say is that the video was even worse than what youre thinking right now!

When I watched that video, it dawned on me that many people have sins in their lives that are
damaging them just like parasites in ones body. And those sins will almost certainly affect your
spiritual vision.

The solution here is not to run/drift from God. The key is to confess your sin to God who will
restore you and make you whole again (1 John 1:9)!

How have you done in your journey with God over the past year or the past few months? Have
you drifted? Now is the time to return. Call out to God before you are so far from the shore than
you lose all sense of spiritual direction.

Turn on the TV and youll see all kinds of gurus telling you how to be successful and
fulfilled.

Youll see Oprah and Doctor Phil dispensing advice on successful relationships. Youll see Joel
Osteen telling you how to have your best life now. Go to a Barnes and Noble and youll find
books like:The Real Truth About Success: What the Top 1% Do Differently, Why They Wont
Tell You, and How You Can Do It. (Why wont they tell me?)

Proverbs 2 is a fathers appeal to a son. This father wants whats best for his son. The dad is
Solomon, the wisest man who had ever lived. He wants his son to be a success, but not in the
way we usually think about it. He wants his son to be a SPIRITUAL success. But Proverbs 2 is
more than an ancient sage appealing to his son. Its God appealing to and instructing us. GOD
wants us to be spiritually successful.

So what does Solomon (and God) have to say to us about spiritual success?
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

First of all, spiritual success is conditional. It wont happen automatically. Notice how many
times Solomon says IF before he gets to the THEN IF you receive my words IF you call
out IF you seek it like silver THEN you will understand.

We must pursue God whole-heartedly. Though God pours out all things freely as gifts of grace,
he gives us what the Puritans called means of grace things like Bible intake, prayer,
fellowship, preaching, and reading books means by which we receive grace. IF we pursue
God through these means, God promises to freely give grace.

Seeking God is like turning on a faucet. Millions of gallons of water are just waiting to
quench our thirst, but we have to turn on the faucet. God has bags and bags of grace stored up
for us, but we must pursue him. James said, You have not because you ask not. Jesus said if
we keep asking, seeking, and knocking we will receive, find, and the door will be opened.

Solomon tells his son that the 2 most important things in life are to know God and to
fear him:
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (5)

This is true success. Parents, this is all that really matters with your kids. Things like
education, sports, learning a musical instrument, dance, and art classes all these are fine,
but really dont matter in eternity. When my kids were little, as Stephen mentioned last week, I
told them I dont care what you do in life, whethere you are successful or not all I care about
is that you would love and serve Jesus.

The fear of the Lord is not slavish, grovelling fear but a healthy knowledge of Gods holiness.
Its knowing that God hates sin and will not be mocked if we willfully go on in it. I dont go
around all the time fearing that God will suddenly strike me down with lightning. But I know that
if I give in to certain temptations, God will deal with it. Hes not mocked. When Im all by myself
in an airport somewhere, maybe no one I know would see me buy an impure magazine, but I
know God surely would. This is a healthy fear of the Lord.

Find the knowledge of God doesnt mean we merely get knowledge ABOUT God. It means
to KNOW GOD PERSONALLY.

In John 17:3 Jesus said, And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

We can know God! There is no greater joy. Jesus came to reveal the Father and bring us to
him. There is nothing sweeter than an intimate relationship with God through Jesus. This is the
ultimate success. The ultimate in happiness, joy, and satisfaction. This should be our ultimate
goal in life.
The Apostle Paul would have been considered a huge success before Jesus saved him. An
expert in the Jewish law, he was at the top of his game, a rising star, respected and admired by
many. Yet heres what he said about all his achievements after Jesus saved him
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. [8] Indeed, I count
everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For
his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may
gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7-8)

Nothing mattered more to Paul than knowing Jesus. Thats the success he was running after.

Make Pauls pursuit yours. Read Gods word. Cry out to him for wisdom, strength, and
help. You wont cry out in vain. Youll find healthy fear and youll know Jesus more and
more. Thats the ultimate success.
The will of God
'.......we too have a choice - the free will, to choose to live our lives according to Gods will - or not'

Read Psalm 40:4-8 and Matt 5 :17-20

If parents were asked what was the one question that their children asked them that really got on
their wick, really made them feel uncomfortable at times and one which they really wished they
could avoid answering, then surely it must be "Why?......"

"Why cant I do that?.......Why cant I go out?........Why should I?"

Most of the time the "Why?" is asked not because the child doesnt understand the instruction,
more often because they dont understand the reasoning behind it.

And how do we answer them? Do we enter a long moral debate about the pros and cons of taking
a particular action....... or do we sum it all up with "Because mum knows best" or "Because I say
so!"

Youngsters may be satisfied with an answer like that for while, but anyone who has teenagers will
know that such a reply holds little credibility. Older children need a greater level of explanation,
together with knowledge of boundaries that have been set, and the reasons why. They may get
their revenge by asking an even harder question "How?" How are they supposed to measure up to
the expectations that we as parents demand.

And yes of course, there are parallels in our relationship with God.

As new Christians we want to know why God makes particular demands on us.
While were still young in the faith we still need to know what Gods requirements are.
As we get older and understand more, we must learn to accept greater responsibility.

But the bible assures us that God our Father is not overly harsh with us his children. He doesnt
whip us into submission, but treats us as family and friends rather than mere servants, he takes us
into his confidence, empowers us for service and brings us into partnership

with himself. Listen to what Johns gospel has to say

"I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to
you.................All this I have told you so that you will not go astray............But when he, the Spirit of
truth comes, he will guide you into all truth."

The Jews knew that God had chosen Abraham to be the father of their nation, and their
experiences of the exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea and entry into the promised land
confirmed their belief that they were the chosen people of God. They knew that God was with
them. He had made covenants with them, and his will was that they should obey those
requirements set down in the covenant agreements.

But more often than not, Gods expectations for his people were not met. Demands for faithfulness,
justice and high moral values fell on deaf ears, and exile was the result. Even reminders through
his prophets such as:
" Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as much as in obedience to the voice of
the Lord?

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams..." were conveniently
ignored.

After the return from exile, the Jews still took no heed of those words. The Rabbis insisted on the
need to be obedient to Gods will as revealed in the Jewish Law, the Torah

The written law of the ten commandments was also accompanied by an oral law, which tradition
claimed was revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

The law consisted of 603 further rules, of which 248 were positive requirements, and 365 negative,
or if you prefer Thou shalts and Thou shalt nots

The law was considered Divine, the very last word on everything, the largest to the minutest part of
your daily life. So if a situation or action was not actually there in black and white, then it must be
inferred about, and it became the job of the scribes to work out the detailed implications of the law
as it affected everyday life.

This was no easy job, but was attacked with some relish apparently. Scibal law was finally
completed in the 3rd century AD. This was no pocket companion, running as it did to 800 pages in
translation to English, and was in itself so complicated that commentaries were produced to explain
it. One of these stretched to 60 printed volumes.

So as you can imagine, keeping the will of God was no easy matter for the ordinary Jew, and the
Pharisees became the self- appointed regulators of these somewhat onerous requirements.
Scribes would spend hours in arguments over important theological matters such as ;

Is it work for a woman to wear a brooch or a wig?

Is it work for a man to lift his child on a Sabbath?

Did a tailor commit a sin by going out with a needle stuck in his robe on a Sabbath?

Is this really what God had in mind for his people. Could this really be a part of his will for man, to
be in bondage to the law?

When Jesus bursts onto the scene, we suddenly get a whole new perspective on the will of God.

He boldly announced that he had come not to destroy the moral law but to fulfil it (Mat 5:17)

that the righteousness shown by his followers was to exceed that of the Pharisees (Mat 5:20)

Paul proclaimed that "Christ is the end of the law" (Rom 10:4)

The rules and regulations of the law were to be fulfilled in Jesus (Mat 5:17) and instead of the
minute observance of ridiculous instructions, Jesus taught a new concept of the will of God -
through forgiveness, salvation and freedom - and a new way to obey it with the commandment
"Love one another" (John 13:34)
The Christian view of the will of God therefore is somewhat different from that of Judaism. It
doesnt rely on the strict observance of rules and regulations, but believes that the will or intentions
of God for his creation and mankind are revealed to us through the scriptures and through the life
and teaching of Jesus.

Gods will is seen at work in three major areas:

1) Creation 2)Providence 3)Salvation

1)Creation - First things first. Creation was Gods idea, no-one to put him up to it. And just as the
personality of an artist can be detected through the brushstrokes on a canvas, so the
magnificence, diversity, beauty and complexity of the universe are a reflection - however pale - of
the greatness of God. The whole natural order of things as we see it is the direct result of the divine
will, and Hebrews 1:3 tells us that its continuation is dependent on his word of power.

God created for his own pleasure - Do we plant a garden up so that the neighbours can get the
benefits, or so that we can sit there on a summer afternoon and enjoy the fruits of our labour .
Genesis 1:31 says that God looked at all he had created and was pleased with it.

God created in order to make his name known, and one way he does this is through creation. His
nature is to communicate, and as he reveals himself so he draws people to himself. Isaiah tells us
"Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land for ever. They are the shoot I
have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendour."

God created for his glory and this is the ultimate reason, that God created humankind for his glory.
Isaiah 43 has it this way "everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I
formed and made." God is glorified by everything that is good, and everything that is in accordance
with his will.

Just as the free will with which we have been blessed enables us by choice to give glory to God, so
the beauty of creation gives glory to God.....read Psalm 8 if youre in any doubt!

We and all those who have gone before us are beneficiaries of the creativity of God, but are not the
reason for it. God might well have destroyed the world as a result of mans rebellion, but he didnt.
Rather he provided the means, firstly through the prophets and then through his Son, so that man
could find his way back into a relationship with his creator. Listen to Lukes message in Acts
chapter 17:

"From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he
determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that
men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each
one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being."

Providence God isnt just in the business of keeping his creation just ticking over, hes at work
throughout human history in order to achieve his plans and purposes - sometimes visibly,
sometimes without us knowing. Hes at work in his created world (remember Jesus calming the
storm) and through circumstances and people used to achieve his purpose (such as Mary and
Joseph). Even pagan rulers like Nebuchadnezzar were unconsciously used by God. He used the
forces of nature and the nations around Israel to further the cause of his chosen people.

Our choices made with free will may aid or hinder, but can never stop Gods ultimate purposes.
A quote from George Buttrick:

Gods providence is not in baskets lowered from the sky, but through the hands of those who love
him. The lad without food and without shoes made the proper answer to the cruel-minded woman
who ask, But if God loved you, wouldnt he have sent you food and shoes? The boy replied, God
told someone, but they forgot.

God is also working for the individual Christian. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, God
tells Jeremiah, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. says Jesus to his disciples. So far as each
one of us is concerned, Gods intention is for us to play a part in bringing the Good News of his
love in Jesus to the whole world, and to be a part of that vast crowd in Revelation called, chosen
and faithful followers who will inhabit heaven.

The fatherly love of God for us as individuals is also extended to the larger community of the
church. He cares for his people, provides for his people, is here with his people and as Romans
chapter 8 tells us those he called he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

In my fathers house are many rooms, said Jesus, I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I
go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be
where I am.

Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to his love, and the future to his providence. said
Augustine.

Woodrow Wilson put it this way. I firmly believe in Divine providence. Without it, I think I should go
crazy. Without God the world would be a maze without a clue.

I said earlier that Gods will is seen at work in creation, providence and salvation. Paul says, and I
make no apology for quoting so many verses - Id rather you believed what the bible says than
what I might say - he says in Gal 1:4 that the self sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was in direct
response to the will of His Father, so that we might be rescued from our fallen world - or this evil
age as my translation has it. And with this salvation comes a lifestyle Be transformed by the
renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is - his good,
pleasing and perfect will.

As we see and understand about Gods will for his creation, for us as individuals and for the
church, then God asks us to go that one step further - he asks for us to become active participants
in bringing it about. We must obey God rather than men said Peter to the high priest. We must live
lives worthy of our calling, and we are called to be holy. The Greek word is hagios which has a root
meaning different. We are not called to be the same as those around us, we are called to be a
different kind of people, living as witnesses in the world, living with compassion, living in prayer,
living in fellowship, living in love and living with the confidence of knowing that Gods ultimate will
for us is fellowship with him in heaven where we will enjoy the full glory of the risen Jesus and live
in his light. Then we can truly join with the multitude of heaven in Revelation 19 and shout

Halleluiah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God

Like the Jews of the Old Testament who had a choice, to follow Gods covenant agreement or not,
we too have a choice - the free will, to choose to live our lives according to Gods will - or not.
There is no other choice we can make.
Alice came to a fork in the road. Icy panic stung her as she stood frozen by indecision. She lifted
her eyes towards heaven, looking for guidance. Her eyes did not find god, only the Cheshire cat
leering at her from his perch in the tree above. Which way should I go? blurted out Alice.

That depends... said the cat

On what? Alice managed to reply

On your destination. Where are you going? queried the Cheshire friend.

I dont know... stammered Alice.

Then said the cat with grin spreading wider, It doesnt matter.

IT MATTERS TO THE CHRISTIAN