Sunday, September 17, 2017

When the enemy is nipping at your heels

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 14:1-18

TO CHEW ON: “The LORD will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” - Exodus 14:14

“The LORD will fight for you and you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

Even read from the easy chair of hindsight, the incident in today’s passage is riveting. Can you imagine living it? Yet I believe some of us are in the middle of similar things.

When we’re in the thick of our plot of trouble with the ending still uncertain (to us, not to God) it’s easy to panic. So today, let’s look at this story to see how God was at work here with a view to discovering how He might be at work in our story as well.

  • God set things up
God directed Moses to lead the Israelites into a location from which there was no natural way to escape a rear pursuit. Then Moses told of Pharaoh’s change of mind and how he came after them. He interpreted it as God hardening Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 14:1-4).  It looks like a setup to me.

For us too, God’s ways involve a lot of little and big setups.

  • The Israelites weren’t consulted
God told Moses what He was going to do. Whether Moses got this insight before the Egyptians appeared on the horizon, or when they were already within sight we don’t know. At any rate, he had a basis for relief. But the multitude of weary travelers didn’t have a clue what was up. Their emotions careened through fear, desperation, anger, blame, resignation over inevitable death (Exodus 14:9-12).

Even though God is in our circumstances doesn’t mean we won’t live through times of stress. We don't know what's going on and we don't like uncertainty.

  • Moses told them to look at God, not circumstances
Moses encouraged the people with affirmations about God and His ability to accomplish things for them. He told them the Egyptians would not enter their lives again after this and that God would fight for them, and they didn’t have to do anything (Exodus 14:13,14).
We too need to focus our attention on God, not our troubles. If we truly had confidence in Him and took our hands off the situation, maybe it would be become less complicated as we got out of His way and allowed Him to work.

  • There came a time to stop praying and start doing
Though the Israelites didn’t have to get involved in hand-to-hand combat with the Egyptians, there was something they needed to do. God spoke to Moses rather sharply, telling him it was time to stop praying and start moving this crowd across the sea (Exodus 14:15,16).

There is also a time for us to take the next step.

  • God’s purposes were bigger than the incident
God told Moses His purpose behind this frightening encounter: “So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD…” - Exodus 14:17,18. 

When God works in our lives, He is also out to accomplish big-picture purposes that we may have no idea about.

Let’s continue walking with Him through our troubles in faithfulness and trust.

Dear God, please help me to trust You, especially when I’m in circumstances that threaten, frighten, and challenge me. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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