AGCC Sun. a.m. 10/27/96
INTRO: Israel was having a bad day! They just left slavery, and now they face obstacles they have no solutions for, and the enemy is about to take them back!
Ever had days like this?
ILLUS: It's a Bad Day When....
* You turn on the morning news and they're displaying emergency routes out of your city.
* When the sun comes up in the west.
* Or when your boss tells you not to bother taking off your coat.
* Or when you jump out of bed in the morning and you miss the floor.
* You know it's a bad day when the bird singing outside your bedroom window is a buzzard.
* Or when you wake up in the morning and your dentures are locked together.
* It's a bad day when your horn accidentally gets stuck and you're following a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway.
* You know it's a bad day when you put both contact lens in the same eye.
* When you walk to work on a summer morning and find the bottom of your dress is stuck in your panty hose.
* When you call your answering service and they tell you it's none of your business.
* When your income tax check bounces.
* When you step on your scale and it reads
tilt. (George Verwer, "Come!Live!Die! pg. 91-92)
Too often we find ourselves panicking over life's struggles and God wonders
why we do this! Panic and fear are signs of loss of faith, the disciples often frustrated the Lord when they too lost faith, like the time on the boat when the storm came and they cried out to Jesus in panic...forgetting that they had the Lord of creation on the boat with them! Jesus expressed to them the same sentiment as the Lord does here with Moses, "Why are you crying out to me?...I am the Lord and on your side!"
How often would you say God asks us this question? How many times do we
panic and cry out to God when we should know that the Lord's promises are yea
When we fail to trust God in life's circumstances, fear and panic take
over. God wants us to know that He is always there, always working things for
our good, and that He can be trusted! This should bring us a calm and peace even
in the midst of the worst of life's situations...instead of crying out to God
sometimes, we should be praising Him!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us
that God can be trusted in all of life's struggles, our peace can be intact even
when we don't see an solution immediately.
I. PANIC! 14:10-14
A. Doubts Expressed! 14:10-12
1. Israel had just come out of slavery, and instead of things getting better, they look worse!
2. Like many new Christians that find themselves free from the slavery of sin, the enemy quickly comes after them again to put them back into bondage!
3. Instead of rejoicing over their new found freedom, they begin to panic over
a. If our focus stays on the enemy we will never find peace!
b. They had just witnessed God's power in the 10 plagues that set them free, they should not have been concerned about the enemy any more!
4. Notice their sarcasm: "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?"
a. Egypt already had the great pyramids!...they were known for their graves!
b. How quickly they had forgotten God's deliverance in the plagues!
c. How quickly we forget the goodness of God in our past when we find
ourselves facing another trial!
5. They should have been singing "Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to
war..." but instead, they had changed the song to:
Backward Christian soldiers,
fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus clearly out of sight:
Christ our rightful Master stands against the foe,
But forward into battle we are chicken to go.
Like a mighty tortoise moves the church of God;
Brothers we are treading where we've often trod,
We are much divided, many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, not much charity.
Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus hidden does remain;
Gates of hell should never "gainst that Church prevail,
We have Christ's own promise, but think that it
Sit here, then, ye people, join our useless throng;
Blend with ours your voices in a feeble song.
Blessings, ease, and comfort, ask from Christ the King.
With our modern thinking, we won't do a
6. Israel's failed sense to trust a God who had always proven Himself faithful
to them caused them much unnecessary pain and fear.
a. their doubts were unfounded!
b. they had witnessed the Egyptians die in the plagues while they had escaped all danger
c. They were too focused on just the moment, when we do this we too lose
faith and instead find fear!
B. Distress & Exhaustion 14:13-14
1. It had been a very stressful time in captivity, slavery had taken its toll on
them physically and emotionally
a. part of their fear may have been attributed to this exhaustion
b. Having been in bondage so long may have also given them the sense of
being worthless anyway so they had a hard time believing God had
good in store for them...they had faced disappointment before
2. There comes a time when we are out of physical and emotional resources
that God tells us to "be silent and know that I am God!"
a. Moses tells them to not be afraid...and stand firm!
b. They had no other options at this point: They had the Red Sea on their
East side as a barrier, the desert to the North and South, and the advancing army of Egypt on the west!
c. What do you do when you are boxed in by the enemy? STAND FIRM!
3. the essence of Moses' statement is simply this: "TRUST GOD"!
a. There really are no other choices sometimes!
b. This was lesson #1 before taking the long journey to the Promise Land,
it is still lesson #1 for us today!
ILLUS: When descending the Grand Canyon, often times a person has
to travel on narrow ledges that have only enough room for a mule to get a
foothold. The ribbons of rock that run along the edges of these towering cliffs
overlook vertical precipices that descend hundreds of feet to the valley below.
When one must make use of these stony paths, the safest course is to let the
mule find his own way; for the slightest touch on the bridle may easily throw
both the animal and his rider over the cliff to sudden death. So it is in the
believer's life. In some circumstances, if he would keep himself from having
sinful doubts and falling into despair, he must lay the `bridle' on the neck of
Faith, and commit his way to God. No matter how things look, he may take comfort
in these words, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." In such trying
experiences the only thing to do is to trust in God and walk by faith, not by
4. They assumed the worst about God's love for them...and failed to see how
the enemy had really treated them... how could they say, "It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"
a. They not only distorted God's image from good to bad, but the enemy's
image from bad to good!
b. Fear and panic distort our perspective of everything!!!
II. PLAN 14:15-22
A. Direction Encouraged! 14:15-18
1. Now God asks Moses why he is crying out like the Israelites!!
a. if the people were losing it, the leader must not!
b. God is concerned over this lack of trust on both Israel's part, and now
Moses is even wondering how he got himself into this situation!
2. God directed this question to Moses because someone needed to stay on
track here...and Moses was the leader!
a. If Moses falters, they won't know what to do!
b. They are faced with a choice...trust God or don't trust God, they need
to make a decision, if we fail to make a choice, it will be made for
ILLUS: President Ronald Reagan learned the need for decision making early in his life. A kindly aunt had taken him to a cobbler to have a pair of shoes custom-made for him. The shoemaker asked, "Do you want a round toe or a square toe?" Young Ronald hemmed and hawed, so the cobbler said, "Come back in a day or two and tell me what you want."
A few days later the cobbler saw young Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. "I haven't made up my mind," Reagan answered.
"Very well," said the cobbler. "Your shoes will be ready tomorrow." When Reagan got the shoes, one had a round toe and the other a square toe.
Says Reagan, "Looking at those shoes every day
taught me a lesson. If you don't make your own decisions, somebody else makes
them for you."
3. God needed Moses to pull it together so he could refocus Israel
a. Moses possessed the staff of God...the symbol of God's authority,
there was no reason for him to not be certain!
b. Not only did God want Moses to stop crying out in doubt, He wanted
Moses to "move the Israelites on!"
c. Moses already possessed the means to give them an escape route...the
staff was in his hand, he just needed to use it!
4. God gives Moses the direction to move in...all he needed to do was
B. Deliverance Expected! 14:19-22
1. As though to send a message to both Israel and Egypt, God takes action
to prevent Israel's destruction or recapture....
a. The cloud moves between the two...God's presence acts as a barrier
between the enemy and His people!
b. Notice that on Egypt's side it was pitch dark, while on Israel's side there
was light from God!
c. God is the dividing force in the universe, giving light to those who are
on His right side, and darkness to those who oppose Him!
2. God is not so much here in front leading them as He is "behind them" protecting them...they need to see that God is the barrier the enemy can't
ILLUS: Unbelief puts our circumstance between us and God, but
faith puts God between us and our circumstances.
3. Moses stretches out the staff of God and the waters of the Red Sea begin
a. Note that a strong supernatural wind begins to make a way of escape
b. Note too that it takes all night for the path to open...
c. They witnessed God's hand at work in keeping the enemy at bay, and
also doing a work to make a way of escape too...these are New Testament concepts as well for the believer!
4. As they watched all night by the light of God on their side...the path of
deliverance begins to form....and their faith grows with it! They can expect
deliverance!...and so can we!
III. PERSPECTIVE 14:23-31
A. Danger Expressed! 14:23-25
1. Notice what God does for Egypt!
a. In His love for even the enemy, God sends a warning to them not to
pursue His people, by throwing them into confusion, He is giving them
a warning that they are messing around with God!
b. Had Egypt heeded this warning, they would not have had to perish in
2. before judgment, God always sends warnings...this is His love and grace at
3. The Bible serves to warn of unchecked sin in our lives too, the
consequences only get worse when we continue to live in disobedience!
B. Defeating the Enemy! 14:26-28
1. When Egypt tries to take advantage of God's miraculous power, they find
that instead of helping them, it works against them!
a. What to Israel was a miracle saving them, to Egypt would be a judgment
to destroy them!
b. Egypt's failure to hear the right message from God cost them
ILLUS: During Napoleon's Austrian campaign his army advanced to within six miles of Feldkirch. It looked as though Bonaparte's men would take Feldkirch without resistance. But as Napoleon's army advanced toward their objective in the night, the Christians of Feldkirch gathered in a little church to pray. It was Easter Eve.
The next morning at sunrise the bells of the
village pealed out across the countryside. Napoleon's army, not realizing it was
Easter Sunday, thought that in the night the Austrian army had moved into
Feldkirch and that the bells were ringing in jubilation. Napoleon ordered a
retreat, and the battle at Feldkirch never took place. The Easter bells caused
the enemy to retreat, and peace reigned in the Austrian countryside. Failure to
remember the resurrection of Christ brought defeat to the enemy, but to those
who remembered, it was victory!
2. Egypt is defeated, and death comes to them, while life comes to Israel!
3. God is the dividing line in this world, on His side by faith we find life, and
to those who reject Him and put themselves against Him, they find death!
a. Judgment was complete, not one survived!
b. There will be no exceptions when we stand before God one day either, if
you have not received Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can only expect eternal damnation!
4. However, all those who were on God's side made it safely across, not one of
them were lost!
C. Deliverance Experienced! 14:29-31
1. Israel saw the dead Egyptians with their own eyes, a vivid lesson on the price of not trusting in God!
2. The powerful soldiers of Egypt were hardly the fiercesome force that Israel
had made them out to be, God changes the equation dramatically!
a. so often we see circumstances as being much greater than they really
are. especially if God is factored in!
b. We need to remember that what we see as big may in fact have little
substance or power to it when God is fighting for us!
ILLUS: According to the National Bureau of Standards, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of something less than one glass of water. That is, all the fog covering seven city blocks 100 feet deep could be, if it were gotten all together, held in a single drinking glass; it would not quite fill it.
This can be compared to the things we worry
about. If we could see into the future and if we could see our problems in their
true light, they wouldn't blind us to the world -- to living itself -- but
instead could be relegated to their true size and place. And if all the things
most people worry about were reduced to their true size, you could probably
stick them all into a water glass, too.
3. Now after the deliverance, God's question to Moses takes on a new dynamic: "WHY ARE YOU CRYING OUT TO ME?!"
a. They had fretted and worry for no reason!
b. The fears they expressed which took away their strength was unfounded!
c. They almost made a huge mistake and went back to Egyptian slavery
in their doubts....what a huge mistake this would have been!
d. God had a plan all along, they just didn't know what it was at the time.
4. How about you: Are you fretting over situations that seem to have you
pressed in with no place to go?
a. Are you crying out to God in despair?
b. Has your faith been faltering?
c. Do all you see is the enemy and the apparent coming captivity?
5. then maybe you need to stand firm and move forward while God opens a
way of escape that is supernatural!!!
a. they could never have guessed that they way out was walking on dry
land through the water!!
b. God may provide a way out that you could not possibly see right now!
6. Instead of crying out to Him in fear, cry out to Him in praise! DELIVERANCE WILL BE EXPERIENCED WHEN IT IS
CONCLUSION: When trials strike us it is always appropriate to pray, but not to
panic! When God sees us panic, He asks, "why are you crying out to me?" as
though to ask us why we don't believe He will help us! If God loved us enough to
save us, He also loves us enough to keep us!