THE RED SEA CROSSING
Reading: Exodus 13:17-22, 14:5-8, 13-14, 21-31
[a] In previous meetings, we have been able to see the plan of God unfolding for the deliverance of His people Israel - right from the birth of the baby Moses!
[b] It’s not long since there was much rejoicing as news flashed round the world that some hostages had been released.
[c] The world watched with great enthusiasm, you will remember, as Terry Waite and others spoke of their ordeal, and how it felt to be free!
[d] They were only a few people, but look at how they had captured the interest, emotions and prayers of people throughout the world.
[e] I wonder can we even begin to imagine the electrifying atmosphere as A WHOLE NATION OF CAPTIVES WERE BEING RELEASED!!
[f] Exodus 12:37 tells us there were 600,000 men plus woman and children - perhaps one to ONE AND A HALF MILLION PEOPLE!!
[g] The death of all the firstborn in Egypt was too much for Pharaoh and the Egyptians!
They couldn’t wait to get rid of these people who had brought such a curse on them, causing them such turmoil and pain!
[a] When I spoke about Moses at the burning bush, I said he was venturing into the unknown.
[b] But now we find a WHOLE NATION venturing into the unknown!
Venturing into a future without any security or indeed any direction of which they were aware.
[c] However, we see that God provides for them, a pillar of cloud by day, which became a pillar of fire by night!
THIS WAS TO BE THEIR GUIDE!
1. They were NOT to choose their OWN way!
2. They were NOT to follow MAPS - or any HUMAN GUIDE!
3. They were NOT to KNOW their DESTINATION!
4. But THEY WERE to follow the DIRECT LEADING OF GOD: VIA THE CLOUD!
[d] God was quite literally using this cloud to POINT THE WAY AHEAD, and to say as what God said through Isaiah later (Isaiah 30:21) "This is the way, walk ye in it!"
[d] God is willing to guide every one of us - as we allow Him!
[a] When the Israelites spot the armies of Egypt chasing after them - they are quite naturally terrified!
Pharaoh had suddenly realised the extent of his actions - all their slaves were gone - they had to get them back!
[b] Then ISRAEL CAME TO A DEAD STOP - THE RED SEA stretches ahead – and Pharaoh’s army is rapidly approaching from the rear!
[c] How could such a thing happen?
After all, had they not been following the leading of God?
Had He forsaken them to die under the hand of Pharaoh’s army?
WHY? WHY? WHY?
Have you ever felt like that?? Everything’s gone wrong and about to end in disaster - or so it seems!
[d] In Exodus 14:10-11, they blame God and Moses for their plight!
They couldn’t even see a shred of hope!!
[e] But Moses turns around and says "FEAR YE NOT!"
He said this because -
1. HE KNEW GOD COULD BE TRUSTED!
2. HE KNEW GOD DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES!
3. HE KNEW GOD HAD A PLAN, AND THERE WAS NO NEED TO FEAR!
[f] If your life is in the Lord’s hands, and you are allowing Him to lead, then THERE IS NO NEED TO FEAR - EVERYTHING IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF HIM OF WHOM IT SAYS IN PSALM 121:3
"HE THAT KEEPETH THEE WILL NOT SLUMBER!"
[g] Moses says to them, "STAND STILL!"
I’m sure the last thing they wanted to do was to STAND STILL AND BE CAPTURED OR EVEN SLAUGHTERED as they saw it!!
[h] Sometimes we are inclined to think that we must be DOING SOMETHING!
1. It’s a case of WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS - PANIC !!
2. After all, in such dire circumstances - who can blame them for RUNNING AROUND LIKE HEADLESS CHICKENS!!
3. It may not accomplish anything - but what else can we do??
4. Moses is saying, "STOP TRYING - START TRUSTING!!"
5. If you do, he says, YOU WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD!! (v 13)
[i] He is teaching them, that IF THEY LOOK IN FAITH, AND EXPECT OF GOD, IT WILL HAPPEN !
[j] I think we can understand their reticence! AFTER ALL, THEY WERE TO LOOK FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE!!
Even we as Christians with the miracle of personal salvation in our lives, do not usually look for the impossible!
BUT WITH GOD - ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!! HALLELUJAH!!
[k] The chorus writer says,
And again another has penned the words,
Got any rivers you think are impossible,
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through;
God specialises in things thought impossible,
He can do just what no other can do.
[a] In Exodus 14:19-20, we find that God moved the pillar of cloud between the two nations and in the night it caused a paralysis of the Egyptian army because it caused a dense darkness in their midst – I suppose a kind of ‘pea soup’ fog, so that they could not move towards Israel.
[b] Yet to the Israelites it was a pillar of fire, giving them light, comfort and assurance all night.
[c] So it is with this backdrop, that they look at the Red sea!
[d] Think of it, probably over a million people stuck on the beach, and not a boat between them!
[e] "What will we do??"
"OH JUST DIVIDE THE SEA MOSES!! "
[f] God had said to Moses, "STRETCH OUT THINE HAND OVER THE SEA, AND DIVIDE IT!!"
SHORT OF A MIRACLE, THE ISRAELITES WERE FINISHED!!
[g] Mother Angelica, the Catholic Nun who, on nothing more than faith,
has built a Satellite T.V. network in America says,
"GOD IS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO DO THE RIDICULOUS SO THAN HE CAN DO THE MIRACULOUS!"
[h] You no doubt have heard of King Canute, the first real Danish King of England, who ruled around 1000 AD.
A well-known story tells how Canute rebuked his flattering courtiers. He had his throne placed on the seashore, and when the tide came in he ordered the sea to fall back. As the water reached his feet, he turned to his courtiers and said: "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings; for there is none worthy of the name but Him whom heaven, Earth, and sea obey." (Excerpted from The Complete Reference Collection. Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Well - here’s Moses, and God says in verse 16, "Just stretch out your rod over the sea Moses, and it will divide, and a million and a half people will simply walk through the middle of it!"
HE TOOK GOD AT HIS WORD - AND IT WORKED !! HALLELUJAH!!
[a] Now we find in verse 21, that this was all happening at night, which meant that with the Egyptians fog-bound, they couldn’t see what was happening to the Israelites, and the head start they were getting as they and their animals walked in between these solid walls of water!
What a wonderful sight it would have been - I’m sure the fish had never seen anything like it either, as they were trapped in two huge Divine aquariums!
[b] Now we do not read that the Israelites had to paddle through even a few inches of water or mud! We read in verse 22, "The Children of Israel went into the midst of the sea UPON THE DRY GROUND !!"
[c] GOD NEVER DOES THINGS BY HALVES!!
If you allow God to work in your life - He will not do it by half!!
[d] The Children of Israel had to step out in faith in between those two great walls of water - believing that God would keep His Word – AND HE DID!! He always does! Praise His Name!!
[e] When Pharaoh’s army became aware what had happened, and gave chase, the waters closed upon them, and they were drowned!! God’s judgement fell upon them!!
[f] I have heard people try to explain away such miracles as this because they feel it insults their intelligence to accept them as being true!
[g] Well let me say that it would insult my intelligence NOT TO BELIEVE THAT THE GOD OF THIS UNIVERSE IS THE MIRACLE WORKING GOD OF SCRIPTURE - THE UNCHANGEABLE ONE!!
He is the God with Whom "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE," according to Jesus!
[a] Now it is perhaps one thing to say that about events in Scripture - but what about your own life??
[b] Have you allowed Him to perform the miracle of Salvation within you??
[c] You are not escaping from the forces of Pharaoh, but I assure you the armies of hell are after you, to make you the devil’s slave!
Are you willing to accept the Salvation on offer - IT IS THE ONLY WAY, AS WAS THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE FOR THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL! THERE WAS NO OTHER!!
[d] Christian, are you taking God at His Word - believing in all His miracle working power?? He has not changed, and He wants to reveal himself to this world through you and me! Are we allowing him to??
PRAYER CHORUS NO 124
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