Today we are looking at Exodus 14.
This is the thing, if you are know one thing about the book of Exodus, this is probably the part of the story that you know. Here is where we see God”s people, finally free from slavery, out of their oppression, and now headed to the promised land. Last week we looked at how God led His people and this week we see the first real test of their faith in Him.
So, here we have God, leading His people through Moses, and they have entered the wilderness, headed out of Egypt, and as I said they face their first test of faith. What is funny in this story is that he test of their faith, was the means by which God had planned to destroy Pharaoh and a bunch of his men. And so the lesson for us as it was the same for the people of Israel, is that we must trust in the Lord. That sounds like a great cliche, but I want to look today at what it really means to trust God, but first I want to look at why it is important.
1. Trust is important, because we are prone to not trust God:
We Trust Our Fear: v. 10: Fear is a powerful emotion. fear is a response that God has built into us to help us survive. Many times, fear will keep us from making foolish decisions, and downright stupid things. So in some ways fear can be a gift because we evaluate the outcome of our potential actions, and determine that if it might be adverse, we avoid that course of action. It may be remembering what happened last time we made a similar decision and we fear the same outcome. I actually would call that type of fear, “respect” Now, at the same time, fear can be not evaluating the outcome of our own actions, it can be evaluating the possibility of another person’s actions, and fearing that. Fear can paralyze a person so quickly. fear can drive someone to totally shut down. Fear is probably the most exploited emotion that you possess, in fact, you may know this or not, but you have been manipulated most often by your fear than anything else. That is how news outlets stay in business.
The problem with fear, is that fear is all about something that has not even happened yet. And so it is actually a highly illogical emotion. Think about this for a second. When you are afraid of something, you are not in that moment being harmed. You are only fearing the possibility of being harmed. If you are harmed, you are not as much fearing what might happen, your are experiencing that hurt at the moment. I have seen this with our kids. When Nathan broke his leg, I had to get him in and out of the van several times before his leg had a cast on it. now, I tried very hard to get him to respond to pain, not to fear. this was really hard, because his fear screams were almost as blood cur tiling as his pain screams.
All this to say that We as humans are more prone to trust in our fear that we trust in God, and so we must learn to trust in God.
We also trust our past. v. 12: The Hebrews were so afraid of what might happen to them, that their past torture and captivity looked better to them than what they feared would happen. It amazes me how many miserable people will not take a step of faith in a healthy direction because they simply are afraid to give up the life they know, even though that life is destroying them. When someone becomes a Christian, they are invited into an amazing relationship where all of the things that used to identify someone are replaced by a new identity. The problem is that as soon as difficulty strikes, our nature is to go back to the old comforts and habits, even thought the true believer knows that those things will NEVER come close to the joy and life that is found in Christ.
We also trust ourselves: The Hebrews felt like they could come up with the right solution to this problem.
2. So we have seen why it is important, lets look at what it means to trust in God. v. 13.
a. Fear Not: Trusting in God means rejecting fear. If you are motivated to do anything because of fear, it is the wrong motivation. Romans 8:15, 2 Tim. 1:7 This is not always easy, but it must be fought.
b. Stand Firm: Stay the course. Here is where you move forward in faith for whatever God has asked you to do. This could be as simple as walking out your front door, trusting in God’s protection. This could be stepping out in faith in a conversation with a non believer trusting that God will give you he words. This could mean stepping out in faith with your finances, trusting God to provide for your family. Essentially it means not acting out of fear, but out of trust in what God has said. There is no safer place for the Israelites than in the middle of the Red Sea…
c. See the salvation of the Lord: Trust begins with surrender, and when
the Israelites surrenders and trusted the Lord, they saw that He is Faithful and he will deliver on His promises. This begins by trusting in Christ of the biggest problem you face, your sin.
So, as you think through this story in the Exodus account, what does it loo like for you to Fear Not, Stand Firm, and See the Salvation of the Lord?