Tracking God’s Movements
Every person can grow in their understanding of God by recognizing the truths shown in this passage.
Maybe you have heard people say that it is a bad idea to corner a wild animal. It seems to be within the instincts of everything that it becomes very defensive and can even become aggressive when cornered. Even human beings can become like that.
A few years ago a feral cat had some kittens in the wood pile that was next to the house. When we discovered them they were old enough that they knew they did not like or trust people. When we tried to get close to them they would hiss at us, bit at us and try to claw us. They did not like us being close to them because they felt we were a threat.
One day I walked over there to check on them, not know that the mother cat was there. She jumped from the wood pile up in the air and across the neighbor’s fence so she could not be cornered. It gave all of us a good scare.
Animals don’t like to be cornered, nor do people. We can feel threatened and in a dangerous position when we are cornered. That is right where the Hebrews are in this passage. They have mountains on either side, the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian Army behind them. It seems like a no win situation. We can learn some truths about God from this passage.
Truth I. He reveals information
A. Throughout what we have been studying God has given the necessary information to Moses and Moses passed it along to the Hebrew people. God was giving them the information that they needed. We can see this in the passage we read. In 14:1 Moses is told to have the Israelites turn around and head in another direction. He also used this pillar of cloud and pillar of fire to guide his people. He was giving them the information that they needed.
B. One of the things we often miss is that God also gives information to the enemy. One of the phrases I notice often in this passage is “the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” It seems to me that the word “know” used here is one that is very simple. Maybe you have heard the phrase once you learn to ride a bike you never forget how. If you have ridden a bike, when you get on again, you don’t have to remind yourself of how it all works. It is one of those things that you have done enough that it pretty much comes automatically. It is something that you know how to do. You don’t need to be reminded over and over again of how to ride that bicycle.
C. It is that kind of information that God was trying to instill in the Egyptian people. The Egyptians had a number of gods that they worshiped, but they were just stone statues. They were really worshiping stones. God wanted them to know that what they were worshipping was not real. In contrast he is real. He could just let them go on and continue to live in their lost state, or he could get them pointed in the right direction. He wanted them to know him. He wanted them to know him in a very simple way. He wanted them to recognize him as true. Not a piece of stone like they were accustomed to worshipping. He is real.
D. As Jesus was talking to his disciples just before his crucifixion he was giving them to final directions. One sentence that he shared with them echoes this same message, “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Joh 14:6 NIVUS)Whatever means men have devised to get to God will all fall short. Many have bought into the myth that if I am good enough I can get to God. Others have looked at other religions. Jesus clearly stated that the only way to God is through him. This might be some of the greatest information that he has revealed to the world. It is only through Jesus Christ that a person can be saved. There is no other way. This is information that we need to know and it is information that the Egyptians needed to know.
E. We might not have the kind of communication with God that Moses had, but we have much more. God spoke to Moses in a way that none of us may ever experience. Through the generations God has given us the Bible. In the Bible we find much more than what God gave to Moses. If you think of it that way we are much better off than Moses was. We need to cherish the Bible. We need to make it a central part of our life.
Truth II. He works in the heart
A. I had a friend who went to a sort of revival meeting one time. As he was there the minister gave an invitation of some sort and invited people to come forward who wanted to be prayed for in this area. My friend went forward and as he was being prayed for the people praying for him were looking for a particular response from him. He said that he felt like he was not going to be released by these people until he produced this response. When I hear stories like this I wonder if they are really allowing God to do a work or if they are trying to produce something on their own. It is doing something in their human strength.
B. This is probably something that bothers some people. In v. 8 it says, “The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh.” Like I said before God was teaching the Egyptian people who the real God is. It was not something malicious or mean, but it was something he was doing to get them headed on the right path. In order to do this he had to harden Pharaoh’s heart. It is rather ironic that he harden’s Pharaoh’s heart in order to soften the hearts of the Egyptian people. I would like to look at more than just what God did with Pharaoh, but what God is able to do with the heart.
C. If God is able to harden the heart of Pharaoh then he must be able to soften a heart as well. In my illustration of my friend, people were trying to make something happen, that really could only be done by the Holy Spirit of God. When a heart needs to be changed, it needs to be done by God. I cannot change your heart and you cannot change my heart. God however is able to change a heart. He clearly made the heart of Pharaoh hard, and he can make the heart of someone soft. God is the master of the heart. It is not something man is able to do.
D. We have an obligation as Christians to tell people about Jesus Christ and the change he has made in our lives. We want to pass along that information and then we look for it to change the life of that person we are telling. It is not within our means to change the heart of a person. It is within our means to be obedient to God’s leading. It is within our means to pray for people. God is the one who will change a heart.
Truth III. He fights
A. I know you probably have a hard time believing this, but I was a real wimp in school. I think I was so bad that the bullies didn’t even bother with me. One day I was coming out of school and found myself surrounded by bullies. These guys were friends with one of the members of my church youth group. He came out shortly after I was surrounded. He suggested to the others that they leave me alone, and in no time at all the bullies dispersed. I was so thankful for that little bit of protection.
B. In think it had to be a great relief for the Hebrews to know that God would be fighting for them. They had been slaves for many years. They had not taken that time to build an army. They did not have weapons and they did not have a trained fighting force. They were probably in good shape from all of the work they were doing, but they did not have the training necessary to be a military force. So to know that they were not going to have to fight was a good relief for them. Fighting would likely mean they would get pretty well beaten up. Just like me coming out of school that was not something that was really appealing.
C. Brother Andrew is a missionary who took it upon himself to take the Bible into areas of the world where it has been banned, or at least discouraged. He would often take carloads of Bible over the border into communist countries. As he approached the border crossing where he could have his Bibles confiscated he would pray, “God you made the blind man see, I pray that you would make seeing eyes blind.” He was never stopped or searched when he reached a border crossing. Often it was the car in front of him, or the car behind him that was taken apart in a search. It was never his car. God was fighting for him.
D. It is amazing to consider that it is this same God we worship today. He is not going to take away all of our troubles. He does not promise to do that. He does say that he will fight for us. I think we need to learn how to rely on God to fight for us. We need his intervention, but we don’t know how to seek it or accept it.
Truth IV. He controls weather
A. When the Hebrew people have the Red Sea on one side of them and the Egyptian army ready to pounce on the other side things are looking pretty grim. It does not look like there is any possible way to get out of this. God does a few things for his people. He first causes a pillar of fire to block the Egyptians from getting to the Hebrews. The other thing is God has Moses hold his hand out over the Red Sea and God causes a wind to blow that pushes the water back so the Hebrews can walk across the Red Sea on dry ground. Moses held out his hand, but God caused the wind to blow.
B. In the book of Job Satan came to God asking for permission to inflict Job. Everything Satan did to Job he had to receive God’s permission first. One of the things that happens is weather related problems. Satan could not do that by himself. He needed to have God’s permission in order to take control of the weather. Satan might have some power in the weather department, but he must go through God to be able to do anything.
C. I saw a television special talking about weather control. In our society someone has devised a way to alter the course of a hurricane. The problem they experienced with this is that they were not able to direct the path of that hurricane. All they could do was to change its course. In our society we feel like someone should have their hands on everything that happens. With all that people are able to do in the world no one is able to control the weather with predictable results. There is much in this area that is a mystery. We know someone who can.
D. God was able to take control of the weather and make the wind blow so much that it pushed the sea back and the Hebrew people were able to walk across the sea on dry ground. This happened because of a powerful God. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior he becomes our God. He is not just some distant deity who does not know or care what is happening in our world. He is our God.
Even though the Hebrews found themselves in an impossible situation they had a God who rescued them and demonstrated His great power to them. He also showed some awesome things to their enemies.