Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

Go Forward with God

Notes & Transcripts

Go Forward with God

Exodus 14:10-22

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 6, 2013

BACKGROUND:

*When the Children of Israel were living in Egypt, they were forced into brutal slavery by the Pharaohs. But God heard the cries of His people, and in Exodus 3-4, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush. There God called Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.

*When the Lord called Moses, He knew that Pharaoh would resist letting the people go. And God promised to send terrible judgments on Egypt. In Exodus 3:18-20, the Lord said to Moses:

18. . . "You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.'

19. I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand.

20. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go."

*Those wonders came in the form of ten terrible plagues that God sent on Egypt. The last plague was death for all firstborn men and beasts, except those protected by the blood of the Passover. After that terrible night, Pharaoh let God's people go, but he quickly changed his mind, and planned to crush them when they were trapped against the Red Sea.

*With this background in mind, let's begin by reading Exodus 14:10-22. And as we read, please think about going forward with God.

INTRODUCTION:

*A few years ago, I walked out to our back yard, and saw something I had never seen before: A little cat had her head stuck in our chain-link fence. I don't know how long she had been there, but it had been a while. And that cat was stuck. There was no way she could pull herself free. She wasn't too happy about it, but I was able to cut a couple of the wires, and she took off like a rocket.

*Sometimes we get stuck in life: Stuck in traffic, stuck in the mud, stuck in a job we don't like, stuck in sin, stuck in a spiritual rut. We may be stuck in a bad situation, but God wants to help us go forward.

*The Apostle Paul is a great example for us. When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was stuck in a terrible situation. In chapter 1, Paul tells us that he is a prisoner for the Lord. He was in chains, and he had been for a while. In fact, Paul didn't know if he would live or die. Then, in chapter 2, Paul tells us that he almost had grief piled up on top of grief, when a close friend nearly died.

*Paul was stuck in a bad situation. But in Philippians 3:13-14, he was firmly committed to go forward with God. There Paul said:

13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

*Paul said he was "reaching forward to those things which are ahead." The word-picture is a runner putting out maximum effort, stretching his whole body out to try to cross the finish line first.

*And God wants us to go forward like that: Forward as Christians, as families, as friends, and as a church. God wants us to go forward, and this Scripture in Exodus shows us three reasons why we can and must go forward.

1. First: We must go forward because God will protect us.

*God will always give His people the protection we need. Well, do we still get sick? Yes. Do we still get old? Yes. Do we still have financial problems? -- Sometimes. Do we still have family problems? -- Sometimes. But there is a difference when we are Christians, even when we don't see the difference.

*In vs. 10-12, the Children of Israel made the terrible mistake of forgetting God's protection:

10. And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

11. Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?

12. Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.''

*The children of Israel did not realize how much God was protecting them. And many times, neither do we. We tend to underestimate the work of God in our lives, but He is there, working behind the scenes to give us His protection.

*Many times I have thought back to the story Billy Graham told about John Paton and his wife. They were pioneer missionaries in the New Hebrides Islands. One night, hostile natives had surrounded the mission headquarters. They were intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. All during the terror filled night, John and his wife prayed that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave. And they thanked God for delivering them.

*A year later the chief of the tribe became a Christian. And when Patton asked the chief what kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them, the chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men you had with you there?"

*The missionary answered, "There were no men there, just my wife and I." Then the chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard, -- hundreds of big men in shining garments with swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack.

*Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent His angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation. God sent His angels. He was working to protect his people. And God is always working behind the scenes in our lives. (1)

*Many times we can see God's protection in our lives. Moses knew the Children of Israel were about to see it again. That's why in vs. 13, "Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.'"

*Sometimes we get to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has protected us. Many of us here could stand up right now, and give testimonies of those times. But most of the time we can't see God's protection in our lives. However, if we believe in Jesus Christ, we can spiritually see the most important part of God's protection.

*Verses 19&20 remind us of this great truth in an unexpected way. There:

19. . . the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

20. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

*This was a huge pillar of cloud and fire, not some small thing. Remember that there were between two and three million Jews trapped by the Red Sea. And there must have been a massive Egyptian army bearing down on them. So this was an enormous pillar of fire and cloud. And it is important for us to know that God was in that pillar of fire and cloud.

*To the Egyptians the pillar was a cloud of darkness. But to God's people the pillar was a light in the dark night. And spiritually, that's the way it is today with Jesus. He is the Light of the world! But people who don't believe in Jesus don't see the Light. They don't realize how wonderful He is.

*But when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have God's light in our lives. And we see the world in a brand new way. The Apostle Paul explained this truth in 2 Corinthians 4:3-7. Listen to it today from the New Living Translation:

3. If the Good News we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing.

4. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

5. We don't go around preaching about ourselves; we preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. All we say about ourselves is that we are your servants because of what Jesus has done for us.

6. For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

7. But this precious treasure -- this light and power that now shine within us -- is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

*Christians: Right now we can spiritually see the eternal protection we have in Jesus Christ. And one day everyone will see the difference God's protection makes. Sadly it will be too late for most. Those Egyptian soldiers were headed to death at the bottom of the Red Sea. But God's people were headed to the Promised Land. And we are headed to the eternal Promised Land, if we have received Jesus.

*So we must go forward, because God will protect us.

2. But also go forward, because God provides a way.

*God provided a way for the Children of Israel. And He has provided a way for us. God's Way for us is the Lord Jesus Christ.

[1] And notice that God's way is sure.

*We see this truth in vs. 13&14:

13. And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

14. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.''

*That sounds sure to me! We can be sure with Jesus Christ.

[2] God's Way is sure. And it is shared.

*This truth is in vs. 15&16, where:

15. . . the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.

16. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."

*In vs. 16, God told Moses: "Stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it." I can imagine Moses thinking, "What?!? -- Who?!? -- Me?!?" And sometimes God may ask us to do the impossible. But the impossible becomes possible with God! And what a blessing to have a part in the process.

[3] God's Way is shared. And it is spectacular.

*We also see this truth in vs. 16, where God told Moses: "Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."

*Now in vs. 21&22:

21. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.

22. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

*Just imagine seeing that water begin to part, and the enormous wall of water on each side. That was miraculous, astounding, spectacular. But God's way for us is even more spectacular.

*Think about the perfect, miraculous life of our Savior. And think about His miraculous death on the cross, the miracle that one man's death could pay for the sins of all mankind, the miracle that one drop of Jesus' precious blood can wash away all of our sins!

*Now think about the miracle of Christ's resurrection: Jesus Christ risen from the dead to give all believers eternal victory over death! Think about the miracle of us receiving a total pardon and eternal life, when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Think about the miracle of the ever-present Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. And think about the miracle of a home in Heaven. All of these things are amazing beyond words!

[4] God's Way is spectacular. And it is solitary.

*There was only one way through the Red Sea. And there is only one way to Heaven! The only way to Heaven is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

So we must go forward, because God provides a way.

3. And go forward, because God will point us in the right direction.

*You see, we have a problem. Sometimes we are afraid to go forward. And sometimes we are tempted to go back, just like the Children of Israel wanted to go back to Egypt. Listen again to their gripes back up in vs. 11&12:

11. Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?

12. Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.''

[1] Sometimes we too are tempted to go back, but God makes a plea to us.

*We hear an example in vs. 15: "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.'"

[2] God makes a plea to us. And God pushes us on.

*He has many ways to lead us on. And yes, those great walls of water came crashing down to protect the Children of Israel from the Egyptians soldiers. But they also came crashing down to push the Children of Israel forward to the Promised Land.

*God's people had to go forward, because they couldn't go back, even though many of them wanted to. God points us in the right direction, and sometimes He does it in unusual ways.

*James King gave an example that happened when he was a missionary in Africa. It's a sad story with a very happy ending. There was a very faithful lady who was part of that church. She came to every service. And she came alone, except for her mutt of a dog that came with her.

*He would come in with the lady, and sit beside her during the service. At the end of every service, when the invitation was given, she would go forward and kneel in prayer. And her dog would go forward with her.

*The Christian lady's husband was a very cold and hard man. In fact, he abused and beat her horribly, just because she was a Christian. And one day, he beat her to death. He would not even allow her pastor to give her a Christian funeral.

*After the burial, it was just him and the dog in that home. But that Wednesday evening, he noticed the dog disappear about 7:00, and he didn't reappear for about two hours. It happened again on Sunday morning. About 9:00 a.m. the dog left and did not return until 12:30. The same thing happened again that evening.

*The next Sunday morning, the man was so curious that he decided to follow and see where the dog was going. He had to hurry to keep up, but he followed the dog to the little church where his wife attended. The dog went in and took his seat during the service. And at the close of the service, the man saw the dog go forward and take a place where his wife had prayed for him for years.

*The man was so touched that he too went forward and gave his life to Jesus. From then on, the dog went to church with a new master. (2)

*There was not a thing lovable about that man, but God loved him. And God used a dog to help change that man forever. God used a dog to point that man in the right direction. And right now God is using His Word, His Spirit, and his Son to point us in the right direction.

*God is telling us to go forward with Him.

CONCLUSION:

*If you are not a Christian, then the most important step you need to take is turn your life over to God, and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. If you are already a Christian, then now is the time to join the church under the leadership of God's Holy Spirit. And now is the time to renew your commitment to grow and to go with God.

(1) "Angels: God's Secret Agents" by Billy Graham - N.Y. - Doubleday, 1975 - p. 3

(2) 2173, "PEJan87 - "The Pattern Lives On" - Submitted by Robert Strand, First Assembly of God, Grand Junction, Colorado

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →