- Sermon Notes
Let God Lead You Through
Intro: Yes Wii Can
The Lord wants to lead us through life, but we don’t always understand His plan. This issue becomes urgent when we find ourselves in circumstances where the path forward seems unclear or even impossible. In those moments (just as in all moments) we can choose to lean on a leader who sees things we can’t. And who has a better viewpoint than the creator of the universe? Today we will read a faith building story where our God leads His people through a great trial in a way that only He could.
The nation of Israel had been enslaved by the Egyptians for generations. Then, God used Moses and 10 miraculous plagues to win the emancipation of His people and to demonstrate His glory. So, Israel starts their journey to the Promised Land, but instead of taking the direct path (through the land of the Philistines) God leads them to the shore of the Red Sea. Not long after the Israelites leave Egypt, Pharaoh regrets letting them go, and he starts chasing the nation of Israel. Here is where our text begins.
Read: Exodus 14:10-22
As the people of Israel journeyed toward their promise, God had a plan for them that was more amazing than they could have imagined. Before they crossed, however, all they could see was an impassable sea before them and an impossible king in pursuit of them. When you are stuck between a rock and a hard place it’s hard to see how you can get beyond. But God is deeply intentional about how He leads us.
I. He Has A Better Path
- The Israelites find themselves in an impossible situation. In front of them, they have a massive body of water, and behind them an army is pressing in.
- As far as they could see, they were out of options! There was no way forward, so they started to look back.
Exodus 14: 11-12 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
- Israel began to play with the idea of returning to their enslavement. In their fear it sounded better than the place God had led them to.
- We are called to a follow Christ, to let Him lead, to bear our cross, to live a life swimming against the current. There will be troubles in this life, but the goal is so good!
- It’s strange how easily doubt can emerge when our progress meets an obstacle. When we start to feel squeezed, it can be very tempting to look for the ejector button. Any way out of the struggle starts to look appealing.
Illus. It’s not so bad!
- The Israelites’ life in Egypt was nothing worth retuning to. The Pharaohs had intentionally made their lives bitter, with the hope of oppressing Israel and working them into submission. It was just a way out. They best thing they could imagine.
- Don’t be so quick to give up! If we find ourselves in a place where we can’t imagine a way forward, we should consider that it might say more about our lack of imagination than it does about God’s plan.
Job 28:24 For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.
- He sees things that we can’t! Our limited experience and flawed expectations can be heavy weights on our faith. God knows exactly what is possible, and His plan for Israel would become a testimony that encourages the faith of generations.
- Where man saw a dead end or U-turn, God was preparing a path. A way ahead to God’s destined purpose for His people.
- The plan that God had for Israel was better than anything they could come up with, but fear has a loud voice.
- When we are afraid the lies can be deafening. Poor options can seem like our only option.
In that moment, we need to cling to God’s Words, believe His promises, and trust by faith that His path is better.
Illus. Stormy Drive
- Do not fear
- The Israelites’ fear was met with a reassurance of God’s ability to lead them through this trail.
- We are not meant to abide in fear when God has offered us peace that extends beyond our perception.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- He calls us out of fear, and into the confidence of what He has for us. That confidence is found in Him.
- Moses says it clearly in Exodus 14:13 “Do not fear! Standby and see the salvation of the Lord” That is God’s word to us when He is about to do something
- Moses knew God would move. Even though he didn’t know how God would move this time, he had already seen the Lord work miracles where all hope seemed lost.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not look
about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
- With a God like ours, we have every reason to choose peace when it’s offered to us. We don’t have to be afraid, because the Lord has adopted us as His children, His people! All we need to do is look to Him.
- Moses is pointing the Israelites upward, before they go forward.
- We too need to go to God first before we choose our path. That way we can make a choice in peace instead of panic.
- The Lord will fight for you
- There was no way the Israelites were going to win a fight against the chariots of Egypt on their own, and they weren’t about to swim across the Red Sea.
Instead of being afraid they needed to recognize that the Lord was ready to come to their aid and show them the path to victory. God would fight FOR them.
Illus. Sasha vs Tony
- Let the Lord fight on your behalf. He is far more capable, and it will honor Him.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
- When we face a challenge, we need to invite God to the scene. Victory is assured for Him, no obstacle can stand before Him!
- If you belong to God and let Him guide your course, you are under His protection. The Lord will pull you through.
- Moses said to the people, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:14)
- When God says He is on your side, you can rest assured that the victory is in hand. He is a hands on, all in leader!
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
- Our God is bigger than anything that stands in His way. He is glorified by the victories He claims on our behalf, and He has a plan for us that outclasses any scheme of our own.
- We can trust God to clear any impassible seas that sit in the way of His path for us.
- Keep the Faith
- With Israel pressed against the Red Sea, God told Moses to raise his staff. Then, the better path that God had intended became clear. The waters parted and gave way to dry land right before the eyes of the people! Suddenly the foolishness of their complaints became very obvious.
- When the Lord’s plans are revealed, we often look back and see how clear His course had been. This can be a very humbling recognition, and hopefully a faith building one.
- The Israelites would need that deeper faith, because it was time to cross through the sea, walls of water stacked on either side. With every step they had to trust that this miracle would persist… that those walls would hold firm.
- When God reveals the next steps in His plan, our faith needs to stay strong. We need to trust Him as He leads us through the midst of seas, storms, and all kinds of uncertainty.
- We also need to remember what the Lord has already done to prove His faithfulness, to keep our own faith fresh!
2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
- Sadly, these people end up falling short. Like Samuel spoke to last week, they didn’t keep a moldable heart, and they ended up wandering in the wilderness for decades.
Numbers 14: 22-23 “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.”
- The Israelites saw 10 plagues in Egypt —miracles for their salvation— and would go on to show a serious lack of faith on 10 distinct occasions. The first occasion was right here as they complained before the crossing. Saying slavery was better than what God had planned.
- Finally, God said enough is enough. It would be 40 years before the nation of Israel would be taken into the Promised Land.
Illus. The crossing of the Jordan
- Coming out of Egypt, Israel’s faith had faltered, but here they had a chance to redeem their shortcoming, and step into the water!
- As we meet obstacles on our journey to God’s promises, we can proceed trusting that God can get us through! Our faith should grow deeper every time God shows us who He is.
Illus. Moving to Oregon
1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He
also will bring it to pass.
- It can be easy to forget how powerfully Jesus has shaped and blessed our lives…for our faith to faulter when we meet a new, unprecedented challenge.
Illus. Raise an Ebenezer
- Let your faith compound and grow with every work. Our confidence in God’s leadership should be strengthened through every challenge!
- Even when, like Israel, we find ourselves caught in an impossible situation, we can turn to the One who makes all things possible.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- Fear, grumbling, forgetfulness, a lack of imagination: all these things may try and harden your heart. We can’t let them!
- God is capable, and God is kind. He has a path marked out for you. If you allow Him to be the author, you will look back at your life you will be astounded at the story He wrote you through.
- So, the question is, will you let Him lead?
As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.” The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.