If you’re like me, when you first gave your life to the Lord, all your problems would be over. You thought, “Now, I’ll always be happy!” You’d been set free from your sins; guilt had been removed and now you’re ready to go to Heaven. You figured that for the rest of your life, you’d be walking with God and be relatively problem-free. At the end of it all, you’d go to Heaven and enjoy perfect rest and fulfillment. “Not exactly” says God. “You’re just a baby at spiritual things and there’s a lot for you to learn before you enter into your inheritance. You have a lot of growing up and learning to go through before you enter into My Paradise.” Then, He begins to lead you to new places in life, places where there are tough situations, enemies and difficulties. You go through things that you never expected and the sins you thought were totally behind you all of a sudden reappear out of nowhere…while new predicaments you never thought you’d face pop up in front of you.
The same thing happened to the Israelites. The people of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. God delivered the Israelites from their bondage in a mighty way. He moved in such a way that the Egyptians sent them away loaded with riches and the Israelites were on their way to “the land of milk and honey.” Like you and me, the Israelites thought their troubles were over. In a few short days, they’d be in the Promise Land, happy as clams! No more enslavement, no more cruel task makers and no more troubles and trials. Then, within a few days, the Egyptians came chasing after the Israelites, trying to put them back into bondage. Worse than that was where the Israelites happened to be at the time. On each side of them was a mountain and in front of them was the Red Sea and breathing down their necks were the Egyptians.
The Egyptians represent those parts of our lives that we thought were behind us. Things we thought we were through with forever and never have to contend with again. When we first come to the Lord, we think that our sins are behind us and we’re through with them forever so we feel at peace. But then, out of the blue, they come back on us again, only this time with a vengeance. Instead of a mere whip, they come on horseback with sword and spear. Those old sins come back on you and this time, it’s too much for you. You thought you’d never encounter them again because you were delivered and forgiven, but now, they’re even more threatening than before and before you were their slave and now, you’re their enemy. Haven’t you experienced that the attacks of sin after you’ve come out of bondage have been more ferocious than before, when you were just a slave to them? The common experience for the Christian is that, after coming out of bondage, a time of peace and tranquility follows. Then, out of the blue, the terror and agony of the old sins come back, in vicious retaliation.
That’s the first problem that you and I face. We can get so discouraged that we feel like we’re better off before we knew the Lord. We feel like we’re not much of a Christian and that now, we’re going to be wiped out by something that we’ve been delivered from. Our second problem comes from the first. It’s FEAR. As soon as the Israelites realized that their old masters were coming back to them, they began to cry out in fear. Fear is the greatest enemy of the Christian. Ephesians 6:16, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.” When you have fear, you lose and that’s why God has given us the shield of faith so that when the enemy throws his spear of sin at you, you can ward it off with the shield of faith. Can’t you now understand WHY the enemy wants your faith to be weak? If your faith is weak, he can throw his spears and fiery darts right through your weak paper shield. When we haven’t gotten much of the Word, our faith stays weak and that’s why you and I must get into the House of God at the appointed times, for the preaching and teaching of the Word. Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” When we have faith, and that, Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:39, “Nothing shall separate us from the love of God.” Then, we don’t fear that God hasn’t fully delivered us and we don’t fear that He has left us or forsaken us. We don’t fear that He will turn His back on us when we need His help the most. The third problem the children of Israel faced was the Red Sea, in front of them. It totally blocked their way, so they couldn’t escape from the Egyptians. Who put the Red Sea there? The devil? The Egyptians? Of course not, God put it there and it was blocking their way when they needed to run.
There’s probably a Red Sea in front of you and you didn’t put it there, but it’s hindering you. Maybe your experience isn’t like mine, but I can say that the biggest Red Sea I ever came up against was after I came to Jesus. After I was set free from the bondage of Egypt. You can rest assured that after you get to know the Lord, that a Red Sea will block your path. A Red Sea that’s uncrossable and unavoidable so much so that you just don’t know what to do. Maybe you’ve done nothing wrong and or, it’s there as a result of your life BEFORE you came to the Lord. Resistance from an unsaved spouse, bills that you accumulated when you were operating in your insanity, a job you might have to quit because you can’t keep it and also please your Lord. What can you do? You can’t go backwards…that would be deadly. You can’t turn to the side, obstacles surround you and in front of you is the Red Sea, so you stand still. You stand still thinking, “I thought I had fully trusted God and had the victory! Now, here’s something I can’t deal with, I can’t swim and there’s no ships to carry me across.!”
God has 3 helps for you. For all of your trials, God has helps and promises. There are more than 7,000 promises in the Word of God and these promises are self-fulfilling prophecies when you act on them. The first help for the Children of Israel was the promise of God and He called them and had made a covenant with them, a promise to them. That’s the same promise you and I have. He has called us and made a promise to us. You might be in a tough situation, but you know THIS: God brought you out of Egypt and you didn’t bring yourself out and He will get you through your tough situation just as certainly. Secondly, God had His total power available for the use of His children. Psalm 106:9, “He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up, so He led them through the depths, as though dry ground.” The same God who put the Red Sea there, moved on the Red Sea and made a way where there was no way. Third, God sent a Deliverer. To the children of Israel, it was Moses. Without Moses, there would’ve been no deliverance and for us, our deliverer is Jesus. Moses did everything for the Israelites; Jesus did everything for us.
Jesus is praying for you right this minute, even as it was Moses’ prayers that God honored and then delivered Israel. God LISTENS to Jesus when He prays for you and me! Call out to Jesus and as Moses raised his hand and the Red Sea parted, Jesus will speak the word and your Red Sea will part before you. Why did God allow His children to get into that tight spot? Well, because some of us will never make an all-out commitment to Him and be totally dedicated to hum until we’ve had a trial that shook us up. We tried to be half Egyptian and half a child of God – but weren’t much of either one until a trial got us to call on the Lord to deliver us. I look forward to having you with me this Sunday and grow your faith and your obedience.