Monday, March 19, 2018

Exodus New Direction New Life #10 The Providence of God Text: Exodus 16

Exodus New Direction New Life

The Providence of God
Text: Exodus 16

Audio Link


There was this fellow who worked for the Post Office whose job it was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses.  One day a letter came to his desk, addressed in a shaky handwriting to God.  He thought, "Oh boy, better open this one and see what it's all about." So he opened it and read:

Dear God, I am an 83 year old widow living on a very small pension.
Yesterday someone stole my purse.  It had $100.00 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension check.  Next week is Christmas, and I have invited two of my friends over for dinner.  Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with.  I have no family to turn to and you are my only hope.  Can you please help me?"

The postal worker was touched, and went around showing the letter to all the others.  Each of them dug into his wallet and came up with a few dollars.  By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $92.00, which they put into an envelope and sent to her.

 The rest of the day, all the workers felt the warm glow of the kind thing they had done. Christmas came and went.  A few days later after Christmas another letter came from the old lady to God.  All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.  It read,         "Dear God, How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me?
Because of your gift of love I was able to fix a glorious Christmas dinner for my friends.  We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift.  By the way, there was $8 missing.  I think it must have been those thieving employees at the Post Office."

Now that story, in a way, is an example of God’s providence which is the subject of our sermon this morning.

Providence and Manna Exodus 16:1-12

 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.  And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:  And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.  Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.  And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.  And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:  And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?  And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.  And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.  And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

The Hebrews Experience God’s Providence

They are running low on supplies because it has been about 2 months since they left Egypt.
They have not yet learned to depend upon God but instead try to use force and their own will to get what they need. The Bible says they miss their fleshpots, their stew pots back in Egypt. They remember their slavery’s food but they forget slavery’s chains.

The LORD despite their complaining, meets their true need of food by sending bread from heaven in the morning and quails or partridges in the evening. Yet there is a condition they must collect only as much as they can eat that day, except on Friday where they must collect twice the normal amount and most important they must not look for any manna on the Sabbath day. This is a test, God says, to see if the people will obey Him.

The Manna that God sent was not a last minute solution to a rising crisis but was always what God had planned for the Hebrews as they traveled across the wilderness. The manna was the daily proof of God’s providence for His own.

Learning to Trust in the Providence of God

Today we also have needs as important as those of the Hebrews, needs in our family, our church, our finances, our health, or our future. We need to understand that God meets our needs according to His providence and that His providence today is as sufficient for us today as it was when He rained 
manna on the children of Israel.

Definition for Providence

It comes from the Latin, “Pro” means “before” and “Video” means “to see” Providence means “to see before” This means that God sees before and plans accordingly. (did you know you were speaking Latin every time you say “Lets watch a video on Youtube.)

According to Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, providence is "the hidden, patient, sovereign enactment of God’s overriding purpose beyond the will and choice of human agents."
Theological Definition- Henry Thiessan “Lectures in Systematic Theology (Only preachers have favorite systematic theology books)

The Doctrine of Providence

The Christian view affirms that God has not merely created the universe, together with all its properties and powers, and that he is preserving all that he has created, but that as a holy, benevolent, wise and omnipotent being, he also exercises sovereign control over it. This sovereign control is called providence.

Etymologically, the word “providence” means foreseeing. From this basic idea has developed the meaning of providing for the future. But in theology the word has received a more specialized meaning. In this field, “providence” means that continuous activity of God whereby he makes all the events of the physical, mental, and moral realms work out his purpose, and this purpose is nothing short of the original design of God in creation. To be sure, evil has entered the universe, but it is not allowed to thwart God’s original, benevolent, wise and holy purpose.

Trusting in God for our daily bread is but a small part of providence, thought it may be the part that impacts most personally as it did the Hebrews. Providence is trusting God for my needs today but even more importantly it is trusting God and His will not just for me today but for all of creation for all of eternity.

Illustration: Trusting God through the death of my friend, Larry Jones.

Let me give you an example of needing to trust in God’s providence. You all know that we have been praying for my good friend Larry Jones. He has been a pastor and a missionary for right at 40 years. He has been faithful and he has been effective and he has been a great friend to me. Now he is dying of cancer.

I cannot comprehend why God doesn’t allow him to be healed. He is involved in God’s work on behalf of orphaned children, why doesn’t God send a miracle, or allow the medicine and treatments to work? I don’t know but I do know that God in His providence will meet the needs of Larry as he moves closer to God, of Larry’s family, his church and his friends in his loss, because God has already foreseen Larry’s death as he has foreseen the death of countless saints and servants before Larry and He has and He will provide. I trust in that providence. I trust that God’s Will shall be done even in death and loss. I don’t have to understand how. I just have to know that it will. That is how providence works.

Transition: Lets go on and look closer at God’s will as it works through providence.

Providence and God’s Will Exodus 16:13-21

 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.  And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.  And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.  Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.  And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

God’s Will Revealed in His Providence

They are told how to handle God’s blessing of the manna (what is it?)
They were to gather it every morning early with the dew. They were to gather an omer for each person and take it home. They were not to gather more than they needed nor try to keep it for later use.

Many ignored God’s word through Moses and tried to hoard as much as they could.
This was probably their practice back in Egypt. When they ignored the warning, when they disregarded God’s revealed will, the manna bred worms and stank. So every morning they gathered it and when the sun rose high in the sky, the manna just like the dew evaporated.

God’s Will Revealing in His Blessings

There are some wonderful principles in this passage which we can apply to all of God’s provision and blessing in our life.
First, Go to God early to gather his blessings.
Second, take as much as you need.
Third, God’s blessings, like manna, is meant to be poured out daily.
Fourth, Ignoring God’s revealed will results in busted blessings.

The purpose of the manna was not just to feed the people but also show them God’s will, is was to teach them to trust and obey him and it was to test his people so that through that test, they could be blessed by their obedience.

Those purposes have not changed God still reveals his Will through His word and then pours His blessing upon us so that we may learn to trust in His provision for our lives and that we might be tested in the way in which we will handle those blessings.

With each blessing, be it faith, family or finances, God has given rules, guidance, principles in order to sustain and continue the blessing. This is His revealed will. If we ignore His will, if we think we can receive the blessings of God without obedience, then that blessing is removed. Just like the Children of Israel instead of sweet manna we find worms and rot.
Let me give you an example in something we all experience, the family.

Illustration: God’s blessing of the family turns to a curse if we don’t follow His will.

God provides the family to be a blessing. It is our place of shelter, safety and security. If we follow God’s will for the family, if we apply His rules for how the family should be run then it is one of the greatest blessings we will ever experience in this life.

God says in Psalms 127: 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.4  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.5  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
That is a blessing, children are God’s heritage, they make any man strong.

But notice what the Bible says in Ephesians 6:4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

There is a warning in Ephesisans 6:4 that if we are not careful as parents we can provoke our children and drive them to wrath. With the blessing of family, God sends the rules to handle that blessing. If we ignore the guidelines then just like the Hebrews ignoring God instructions for the manna, the blessing can turn to wrath for our children.

Don’t lose God’s blessings in your life by ignoring God’s will. God’s providence, which is the outworking of His will, includes both the blessing and the curse.
Transition: Let’s look at the final aspect of God’s providence in this chapter.

Providence and Rest Exodus 16:22-31

 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.  And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.  And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.  And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.  Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.  And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.  And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?  See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.  So the people rested on the seventh day.  And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

God Provides Rest

God decreed that they were to begin the Sabbath day rest. They probably had not been allowed to practice this in captivity. Usually there are no days off for slaves, but God’s people are not slaves to Egypt any longer and God knew they needed rest. They probably didn’t think about their need for rest, their need to trust God for more than just that day’s allotment of manna, but God knew what they needed for the entire journey to the promised Land and beyond. In His providence he would provide.

So on the sixth day, they would gather twice the amount of manna and the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord, they would be blessed in the rest that God had provided. God made provision on that day that the manna would rot but would remain until the following day.

Yet, once again, despite God’s proving himself faithful to His people, still some of those same people show themselves unable to trust Him by going out and looking for manna on the Sabbath day. They could only see that day’s needs but they should have learned to trust God for that day and for every day that would follow.

Trusting God For More Than Today

I wonder, if we had been there with the Hebrews on that first Sabbath Day or rest, would we have been with those resting in our Lord provision or would we have been seen outside our tents scrounging for manna that wasn’t ever going to be there?
There is much more that God wants to give to us than just what we think we need. The Israelites needed rest but they didn’t know it. All they could see was their empty stewpots but food was only one thing they needed. They needed rest and they needed to rest in God’s promises.
We may think that we just need to bring our list of necessities to God and faith begins and ends with the asking and the waiting for His answer, but true faith goes far beyond what we can see and know in the here and now.

True faith realizes that God is eternal and that He sees beyond today and tomorrow and right on into eternity. That He sees and knows all things that pertain to us and beyond just us. True faith realizes that trust is based upon knowing God not just knowing His blessings. True faith learns to rest upon the Lord and finds that eternity begins even before we die. True faith looks for and longs for the rest that God will provide though Jesus Christ, here and now and throughout eternity.

Scripture: Hebrews 4:1-11 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 
And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Oh how I want to move from simple dependence on God for my needs today to true faith in My Lord for all days and all things. I want to move from faith to faith. I want to move from expectation to trust. I want to move into the reality of the “rest” of God.

Illustration: Dwelling in Beulah Land

Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling.
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand.
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling.
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.

Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation.
Hearing now His bless├Ęd voice, I see the way He planned.
Dwelling in the Spirit here I learn of full salvation.
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.

I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky.
I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry.
O yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.


Will You Trust in the Providence of God?
This is not just a stale theological definition. It is not just a label we use for the good things in our life. This trust is the path that leads to the experiencing of God!
Listen to what David says in Psalms 139?

Psalms 139:3-5 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

This morning, do you trust that God has provided for you?
Do you trust Him to provide what is needed in the circumstances of your life now and for eternity?
Do you understand He has brought you here for a purpose today? Perhaps it was salvation, perhaps encouragement, perhaps recommitment, perhaps life service. Whatever it might be, it was not chance that led you here today, it was God through His providence.
What in the providence of God is waiting for you right now? Will you reach out in faith and believe it?
God knows your real needs this morning and He has provided for those needs. God knows if you are here this morning and are lost, without hope and without assurance of tomorrow. God has provided Jesus Christ for your salvation and in that same providence has put you here this morning to hear this message. Will you trust in Jesus Christ?

God knows your need of comfort, or help, of grace and He has made provision for it but you must go outside the tent and pickup the manna. You must act, you must make the choice to trust and to accept what God has provided.

Do you realize that the providence of God is so vast that it can include you in accomplishing His will but that it can also accomplish that will without you. It is so inclusive that it can deal with your choice to serve Him or to deny Him. God’s will shall be done but how wonderful to think He want to bless us if we will but trust Him!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Exodus #9 New Direction, New Life - Chp 14 "The Power of God"

Exodus #9: The Power of God

Text: Exodus 14

Introduction: Bragging Rights
    In New York recently scientists dug a trench do to 1000 feet. The New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 1000 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Yankees, in the weeks that followed, Oklahoma scientists from Oklahoma State University dug to a depth of 2000 feet and shortly after headlines in the OKC newspapers read:
"OSU archaeologists have found traces of 2000 year copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a thousand years earlier than the Yankees."

One week later, Texas newspapers reported the following: "After digging as deep as 5000 feet in West Texas, Texas Aggie scientists have found absolutely nothing. They have therefore concluded that 5000 years ago Texas inhabitants were already using wireless technology."
You know who really should be bragging about their predecessors? Christians! We have a God who has power beyond description and He has been showing that power to our ancestors for millennia after millennia. His power makes the most advanced scientific discovery of mankind look like children playing with Legos. Exodus chapter 14 is the story of God parting the Red Sea, one of the great miracles of the Bible and in that story of God saving the Hebrews there is also a story of God’s power in saving us.

Power of the Promise Exodus 14:10-14

 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.  And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

God’s Promise of Protection to His People

The Hebrew people call out in fear and even contempt because of the terrible circumstances they have been brought to. Moses, however,  calls out in faith of God’s promise and power.
Fear Ye Not, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD
The LORD shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace.
In other words “Stand Still, Shut up and See God Save.

Will you believe God’s Promises today?

We could use a little more of that kind of attitude today I think. “Stand still, shut up and See God save. We are caught up in our own strengths, our own plans and our own power and often times even when we succeed we are actually failing because we are not seeing that it was God hand and promises that saved us and not ourselves.

We need to listen to the promises of God and then trust in that which only He can do. Instead we make our own plans, use our own methods and when those fail we somehow think God has let us down.

We need to listen to the promises of God for his people today.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Stand still, shut up and let God save.

Illustration: Jehovah is still God

  Gladys Aylward, was a missionary to China when Japan invaded during WW2.  She would not leave her work and her children behind. With only one assistant, she led more than a hundred orphans over the mountains toward Free China.

   In their book The Hidden Price of Greatness, Ray Besson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker tell what happened:  "During Gladys's harrowing journey out of war-torn Yangcheng ... she grappled with despair as never before. After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching safety. A little 13-year-old girl in the group sat down next to Gladys and as they talked she reminded her of the story we are reading today, Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.

   "'But I am not Moses,' Gladys cried in desperation. 'Of course you aren't,' the girl said, 'but Jehovah is still God!'" 


“Stand still and See God Save” still applies because God is still God and we are still His people. What is also true is that his presence is always with us as the next verses tell us.

Power of Presence Exodus 14:15-20

 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

God’s Presence Protects Israel

Notice what God said, “Quit praying and start moving!”
In the first place Moses tells them Shut up, stand still and see God save, but now God says just as bluntly, “Quit praying and get moving!

I like that kind of instruction. You don’t need to study Greek or Hebrew, you don’t need to look up the case or voice to understand what God is saying. “Get moving, now!”
So the Israelites begin to move, but remember there are up to a million Hebrews that are leaving Egypt, just imagine the logistics of trying to move around a million people and no one has a smart phone to receive a group text. It is going to take considerable time to start the move, therefore God’s presence is needed to help and protect His people.

The presence of God, the Bible says, was a cloud that went before them and now it moves behind them and stands between the Egyptian army and the Israelites. Specifically the Bible says Exodus 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
It was a cloud, and darkness to the Egyptian army but it gave light to the Hebrews as they prepared to march and we know that the presences of God was also the Angel of the Lord, a title in the Old Testament almost always given to Jesus in his pre-incarnate state.

Are you moving and trusting in God’s Presence?

Did you ever think you would hear God tell his people, quit praying? “Why are you crying to me. Get moving!”  Why would He do that? Perhaps it was because they were using prayer as an excuse for inaction. They were crying out to God instead of going out with God.
They needed a kick in the pants, they needed a jump start and God gave it to them. Quit praying and get going!

If there is one thing that characterized Christians today it is the willingness to replace action with words, deeds with indecision and faith with fatalism. I hear it and see it all the time.

I just don’t know what to do so I’ll just keep praying about it.
God hasn’t revealed his will to me yet so I’ll just keep waiting.
It must be God’s will for this to happen so I’m not going to do anything about it.
I’ve seen church members stagnate in the pew and I’ve seen missionaries go to seed on the field. I’ve seen pastors dry up in their parsonages and I’ve seen churches die on the vine because they just won’t do anything!

There is no sense of personal responsibility, no understanding of loyalty, no concept of the common sense notion that if you don’t get involved then the job won’t get done and in the end you will wither and die.

Quit praying and start moving! And Yes, God tells you to.

And when you move, understand that you are to move in the power and protection of God’s presence. We go, not with the unnamed Angel of the Lord, but with the name above all names, we go with Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Jesus said, John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
The word comfortless literally means orphans, Jesus is saying I will not leave you alone.
 Do you believe in the protection of God’s presence?

In Matthew 28:20, as Jesus give us the great commission he assures us that we can go anywhere because He is with us always.  …and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
That little word “lo” that begins that last phrase means, stop and pay attention to what comes next. It is meant to emphasize what comes next and what comes next is Jesus’ promise that He will be with us always even until the end of the age.

It is the power of His presence that give us what we will need to go forward in serving God. It is the power of His presence that will supply what we lack in our own power. It is the power of His presence that will give peace on the battlefield or comfort on our death bed. It is one of His most precious and powerful promises and we need to move out in faith that we might fully experience it.

Illustration: God’s Presence In the empty Chair ( a favorite story of mine)

   Leslie Weatherhead tells the story of an old Scot who was quite ill, and the family called for their dominie, or minister. As he entered the sick room and sat down, he noticed another chair on the opposite side of the bed, a chair which had also been drawn close. The pastor said, "Well, Donald, I see I'm not your first visitor for the day."
   The old man looked up, was puzzled for a moment, then recognized from the nod of the head that the pastor had noticed the empty chair. "Well, Pastor, I'll tell you about that chair. Many years ago I found it quite difficult to pray, so one day I shared this problem with my old pastor. He told me not to worry about kneeling or about placing myself in some pious posture. Instead, he said, 'Just sit down, put a chair opposite you, and imagine Jesus sitting in it, then talk with Him as you would a friend."' The aged Scot then added, "I've been doing that ever since."
   Later after he had left, the daughter again called the pastor. When he answered, she told him that her father had died very suddenly and she was shaken for she had no idea death was so near.
"I had just gone to lie down for an hour or two, for he seemed to be sleeping so comfortably. When I went back he was just as I left him but he had passed away." Then she added thoughtfully, "Only one thing was different, his hand was laying that old empty chair at the side of the bed.”
-James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, p. 416. 

God’s Power Opens a Path Exodus 14:21-29

 And 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 dry land, and the waters were divided.  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.  But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

God Through Moses Opens a path through the Sea

Isn’t this a great story? No wonder they have made dozens of movies about it, but I still think Charlton Heston came closest to getting it right.

Moses stretches forth his hand and the Red Sea opens a channel through it. The wind blows through that channel all night and dries the sea floor so the children of Israel can pass through on dry land.
The next morning as the Egyptians begin to pursue the Hebrews through that same passage, God knocks the wheels off their chariots and leaves them stranded in the midst of that path in the sea.

Then God told Moses to once more “Stretch forth thine hand” and the waters of the Red Sea piled up like great walls of a canyon then collapsed and God’s enemies were destroyed.
Now just in case you needed a little scientific reasoning for you faith, I have a clipping that explains just how God did this.

  Sophisticated computer calculations indicate that the biblical parting of the Red Sea, said to have allowed Moses and the Israelites to escape from bondage in Egypt, could have occurred precisely as the Bible describes it.

   Because of the peculiar geography of the northern end of the Red Sea, researchers report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, issued today, that a moderate wind blowing constantly for about 10 hours could have caused the sea to recede about a mile and the water level to drop 10 feet.  That would have left the land dry in the area where many biblical scholars believe the crossing occurred.

   An abrupt change in the wind would have then allowed the waters to come crashing back into the area in a few moments, a phenomenon that the Bible says inundated the Israelites' Egyptian pursuers.- The Columbus Dispatch, March 15, 1992, p. 12A

Now isn’t that nice. Some nice scientist played with his nice computer and came up with a nice way to explain away one of the greatest miracles in the Bible with just a little wind storm.

Let me tell you what you already know, The God of the Universe doesn’t need a weather event to save his people and the Hebrews needed more than a little breeze to save them from sure death on the spears of the Egyptian army. They needed a God of power to open a path through an impenetrable Sea.

When God promised his protection and His people trusted in that promise, then God saved them with a true miracle of super natural power not the natural power of wind.

God through Jesus Opens a Path through Death

You had better believe in a supernatural God who uses supernatural means to save his people because we also are facing our own Red Sea of Death.

We are caught between the coming judgment of our sins and the end of our life just as the Hebrews were trapped between Pharaoh and the Red Sea.

The Bible says, Hebrews 9:27  …it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
In Romans 3:23 It says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
In Romans 6:23 it says, “The wages of sin is death…”

We stand every day of our lives at the edge of the sea of death and one day the coming judgment will overtake us and we will be judged for our sin and the Bible says that judgment is eternal death.
Just like the children of Israel we need to stop and look for the salvation of God.
Psalms 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God:
Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

We must stand still in our own power and then through faith we will find the salvation of God.
How will God save us from death and judgment? In the same way He saved the Hebrews, God opens a path through the sea of death.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Romans 5:2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Jesus is the path that God has opened for us to pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the door.

And just like God told Moses, now is the time to get moving.
You don’t find salvation by standing on the shore until Pharaoh’s army comes, you don’t find it waiting until the walls of water crash upon your head, you find it when you step out on the path of salvation.

You find salvation when you come to Jesus Christ. You find power when you come to Jesus Christ. You want to experience the power of a miracle today, not just an emotional high or psychological effect but a real miracle? Then come to Jesus and fully trusting him as Lord and Savior you will find a miracle.

 A miracle of the emotions, a miracle of the psyche, miracle of the mind and heart but much more than that it is a miracle of the spirit.  A miracle that takes a soul stained with sin and makes it white as snow. A miracle that takes you from fighting against God to God fighting for you. A miracle that walks you through the sea of death to the promised land of heaven waiting on the other side.

Illustration: The Power of Salvation

A missionary was once asked to give a proof that the cross would eventually triumph. This is what he replied: “When I arrived at my mission station, the Fiji Islands, this is what I had to do first of all: bury the hands, arms, feet, and heads of eighty victims whose bodies had been roasted and eaten at a cannibal feast. I lived to see those very cannibals who had taken part in that inhuman feast gathered about the Lord’s table.” Such a miracle could be performed by no one but Jesus Christ. The products of civilization—schools, factories, saloons, pornography—would have given them disease and death, as they did to most of our Indians. Jesus came, and those that used to eat each other henceforth loved each other. Well, the same cause always has the same effects: always the Gospel changes hearts.

 Transition: The story doesn’t end here of course, look at chp 15 1-2, 11

Conclusion: Praise of Protection Exodus 15:1-2,11

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.  The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Can you sing the praises of salvation this morning?
How long since you have had something to praise God about?
How long since you stood still and saw the salvation of God?
How long since you moved in the direction God wanted you to go?
I want to sing the praises of salvation in my life and in my church and I believe it is as much my promise as it was Moses and the Israelites.

Perhaps for you today is the time to see God’s salvation, perhaps its time to quit praying and start moving. I don’t know the time and seasons of your soul today but I definitely know it is always time to trust God promises and power and to go in that power.