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.