GOD'S ROAD MAP FOR OUR LIVES
God knew the Children of Israel would have to fight. Nothing that is worthwhile doesn't have a fight involved in it. God wants to show Himself through us. If we have God, who can be against us? Christianity itself is a fight. The enemy hates our guts. Lucifer hates us with the passion of hell.
We know the end of the story of Joseph. But he wasn't ready, so a detour came. God took the Children of Israel through His “boot camp”. God shows us how to walk every moment, how to trust Him every moment. That is what we learn when we see and experience these detours.
The detours are necessary in order for us to be prepared to do what it is that God wants us to do. God is never in a hurry. He will bring us to the edge of ourselves to wait and see if we trust Him.
When we have a detour, even if we have a GPS, after we leavethe main road, we have to look for signs. If we miss them we will end up somewhere we aren't supposed to be. God keeps us vigilant so that we are desperate to get back onto the "main road." We must trust Him and not the world, not ourselves....it might not be what we want but we must continue.
God doesn't care when we receive His promises. We care, he doesn't. He cares HOW we receive His promises. Our job is to focus on Jesus. We are to follow Him where ever He takes us. All divine detours will always get us back to the main road.
When God led the Children of Israel, He lead them through detours. But, also he led them to a dead end. Exodus 14:8 “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”
“And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh...” these words are in this account for a reason. The Egyptian army marched after them. They cried unto the Lord... (Ex 14:10-11) “...why have you done this? Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians.” They said, “...for it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians,than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:12
Moses had taken them to a place called Pihahiroth which is just outside of Cairo, beside the Red sea. Exodus 14:2, God instructed Moses where to go: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea...”
This exact account of where the Children of Israel were at the time is very important. The word "Pi-Hahiroth" means "mouth of water". The present day geographic "mouth like looking" isthmus of "Pi-hahiroth” is at the intersection between the two Gulfs, just south of the Straits of Tiran. The second geographic marker about Pi-Hahiroth is that "Pi-Hahiroth faces Baal-Zephon". Pi-Hahiroth was the mouth of water which faces Mt. Tiran which is Baal-Zephon. So, there they were, between two mountains at the rocky edge of the Red sea. Behind them, a mighty army, commanded by the Pharoah of Egypt himself chasing after them. The word, Baal Zephron means “the hard spot.”
You know the place, I know the place; we have been there many times before. And so the Children of Israel were literally inbetween a “rock and a hard spot.” They had nowhere to turn. They were definitely at a dead-end. A decision had to be made; they had one of two choices to make, but remember God was still leading them. In our lives, dead-ends are much larger than detours. At a dead-end, a choice must be made. But remember, God is there. He led them to that place then and He leads us, as well.
Exodus 13:20-22 tells us “And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to givethem light; to go by day and by night.” He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
So we see the complete picture here. They are in between a rock and a hard place, but there is the Shekinah Glory of God leading the way both day and night. The Red sea is directly in front of them. They have no help, no hope, a decision must be made. When we get to dead-ends, one of two things must happen: retreat and wait (until God opens up a highway) or retreat! We must wait on God.
We have to lean on Him. We have to trust in Him.There is not an option in Christianity. When we trust God, when we worship Him, when we believe He is the answer for everything; He will show us the way, just as He did the Children of Israel.
Exodus 14:13 “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.” Here Moses is telling them to take one last good look because God is guiding them to safety. They are being told to have no fear, wait upon the Lord.
When we find ourselves at a dead-end, all we have to do is to stand and wait upon God. We will see the salvation of the Lord. Take one last look because we will see the problems, the obstacles, the enemies no more if we trust Him and follow Him and Wait for Him to lead us....have faith.
God was teaching them something;Genesis 14:15 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Pretty strange, God said “go forward”. Some might say, but the Read sea opened....at this point, the Red sea had NOT opened!
This required obedience and a step of faith, literally. So what did they do? They stepped forward and once that step was taken, God told Moses to hold his rod over the sea and divide it so that they would have safe and dry passage to the other side.He wanted them to understand and to have faith in Him and trust Him. Once they took that step, God made a way where there had been none.
Daniel 3:12-17 tells us “certain Jews had been set over the affairs of Babylon.” These were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. It also happens that these three were asked to bow before a golden image, but they refused. They were warned of punishment if they continued to refuse but they did not do as was commanded. The king was enraged. He commanded that the furnace be heated 7 times hotter than required. Those who took these men to the furnace to die were themselves killed by the heat. But not the three faithful men.
Daniel 3:23 “And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, fell down into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.” V24 “ Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O King.” V25 “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Might I suggest that at the dead-ends, in the fiery furnaces we sometimes find ourselves in, that Jesus, our Savior will never leave us or forsake us. He is always right there with us.
We can stand and see the salvation of our God, it doesn't matter where we are, He is there...When we trust God, and when we have faith, He will always lead us to the place we are to be. We must go beyond "religion". None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Ask yourself what you've done for God.The places of desolation always become places of desperation, demonstration, declaration. Joseph, Moses, the Israelites all stood and waited. They had faith, and look at how God used each of them! If we find ourselves in these predicaments, we must have faith to say, watch God take me out of this!
God opened a highway for the Children of Israel. He knows a way that we can't see. His ways are beyond us. If we could work out our own problems we wouldn't need God. God specializes in Impossibilities. He wants glory. We should want to give Him the glory for all we see Him do. Not for our glory but for His.
Isaiah: 49:8 "Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time, I have heard thee and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;”
Isaiah 49:9-10 “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.”
God specializes in the impossibilities. The places in our lives where we believe we have nowhere to turn, God knows the way. Exodus 15:22 teaches us "So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.” Exodus 15:23- “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured [grumbled] against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” Here they are, thirsty. But look at what God has done for them in three days! But God is still leading them. They must have wondered, we have come all of this way, through all of these problems and here we face yet another one. They were bone weary and thirsty. But, God had a purpose. He wasn't mad and Moses wasn't a bad leader.
We can apply these teachings to our lives. If we follow God, we will see these in our lives: in the dead-ends and even in the detours. We will also see the power of God in our lives if we have faith and let him lead us.
Would God have brought them on a detour that took them out of harm's way, just to let them die of dehydration? Would He save us, lead us, to let us die from no water? If He does all that for us, why can't we trust Him for daily minor things? There are times when we lose hope, we feel useless. Did we get where we are and is it possible that God made some mistake? Be faithful. God never forsakes us, he prepares us. Every future move of God has a purpose.
Exodus 15:25 gives us a shadow and type of the cross, “And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet; there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.”
God didn't have Moses just take them to another place for water, he made the bitter water sweet with a tree. That is salvation, the cross of Jesus Christ. The redemption that was made possible by the work at Calvary.
Paul understood these things. In II Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. “The word “sufficient” in Greek means to lift up, to remove barriers, to ward off. When we get discouraged, we must determine if it is a “dead-end” or is it God giving us another direction? Is He preparing us for something He needs us to do? We must have faith in Him. People are losing hope today. The economy is headed south. America depended on its economy before it depended upon God.
"I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt; open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10
King Solomon had a practice or tradition that whenever a visiting dignitary came, he would have the King [or dignitary] blindfolded and would have them kneel down. If they would not kneel down, King Solomon would not give them audience. If they complied, he had them open their mouth wide and he would put in gems, diamonds, sweet meets; he would fill them with these things.
Sometimes we must bow down to Jesus and open our mouth wide and let God fill us.Open your mouth wide to the Lord today and let Him fill it. Things sometimes don't happen when we want them to happen. But if we face detours, Jesus will lead us, He is with us. Worship Him; give Him the glory.