- Sermon Notes
Between a Pharaoh & a Red Sea
ILLUS – The Thanksgiving Turkey Brine Blunder
1. When it comes to life, have you ever felt stuck, nowhere to turn?
2. Whenever life takes a difficult turn, we often hear others say that
a. “You’re in a jam” or “painted into a corner”
b. “You’re in a pickle” or “between a rock and a hard place”
3. If you find yourself between a “rock and a hard place”…
a. What does God want us to remember?
b. What should be our response?
4. Today, we are going to learn some valuable lessons from Israel’s experience when they were stuck between a “Pharaoh and a Red Sea”.
READ Exodus 14:1-9
1. After the 10th plague, Pharaoh finally broke and told Moses to leave Egypt with over 2 million Israelites.
2. The Lord led Israel with the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
I. God Knows Where He Is Going (1-9)
ILLUS – Following God is not like using Apple Maps
A. Sometimes the path looks like a dead end
1. In verses 1-4, God gave Moses new instructions
a. Change course and camp by the Red Sea
b. It will appear that Israel is wandering aimlessly in the land, and ended up boxed in by the mountains and the Red Sea
c. God gave those instructions so that Moses and the people would understand what God was doing and not conclude the cloud had lost its way!
APPL – Sometimes the easiest route (from our perspective) isn’t the best route… it will not achieve God’s highest purposes.
Isaiah 55:8-9, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
2. Now, Pharaoh took the bait, just as God said, and pursued Israel to make them slaves again! (5-9)
3. From Pharaoh’s perspective, everything was falling perfectly into place:
a. Israel was surrounded by natural barriers on three sides,
b. Now Pharaoh was going to box Israel in on the fourth side!
APPL – Why did God lead Israel to a dead end?
- Verse 4: To reveal to Egypt that the God of Israel is the only true God!
Isaiah 45:5-6, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other,”
- Final Defeat of Pharaoh – God did not want His people to ever have to look over their backs and fear Pharaoh again! (Pharaoh is a type of Satan and God never wants us to fear him again either!)
ILLUS – Pastor Rich’s counsel to focus on Jesus and not Satan
Colossians 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
B. God can make a way through every dead end
1. God may lead His people to a dead end but God will never leave His people alone at a dead end.
2. God uses dead ends so that His people see things the way they really are…
APPL – What does God want to us see more accurately?
- Who we really are
a. He wants us to see our limitations, to stop relying on our fleshly strength and wisdom
(Verse 8 – “boldly” or “high-hand”)
b. He wants us to surrender to Him and give Him room to fight on our behalf
2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
- Who God really is… God can do the impossible
ILLUS – A 9 year old boy’s version of the Red Sea
Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,”
- What victory really is - How do we define victory? Is victory when we are proven right? When we are vindicated? When we escape difficulties? I believe such definitions limit our view of what true victory looks like in the Lord’s eye - A Mature Faith!
James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
You can be vindicated, proven correct, and delivered… but still not learn God’s lesson and remain immature in your faith.
II. Be Bold In Your Faith (10-31)
Song – “Be bold, be strong… for the Lord Thy God is with Thee”
A. Encourage others to trust God (11-14)
1. In life there will always be naysayers and doubters, people who look at dead ends and see defeat!
2. Israel fell into this pattern…
a. Whenever Israel encountered difficulty they forgot God’s promises and focused on the dead end.
b. Whenever Israel encountered difficulty they doubted God and blamed Moses.
c. It’s a pattern that many fall into… when fear overcomes our faith.
Warren Wiersbe, “Fear and faith cannot dwell in the same heart; if we trust God, we need not be afraid.”
Romans 14:23, “and whatever is not from faith is sin.”
3. By faith, Moses rose up against the opposition
a. When a person decides to walk by faith, he or she will become an easy target for blame whenever a dead end is encountered.
b. But God’s leaders must lead people back to the Lord and not back down when opposed!
c. You might be the only voice, so speak loud and clear. God has called you to be His witness, His mouthpiece, His messenger!
4. By faith, Moses gave three great commands to embrace whenever you encounter a dead end
a. “Do not fear” – don’t let your emotions/your circumstances weaken your faith!
Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
b. “Stand by” – be still! We can’t walk by faith until we first learn to stand still by faith!
Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”
c. “See the salvation of the Lord”
1. Your enemies will be no more
2. The Lord will fight for you
3. While you keep silent!
APPL – Will you testify like others before you and be that voice?
- David against Goliath – “The battle belongs to the Lord”
- Elijah against the priests of Baal – “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him…”
- Peter and John against Sanhedrin – “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
B. Go when God says, “Go!” (15-31)
1. “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” (15)
2. “Lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it…” (16)
APPL – There is a time to pray and there is a time to move after you have prayed! Faith is an active response to the Lord’s leading.
- By faith, Moses stretched out his staff
- By faith, Moses stepped into the river bed
- By faith, Israel followed
Hebrews 11:29, “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.”
APPL – Sometimes, we wait for someone else to take the step of faith so that we can wait and see what will happen to them! But what do we gain by waiting for someone else?
- Who will rise up and walk by faith in your marriage?
- Who will rise up and walk by faith with your family?
- Who will rise up and walk by faith at work?
- … Church, neighborhood, community, nation? Who?
ILLUS – Mordecai’s words to Queen Esther
Esther 4:14, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews,… And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
“There is never a wrong time for faith.”
APPL – What if I brought this on myself… I dropped the bag filled with turkey brine?
ILLUS – Pastor Rich’s words to me after I felt like I failed…
Are you at a dead end?
- If you have received Christ as your Savior, God is for you…
- God will make a way…
- Will you call upon Him, trust Him, testify about Him, and follow Him? Even if it means you walk alone… you’re not alone He is with you.
Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Exodus 14:1-16 NASB
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.' 4 Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." And they did so.