- Sermon Notes
God Defeats Your Past
Exodus 14:1-4, 10-31
March 27, 2022
Many people are negatively affected by the things of their past before they met Christ; always remembering the old life and struggles that came with it. The effects of the sinful world, the effect of sins committed, the effect of mindsets, and even things that have been done to them. This keeps many from living a victorious life of faith.
God wants us to be free from the stranglehold of our past so that we can live a victorious life of faith in Christ. Seeing that none of us are perfect, everyone has something in this life that negatively affects us at times. You might think that you have everything under control, but then you step into a next season or challenge, and it can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. You might be saying, “God, I don’t have the tools or weapons to handle this!” Many times, it is things boiling to the surface that happened in your past that might affect your mindset.
We see a wonderful example of this in Exodus. The children of Israel were living under the yoke of slavery and oppression in Egypt. Then Moses came on the scene, called by God to lead them out of Egypt. God performed many miracles and wonders. The last plague that hit Egypt was the death of the eldest sons of every household that was not covered by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. It broke the stubbornness of Pharaoh, and he told the children of Israel that they were allowed to go. So, the Israelites packed all their possessions, and were even gifted many riches from the Egyptians themselves before they left. They were elated. They were set free and feeling on top of the world. But something else was looming on the horizon.
The Exodus out of Egypt that follows is a type of Christ leading people out of the sinful life dominated by worldly and ungodly mindsets; changing and renewing us to be able live a life purposed by God.
I. God uses Adversity
There are different types of adversities in this world.
- The effects of a sinful fallen world.
- Effects of life choices one has made.
- Situations ordained by God for His purposes.
We know from scripture that God can bring forth beautiful things out of any situation. He can turn it around. God brings beauty out of ashes.
Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
This verse gives us hope that God can perform wonders in any situation.
This specific event was one that was ordained by God, because he had a very specific purpose in mind.
A. God planned this battle
- Verse 1 – God spoke to Moses and gave him specific instructions on where the Israelites had to camp. God even predicted Pharaoh’s behavior. He knew that Pharaoh would chase after the Israelites and try to bring them back.
- It is important for us to note that God is not surprised by what is happening. In fact, in this instance, God led them to exactly where He wanted them to be, because he had a more wonderful plan that was about to unfold.
- We should take courage from this that. It’s imperative for you to know that God knows exactly where you are as well, in the midst of good and bad times. In everything God is with you, and He is working everything for your good.
B. God uses this battle
What was God’s wonderful plan?
- Verse 10 says that as the Egyptians were marching after them, the Israelites became very frightened. They cried out to God and started blaming Moses, asking why he had taken them out of Egypt. They even said that it had been better for them to serve the Egyptians than to have to die in the wilderness.
- Their fear made them act totally irrational. The same people who had cried out to God for 400 years to deliver them and were elated when they went out of Egypt, now questioned it, and even said they were willing to go back and should have never left.
- How quickly do people forget the past? I call this creative remembering. Egypt was horrible and degrading. It was full of fear. It was death to the soul.
Illus. – I’ve had many discussions with people who have broken up with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Then a few weeks or months after that, they would be lamenting the fact that they miss this person so much. They would rave on and on how beautiful and wonderful this person was, how much they miss them. I would then ask them, do you remember why you broke up? Do you remember all the fighting? Do you remember how you just didn’t click? Do you remember the habits that drove you mad?
- We see this many times with new Christians. As soon as they are confronted with their old struggles, maybe fall in temptation, the enemy whispers to them that they will not be able to keep up this new life. They will never make it as Christians and were better off without God. The faith-community will be ashamed of them, shun them, and cut them off.
- Insecurity, fear of getting hurt more, and feeling incapable of change keep people prisoners to the lie.
- The enemy wants to remind you who you were before Christ, keeping you captive. God is calling you into new life and to remember who you are in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
- What brought about this intense irrational fear? It is interesting to see that, not long after this event, God told Moses to number the fighting men of Israel in Numbers 1. The standing army of Israel was 600,000 men strong. It is a lot of men!
- The problem was that they were not trained in battle and had no weapons. They were not ready for the fight. In fact, in Exodus 13:17 we read that God initially led them another way out of Egypt, not going through the land of the Philistines even though it was nearer, because the were not battle ready.
- This conflict with the Egyptians was never about Israel having to prove how strong they were to resist the enemy. This battle was about God showing himself strong and growing their faith and trust in Him. God was ready for this fight. He was going to show them where their real strength lies.
- Have you ever felt that you were going into a fight that you were just not prepared for? It is just to daunting, just seems impossible. I suggest to you that certain events God ordains so that we can see His power and glory. When it seems like there is no way, God makes the way.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
- Temptation in this text in the Greek means experiment, attempt, or trial.
- I believe there are times that God lead us into trials like these, to show us the attitude of our hearts, to reveal to us what we still fear and do not trust Him for yet.
- When God makes a way out of it, our faith in Him and understanding of who He is grows stronger. We grow in faith in what God can do.
II. God Intervenes on Your Behalf
It is wonderful to see in the story when God engages the enemy. The Egyptians were not ready for a whole lot of pain coming their way. They were no match for the power of God. God was about to show Israel and the whole world that He is the Almighty God of Israel. We read many times after this event that the enemies of Israel were frightened, because they heard this story of how God has demolished Egypt and were fighting for and with Israel.
It is important to apply this to our lives as well. In every area God is fighting for you and He is on your side. He will not stop until you are free from the things of your past that want to chase after you and keep you trapped in fear.
A. God Breaks the power of your past
- Verse 13 – Do not Fear! God was challenging their mindsets. Whatever they feared, was still bigger than God in their minds.
- Whatever you fear is something that you still think God cannot deal with. Maybe it is sin of the past, maybe it is a fear of failing, or fear of the future.
- God is stronger than any problem or challenge. He is stronger than your sin, he is stronger than your past, and your failings aren’t daunting to him. He can set you free, he can forgive any sin, he can strengthen you to stand against any difficulty with his strength that abides in you.
Illus. have you ever tried to help someone with math problems? Especially as they got a bit older, and it got more difficult. Many times, people feel like giving up. “I just cannot do this. This is too difficult.” Then I remind them that once upon a time they were in grade one where one 1+1 was difficult. And when they got to multiplication it was worse. Now they had to solve 2×2. But as soon as they grasped these concepts, it would be the building blocks for the future math. In a years’ time, they would look back at the math problem that seemed impossible then, and they would’ve mastered it and it would become building blocks for conquering future challenges.
- It is the same with our faith. I am sure David had to fend off a few jackals before he faced the lion and the bear. The lion and the bear prepared him for Goliath.
- As you see God defeating the things of your past, it gives you a springboard of faith into the future.
- Verse 13 – The Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
- God is giving them a new hope and a new vision. Do not look at the adversity coming your way in fear but look at the new hope: the deliverance of God.
- We need to shift our focus from the problem and fix it in faith on God’s promises.
- Verse 15 – Why are you crying out to me? I love this question that God asked Moses. It shows God’s faithfulness and heart towards us. He does not want them to cry out and wonder if He will be with them when they move. It is a given. God is with you when you are being obedient to His command. Move in faith and obedience.
- Verse 16 – Through the midst of the sea on dry land. God tells them in advance what he’s going to do. Giving a promise of how they would go through the obstacle.
- In the same way, God has given you promises in His word which you can hold onto. When we face trouble, we know that there is a promise of deliverance.
- Verse 19 – the angel of the Lord that had been going before Israel, went and stood between them and the enemy. God is the one who protects you. When you are in Christ, it is Christ who stands between you and the enemy.
Illus. Maybe you’ve seen this scenario in a movie before. A king having his young son fighting against a hardened veteran soldier. The fight seems totally unfair. But what the boy doesn’t understand, is that he is in training to get stronger, to grow in courage and confidence. The king will not allow the soldier to harm his son.
- This brings us back to the Scripture we read before. God will not allow you to be tempted above what you can handle. He is with you. He will never leave or forsake you. This should give us great peace.
- Verse 28 – Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them, died.
I suggest to you that this was one of the primary reasons God allowed Egypt to get this close. They had to see that the enemy’s power has been broken and the enemy was dead, otherwise they would’ve always been looking over their shoulders in fear wondering when Egypt would come to try and take them into captivity again.
- This is a very important revelation to grasp. You do not have to look over your shoulder fearing your past anymore. You are a new creation. The enemy no longer has a hold on you, or the strength to come get you. Your past has been washed away.
B. Respond in worship
- In Exodus 15 we see the response of Moses and Israel after this wonderful deliverance. They break out an exuberant praise of God, thanking him and singing of his greatness.
- Praise and worship should be a very high value in a Christians life. It is the appropriate response after God has brought deliverance in a situation.
- I find it almost impossible not to praise God. When God has come through and done something amazing in your life, how can you not sing ‘How great is our God’?
Illus. as many of you know, we were here about 2 ½ years ago when the process of us coming to this church started. Then Covid happened. In these two years there were many challenges and many of them seemed impossible to overcome. But each time God stepped in and miraculously intervened. Rhiete and I would just stand back and exclaim: “How great is our God!”
- Unfortunately, it is not always the natural response. An example of this is in Luke 17 where Jesus healed 10 lepers, but only one came back to give thanks. Psalm 50 tells us what the appropriate response should be.
Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
- There is however another part of praise that people do not normally focus on.
- There is a Hebrew word for praise, which is Towdah. The application of it is that you’re thanking God for that which you hope for that has not happened yet.
- Imagine how different Israel’s journey through the Red Sea would’ve been if they had already started praising God before the journey, knowing that he is able to do far above what they can think or dream. They have seen the miracles in Egypt, they have witnessed the plagues that brought the mightiest nation to its knees. Their journey would’ve been one of faith and joy instead of fear and horror. They would’ve been focused on God instead of the enemy.
- This is our antidote to fear. When trouble comes, we should lift up a song of praise. This will shift our focus to the goodness, power, and majesty of God.
- This will remind us that the power of the enemy has already been broken and that fear has no hold on us.
God has defeated your past. We can now step into our future with confidence and faith, praising God in every season.
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp in front of 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 And I will [a]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.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel [a]looked, and behold, the Egyptians were coming after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, [b]bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘[c]Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness!”
13 But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! [d]Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will perform for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again, ever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, while you keep silent.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and reach out with your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall [e]go through the midst of the sea on dry land. 17 And as for Me, behold, I will [f]harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots, and through his horsemen.”
19 Then the angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud [g]along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Therefore the one did not approach the other all night.
21 Then Moses reached out with his hand over the sea; and the Lord [h]swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the sons of Israel [i]went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right and on their left. 23 Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. 24 But at the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the [j]army of the Egyptians [k]through the pillar of fire and cloud, and brought the [l]army of the Egyptians into confusion. 25 He [m]caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians each said, “Let me flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.”
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out with your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” 27 So Moses reached out with his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing [n]right into it; then the Lord [o]overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. 29 But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right and on their left.
30 So the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 When Israel saw the great [p]power which the Lord had [q]used against the Egyptians, the people [r]feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.