- Sermon Notes
Confidence Under Pressure
August 15, 2021
Illustration – Little Jewish Boy @ Sunday School…
The opening of the Red Sea was possibly the single greatest act of God in the Old Testament…
When you read these amazing stories in the Bible, and the miracles is that all you see? Or do you read them and consider what spiritual lesson God may have for you?
This biblical account reminds us once again that God knows what He is doing. Do we have confidence in that truth? In the times we are living, I can’t tell you how often Christians wonder out loud, “God, where are you? Yet the scriptures remind us that His ways are not our ways, in the book of Isaiah among others.
Fear and the feeling of being trapped in our circumstances are so discouraging and perhaps some of you are in this place today.
Psalm 23:4; Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
When you couple fear with anxiety, the result often can cause a rational person to respond irrationally. A most difficult year continues to swirl around us – more conflict between people on every opinion voiced.
Some are saying, we’ll know it’s ok when “they say” so – what do you mean, when “they say”? It’s ok to walk by faith right now – trust the Lord, not what “they” say.
In Exodus 14 we have a people, millions of people stuck in fear at the Red Sea following a man who told the most powerful leader in Egypt to “Let my people go.”
I. Confidence Provided By God Alone
God performs three miracles on behalf of the Israelites.
1. v19 – God moved the pillar of cloud and blocked the Egyptians way.
• v20 – Angel of God traveling in front of Israel’s army – the Angel withdrew & went behind them – coming between the armies of Egypt and Israelites.
• Neither group went near each other all night long when the Israelites were most vulnerable.
2. v21 – then God parted the sea – miraculously while crossing through the sea.
v22 – waters divided – they went through on dry ground with Egyptians pursuing them.
Last watch of the night v26-28 the Lord said to Moses stretch out your hands…
3. In the end God eliminated the most powerful army of the land with one event under His supreme control.
A. Miracles help us withstand all doubt
Do I really believe this event happened just like the scriptures describe it?
2 Timothy 3:16; All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness;
But there are a lot of folks who don’t and theories abound even you can laugh at…
1. A violent volcano in Greece caused all 10 of the plagues – matter of fact, the History Channel ran a program roughly 15 years ago that had this exact same basis.
• Exodus 8 is clear after plague #3
2. Some say an earthquake caused the wind to be some 350x more powerful than that caused by an Atom Bomb.
3. Most common theory – Super low tide that night and the Israelites crossed over on a sand bar.
Illustration – Reminds me of the story of a young girl in 4th grade whose unbelieving teacher…
What the Bible declares here at the Red Sea was a miracle of God pure and simple.
• No human explanation for it – no rational explanation – for those of us who know God personally, who have been redeemed by His blood on the cross…
B. There are no traps in God’s Word
What difference does this miracle make to you – in your life?
How do you think the Israelites felt at the Red Sea? I think they felt trapped and helpless – that God had forgotten them and forsaken them.
In our own life we sometimes find ourselves feeling trapped and helpless at our own shores of the Red Sea; related to financial pressure, medical challenges, jobs, parenting…we sometimes act just like the Israelites did; thinking God is forgetting us…maybe not in so many words but by our anxiety.
1 John 4:1; Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
• When you fear man…our culture brings a snare – a dangerous trap – and man holds you back from God’s best in your life.
II. God Defeats The Red Seas In Our Life
• God did not make a mistake leading the Israelites to the shore of the Red Sea.
• I want to reassure you as followers that when God leads us to our own Red Sea, He hasn’t made a mistake either.
Why did God lead the Israelites to the Red Sea and trap them for a time?
1) To provide for their future blessing perhaps! God knew that sooner or later, Pharaoh would regret letting them go – he lost his labor force.
• God knew he would go after them
2) To teach the Israelites they could count on God.
God wanted to teach them that God was all they really needed anyway. v30 says Israelites saw the Egyptians laying dead on the shore. The Israelites saw God’s power and feared Him and put their trust in Him.
3) So God could use the Red Sea to bring glory to Himself. – v4 I will gain glory for myself – Totally impossible situation so He could step in and reveal to all these people His power and name.
Exodus 18:1; Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard about everything that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.
Rahab prostitute in Jericho – the fear of the Lord has fallen on us –
Joshua 2:10; For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
The Gideonite tribe –
Joshua 9:9; They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God; for we have heard the report about Him and all that He did in Egypt,
A. Recognize the value of your Red Sea
Same principle applies to you and I today; Satan loves to surround us and entrap us as God’s children – then when he finally thinks he’s got us, God loves to step in and take what’s meant for evil and convert it into blessing for us and glorify Himself.
He did it for Joseph, Esther, Mordecai – for Ruth, for Daniel, the Israelites at the Red Sea, the Lord at the Resurrection, the Apostle Paul in jail in Philippi, and He does it for followers of Christ today.
As followers of Jesus, sometimes we should expect God to lead us down to the shore of the Red Sea where we feel trapped – impossible situations – why – because our purpose in following after Him is to bring glory to Him. God gets maximum glory when He delivers His people from impossible situations like the Red Sea.
The point of this is that in leading the Israelites to the Red Sea, God knew exactly what He was doing the whole time.
B. God doesn’t make mistakes
He was out to –
1) Provide for their future blessing.
2) Teach them that they could count on God.
3) Use their situation to bring glory to Himself.
So remember when God takes you through your Red Sea, He is out to accomplish these same things.
The real issue for us – is not to understand every situation, to understand every Red Sea – God doesn’t explain all these things to us.
But do we trust Him with our most difficult situations? Maybe you are here today and feel like God led you right down to the shores of the Red Sea.
Psalm 34:17-20; The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears And rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. The afflictions of the righteous are many, But the Lord rescues him from them all. He protects all his bones, Not one of them is broken.
I recognize real fear when it comes – I’m not minimizing your personal medical condition or real fear. With all that you need to learn, bathe that fear in prayer – otherwise it will consume you.
C. Rise up and trust God
Maybe you are at the shore of your Red Sea
1. Perhaps God wants to work out some future blessing for you that you can’t imagine yet? Or maybe He wants to burn out of you some self destructive passion or habit that will hurt your life?
2. Because God wants to teach you on a deeper level that He is all you need.
3. Or maybe you are there so He can get the glory for His name, miraculously delivering you.
Whatever the reason you are there, the solution for being there is exactly the same as it was for the Israelites, to give you confidence under pressure.
1 John 4:18; There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
Some of you younger folks might be thinking, I understand what you are saying, but you’re kind of an older guy…you are past the normal Red Seas most of us will experience. It’s easy for you to stand up there and describe this spiritual lesson.
God never lets you get so old that He doesn’t require you to trust Him for something. I know the Lord Jesus loves my kids and grandkids more than I physically can – and I know He has promised them trials and Red Sea’s just like I’ve had – and I know that He knows I want His very best for all – but it will not be without significant challenges. What are your Red Seas?
I understand I have to land on this Red Sea of mine exactly where you have to in your life:
1. By embracing that God knows what He is doing.
2. Affirming that God’s leading is perfect whether we understand it or not.
3. Make a decision that we are not going to doubt God; not grumble, complain or accuse Him.
I’m here to remind you to refuse every dark invitation that comes along to be a card carrying member of the back-to-Egypt club.
I promise you do this, and when the dust settles, even if it’s in heaven and you look back over your life, you’re going to shake your head in the affirmative and say yes, Lord, if I had known what you knew, I would have done exactly what you did.
Rise up and trust God with your Red Sea – He will meet you there, just like He did the Israelites through Moses.
Let these scriptures fill you up –
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.
Psalm 46:10; “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV)
Jeremiah 17:7-8; Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water That extends its roots by a stream, And does not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought, Nor cease to yield fruit.
Exodus 14:11-31 NASB
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, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘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! 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 go through the midst of the sea on dry land. 17 And as for Me, behold, I will 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 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 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 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 army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. 25 He 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 right into it; then the Lord 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 power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.